It's About the People!

The Friendship Plant by Tom Micheletti

It was Herb Benedict who first called hostas the friendship plant. He was a generous and prolific hybridizer from Michigan. Many of Herbís cultivars are classic hostas that can be found in most hosta collections. Herb was generous with both his knowledge and sharing of plants. He never sold a hosta, but gave them to friends, by which many were introduced into the trade. While I never had the privilege of visiting the Benedict garden, my memories of Herb was from hosta conventions. He was surrounded by attendees answering questions and sharing his knowledge with them. This generosity is still evident today wherever hosta enthusiasts gather.
   Whether a new attendee or a seasoned veteran, hosta enthusiasts openly share their knowledge and expertise with whoever asks. It is this friendliness that is so appealing and keeps people returning to hosta conventions. Over time friendships are made and relationships are nurtured that go beyond just collecting and sharing knowledge about hostas. Have a conversation with a seasoned hosta gardener about why they attend a hosta convention and they will not say it is to acquire more hostas, because many of them no longer have room for more hostas in their gardens. The first response will not be to see gardens, although that is one of the draws of attending conventions. The first response will be to see friends made over time that one only sees a couple of times a year at the national and regional conventions.

AHS President Tom Micheletti

   I have made many friends from all parts of the country that are very dear to me. While we are together only a couple of times each year at a convention or other hosta meeting, we often have correspondence over the phone or via email, just checking in or visiting. Frequently when traveling in the vicinity of a hosta friend, I make arrangements to visit, and friends are always welcome when traveling in my area. These visits usually consist of the obligatory tour of the garden, but after those formalities are dispensed with, the conversation usually turns to the real heart of the matter and that is the nurturing of the relationship. My life has been greatly enriched by these special friendships that have been made possible through this leafy green plant we call the hosta, The Friendship Plant!

Mary Schwartzbauer and Kim Larson
in their Sunday Best

Don Dean and Doug Beilstein

From left to right: 
Olga Petryszyn, Janet Mills, and Marcia Sully

Just a few of the 500+ people who had a great time at the 2010 AHS National Convention.

Hans Hansen

Left to right:  Donna Priester, Cornelia Holland, Virginia Gregory-Kocaj

Danny Van Eechaute and Hugo Philips

Ross Johnson and our youngest attendee - his daughter Lydia 


At left:
Dick and Jane Ward

                        At right:
           Desyl Peterson, 
     piper extraordinaire