2010 Midwest Regional
Tom Micheletti, Deer Park, Illinois

   The annual convention of the Midwest Regional Hosta Society was held in Des Moines, Iowa, July 8 through July 11. The 135 attendees were treated to an enjoyable, relaxing meeting. The Renaissance Hotel in downtown Des Moines was the venue for this year’s convention. The downtown location allowed attendees to visit the attractions of this beautiful city. Interestingly the hotel was connected with much of the downtown by an elevated walkway whereby people could walk above the streets in the comfort of an air conditioned environment.
   Requisite with other MRHS conventions were the garden tours, leaf show, vending, the auction and banquet. While the gardens were not gardens displaying hundreds of hosta cultivars, they were nicely landscaped gardens which included hostas as one of the major players in plant selection. What was nice were the many other companion plants that were incorporated into these beautiful gardens. For attendees that were not satiated with hostas on the regular tours, the optional gardens on Sunday were filled with hostas and equally as nice as the tour gardens. 

   One in particular that stood out for me was the garden of Audra and Fred Wilson. This may be the last time it is on tour as it is becoming too much for Audra and Fred to maintain themselves. For those that did not see enough great hosta cultivars, the Wilson garden has over 2000 varieties of hostas, including many original Herb Benedicts introductions. A testament to the friendship plant, Audra was giving everyone that visited her garden a plant to take with them. Now the Wilson’s will always be a part of many of our gardens.
   The highlight of the whole convention for me was at the banquet being able to present with my wife Becki, the distinguished DeEtta Montgomery Award for outstanding service to the Midwest Regional Hosta Society to Audra and Fred. There are no more deserving members that have contributed to all levels of the hosta world through serving on the board of the Russ O’Hara Hosta Society, the MRHS, and their generosity in contributing plants to auctions. When we visited their garden on Sunday they had already hung this award in a prominent location within their home. Becki was asked to retrieve it from their home in order to take the picture of them proudly holding the award.

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