Hi all,
   I want to take a moment to wish everyone a very Happy and Prosperous New Year. May all your hostas flourish this season.
   For a while now I have been asking members to update their email addresses with our membership Secretary, Sandie Markland. This new email newsletter is the reason. The paper newsletter was discontinued at last summer’s board meeting in order to reduce expenses.                                                       Contact Sandie Markland
   However, in order to continue communications with members and offer reminders, news, timely information, hosta tips and suggestions, I have initiated this email newsletter. It is my intention to send it out at least quarterly, time and information being the determining factor. Each newsletter will also be archived on our website under the Community Heading link in the left column. Since not everyone has updated their email addresses, please let all your friends and fellow AHS members know about this new line of communication. You may subscribe or unsubscribe to this e-newsletter through the following link. AHS E-mail Hosta Newsletter I also welcome ideas, tips, and suggestions to include in future issues.

Are you still a member?

   It is time to make sure your AHS membership is up-to-date. Memberships run from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31 of each year. A mailing was sent to everyone on our mailing list to remind them to renew their memberships.  The number following your name is the year your membership expires. I hope you all took advantage of this reminder and got them in before the Jan. 15 deadline. A $5 late fee is assessed on renewals after that date because additional costs are incurred in processing late renewals. All renewals sent in after the late date must include the late fee. Membership information is available on our website at www.hosta.org.
   The voucher program that was so successful in encouraging new memberships last year is still available, so please let fellow hosta enthusiasts know about this program so they can take advantage of a new AHS membership and receive a voucher worth $15 from participating nurseries. Visit our website for more information and a list of participating nurseries.
   Of the nearly 3,000 letters that were mailed first class to members in early Jan. about 20 were returned as undeliverable. If you did not get a letter, the information we have in our database is incorrect and we need your help in correcting it. Please contact our Membership Secretary and provide the correct information.
   This is important as within the next few months a new and Membership Directory will be produced. If any reader has recently changed their address or email address please make sure that our Membership Secretary has the correct listing in her database. Please check the recent Directory to be sure your information is correct.

The Online Hosta Journal

Click to read the OLJ (members only)
   The Online Hosta Journal which was released in early December has been a resounding success! While initially a few comments were received from members that were unhappy with the decision to produce the Journal online, the majority of our members have understood the necessity of making this decision and are willing to make a few changes in order for the society we all love to continue and to flourish. Many favorable comments have been received and by and large members have embraced the new online format. The advantages are more articles, not needing to limit word counts for space consideration, and above all, more and larger photos. I want to thank the online Journal team for all their hard work and dedication to creating this beautiful publication. I also want to thank the membership for your understanding and the need to make this decision.

Upcoming Events!

The new hosta year is underway. The Winter Scientific Meeting of the Midwest Regional Hosta Society was held on Jan. 22. (I’m sorry this came out too late for announcing, but this new email venture has taken a bit longer to create than I envisioned). It's always a great way to start off the New Year! Don’t miss it next year! The MRHS convention is also coming up this summer visit their website at www.midwesthostasociety.org.
Great Lakes Region, Hosta College will also be here before we know it on March 11 & 12. Keep a watch on their website http://www.ihostohio.org/Portal/glhc/ for further information.


   Our ninth annual American Hosta Society on-line auction begins Saturday, January 15th and runs through Saturday, January 29th. Events such as this require the efforts of many volunteers, representing numerous hours of dedicated time. Thanks goes out to those who are instrumental in providing the support, created the site, are vital to spreading the information, donors of materials being auctioned, and all those choosing to support the AHS with their bidding. Special thanks to Bob Axmear for allowing us to use his Hosta Library site again this year.
   We all love to look at great pictures and dream of our next treasure to arrive in the mail next spring. Donations have been coming in stronger than ever, and we have many great offerings from around the country. We are on track for one of our best auctions ever if things continue in this direction.
   Send your donations any time beginning NOW. These plants do not have to be rare or have scarce availability; they can be a new plant that you have registered, classic favorites or collections of favorites. Streaked breeder plants are always popular as well. Please consider donations to help support the AHS. Include a paragraph description and digital photo. Click on the link on our website for more information.
   All proceeds go directly to the society’s treasury. Auctions are a primary source of revenue to bring one of the world’s best horticultural journals to its members and libraries across North America and abroad. The Hosta Journal can only stand to increase its standing as a premier publication as a result of all of your support! AHS membership is not required to participate. Payments can be made through our website. Check it out, tell your friends and above all have fun!

2011 AHS Online Auction - January 15th to January 29th - http://hostalibrary.org/ahs/

   Following close behind the AHS auction in February will be the First Look Online Auction. First Look is the meeting for AHS Region 1, held on the east coast each summer. First Look features new, exciting, and unusual seedlings and hosta sports. This year the meeting will be held in conjunction with our national convention in Massachusetts. An auction of new, unusual, and exciting plants is also held each winter to raise funds for various hosta related projects.

HVX Research

   On behalf of the American Hosta Society I wish to thank all those individuals, local and regional hosta societies, and trade associations that have generously contributed to the next phase of HVX research. To date we are at 48% of our funding goal.  Our plan remains to initiate the phase 2 research project in the spring of 2011. However we need your help. It is not too late to contribute. You will find more information available on the AHS website including the proposed scope of research, the proposal received from the University of Minnesota, and how to make a donation. Based on our current funding level we will be making a decision shortly on a possible reduction in the scope of the research project if needed in order to match available funds. The second phase of the HVX research will be starting this year and in order to complete the entire scope of the research, funds are still needed. If your society has not contributed to this valuable research, please consider making a donation. Individuals may contribute as well!  Information about the first phase of the research as well as this second phase is available on our website.                     Contact Rob Mortko

“Hostas and Heritage” - The 2011 AHS National Convention 

                                                   June 22-25, Marlborough, Massachusetts
   I would like to tell everyone how much I am looking forward to this summer’s convention, “Hostas and Heritage” being held June 22-25 in Marlborough, Mass. The AHS has never held a convention in New England and I have not spent any time touring this historic part of our country. Becki (my wife) and I are excited to visit and plan to spend some extra time visiting the area. The convention is shaping up to be a great one and I hope you are planning on attending. Information is also posted on our website. Check out the previews of the gardens on the convention website. They look to be wonderful.                                                                 Go to the Convention Website

All Aboard!

   Lest you think this is too far to travel for those of us “Out West” or Midwest anyway, there is an exciting opportunity to make the trip by rail. AHS member Bob Balitewicz aka “Indiana Bob” has arranged a trip via Amtrak. Travelers can jump aboard the “Hosta Express” at any train station along the Amtrak line between Chicago and terminating in Worcester, Mass. Bob has arranged for train travelers to be picked up and brought back to the train station in Mass.
   Bob says to make reservations, call Amtrak at 800-872-7245. Advanced tickets are needed. The code for the 10% discount convention rate is X58D-909. The code for a 15% senior discount is D0D1E. Book train 448 departing on either Mon. June 20 or Tue. June 21. The return train is no. 449 returning Sun. June 26. Bob asks that ticketers notify him after purchasing tickets so he can keep an accurate total for the block of tickets reserved.
   Travelers can congregate in the parlor car for pre-convention fellowship and revelry. The cost of train travel will depend on the station a person boards the train, but it much less expensive than travel by car. Bob says the trip from Chicago saves over $60 for tolls alone. What a great way to fellowship with hosta friends to while away the miles!                                                                Contact Bob "Indiana Bob" Balitewicz

Hostas, Friends, & Music - The 2012 AHS National Convention

   In 2012, as we venture into Mason Dixon territories, treasures such as southern hospitality and genteel gardens invite our relaxing imagination to wonder, sweet smell of magnolia and all. “Friends-Music-Hostas” is scheduled for June 13-16, 2012. Mark the date!
   We hope you all make a very special attempt to attend these wonderful conventions with us. These are both new venues for AHS conventions and the committees have worked hard to show their local hospitality, new and beautiful gardens and the sites and culture of their area.                                Convention Info

   The AHS is excited about opening up discussions with any local hosta club or society to host a National Conventions starting with 2013 and beyond. Please contact Doug Beilstein, for information concerning the process needed to hold these spectacular conventions.                                                Contact Doug Beilstein

Award Nomination Time!

   This is just a short reminder to all of you that nominations are now being accepted for both the Alex J. Summers Distinguished Merit Award and the Eunice Fisher Distinguished Hybridizer Merit Award. These awards are given to both recognize outstanding service to the American Hosta Society and to recognize hybridizers who have contributed a number of hostas to the Genus Hosta. 
   Please send the name of the person you are nominating, the reasons you are nominating them and your name and contact information to Chuck Zdeb VP Awards and Honors. Thanks everyone for your attention to this important service.

The Benedict Garden Performance Award

   Want to be involved in the selection process for our premier plant award, known as The Benedict Medal? Become a Garden Judge!  Based on their own gardening experience, and using criteria developed by the AHS, a Garden Judge votes to determine the best hosta garden performers through a once a year balloting procedure.
   These votes are used to determine the winners of the Benedict Garden Performance Awards, which recognizes hostas that have proven to be superior garden performers, plants that have exceptional characteristics, grab your attention and make you want to take a closer look at them. 
   These awards are named in honor of the late Dr. Ralph H. (Herb) Benedict, a renowned hybridizer, a hosta lover and a strong supporter of the American Hosta Society.
   Anyone who has been a member of the AHS for 3 consecutive years, has a broad knowledge of hostas and is willing to visit gardens in their region is eligible to apply to be a garden judge.  Complete instructions and an application are available on the AHS website.                                           Questions? Contact Meg Dalton

Hosta Journal News

   We are on schedule to send the first issue of the printed version of The Hosta Journal in early March. The second issue should be in late July or early August.  Please make sure we have your current address registered with the membership secretary (who prepares the mailing list).
   Included with the Spring Journal will be a copy of the 2010 Registration book produced once again by our hard-working International Registrar, Kevin Walek. If you have not yet visited the web site at www.hostaregistrar.org you have a real treat waiting for you.

The Popularity Poll

   There is still time to vote in the popularity poll. It can easily be done at the AHS web site. The directions are very straightforward and easy. The deadline for the 2010 popularity poll is March 1 (very shortly thereafter we will begin voting for 2011). If you have any problems voting please contact our Journal Editor, Bob Olson. The more votes we get, the more accurate the poll will be in reflecting the collective judgment of the American Hostas Society members.                                    Vote in the Popularity Poll

Website Updates

  Have a question or problem you need help with? Wondering what new hostas everyone is lusting after?  Want to see or share some inspiring hosta photos?  The forum is the place to be! Hop on over to the AHS forum for a little hosta talk to help pass the cold winter days!
If you are a member of a local hosta society, please take a moment to make sure you society's information on the Local Societies page is up-to-date:
   If you have corrections, please contact Josh or Betty.  We will get your society's information corrected quickly!

Odds and Ends

   This is the place I plan to write about thoughts, ideas, problems, solutions, suggestions etc. Above I asked for your thoughts, please send them to me and I hope to include them under this heading.

What’s Happening in the Hosta Garden?

   What’s happening in your hosta garden now? Well for those of us up north, not much, our gardens are covered with snow. Some areas many feet of snow! Those in more southerly climes are not doing much hosta gardening either, but at least you can see your garden. While you are looking, watch out for those telltale tunnels just below the mulch from voles, not to be confused with moles, which are a different creature. Voles tunnel just beneath the soil surface or mulch and devour our beloved hosta roots. If you see bulging tunnels in the mulch it’s best to remove the mulch in order to discourage those pesky voles. Other remedies are to incorporate sharp gravel in the soil surrounding hosta roots. Some gardeners with heavy infestations of voles build wire cages from ¼” mesh wire to surround their hosta roots at planting time to discourage vole tunneling.
Those of us up north are content watching our hosta seedlings grow.

New Rules announced for 2011 AHS/Hosta Journal Photo Contest
By Andy Marlow, Photo Editor, The Hosta Journal

   Even though it’s winter and there are about three feet of snow on top of my hostas, it’s not too early for you to be thinking about photographing your hostas for the 2011 photo contest. To make things easier for you, and to make the resulting photos more interesting for those who view them, AHS awards VP Chuck Zdeb and I have made some changes to the categories for entries. Official rules will be published in The Hosta Journal, but here’s a preview of the new line up:

Category 1: Best Hosta Close-up. Get up close. Focus on a single leaf or just a few at most. Give us lots of detail.
Category 2: Best Picture of an Entire Mature Hosta Clump. Make sure it’s a well-grown clump. Give us a sense of its total impact on the senses. Make sure to identify the plant for us.
Category 3: Best Landscape Picture Showing Multiple Clumps. Identify all the hostas in the photo, and keep the focus on the hostas.
Category 4: Best Landscape Picture Involving Hosta. Can include other plants, garden structures or other non-plant accessories.
Category 5: (NEW) Artistic Impression. Let your imagination run wild, but the photo must contain a hosta element. Can include digital manipulation (Photoshopping), montage, wildlife, etc. If there are any people in the photo they must be identified in the entry. If they are not, your entry will not be considered complete.

   The deadline for entries is December 1, 2011, so you have plenty of time to snap photos through the growing season and submit the very best. Watch for all the details about how to enter and where to send your photos in an upcoming issue of The Hosta Journal.

   Thanks for letting me fill you in on what's happening in the AHS at this time of year.

Happy Hostas!
Tom Micheletti
AHS President

Help Wanted - Newsletter Editor:
With this issue, the AHS is initiating a quarterly E-newsletter and we are looking for someone to take on the position of Newsletter Editor. Much of the content will be provided by the AHS Board, but there is no limit to size in this format so more can be added. We have a large library of photos available as well. Newsletter editing experience preferred but not necessary. Experience with HTML pages not necessary. Email lists are already set up. If you are interested in taking on this rewarding position, please contact Tom Micheletti