Hi All,
    Here we are with the second quarterly e-newsletter. I am pleased to hear that the first e-newsletter was well received. I have heard many favorable comments regarding this new venture. It has been my goal as President to improve communication with members. We began four years ago with a complete overhaul of our website. Shortly thereafter an email list was created to improve communications to the presidents of local societies so they can keep their members informed about what's happening within the AHS.  
    Now as my term in office expires in June, I am pleased to have this quarterly communication established and under the editorship of Reldon Ramsey. Reldon is the editor of the Russ O'Harra Hosta Society newsletter and has accepted the position of editor of our e-newsletter. Thank you, Reldon, for accepting this position.
    The e-newsletter is not restricted to just AHS members. It is intended to also be an outreach to anyone interested in hostas, and it will hopefully encourage them to join the AHS. If you know of anyone that might want to receive our e-newsletter, there is a link on the homepage of our website, www.hosta.org.  In the left column under the "Community" link is a link to the e-newsletter. There is a way to subscribe, and past e-newsletters will also be archived there. Please help spread the word about the AHS.
    Also if you know of anyone that has not been receiving this e-newsletter, it is because we do not have their email address. Please let them know that they should update their contact information with our Membership Secretary.                                                                                             Contact Sandie Markland 

    The most important thing I have to talk about now is the impending loss of one of the great traditions of the American Hosta Society - our National Convention. Please read my article directly below. If your local has been considering hosting the 2013 National Convention, please contact me immediately so we can talk about it.                                                                                                          Contact Tom Micheletti

Are you still a member?

    It is also time to publish the semi-annual Membership Directory, so it is important that every member check their contact information to be sure it is correct.  I received many complaints after the previous Directory was sent that members contact information was not correct.  We cannot have accurate information if we are not informed of changes.  Please check your contact information and update it with our Membership Secretary.
    As mentioned earlier, my term as President expires with the June convention.  It has been an honor to serve the society for the past four years.  I have worked with a very dedicated and hard working board, and we have wrestled with some difficult topics.  I want to thank every one of them for their hard work and support.  Along with the expiration of my term, other board members terms expire.  I appointed a committee to select nominations for the board and they have been approved by the board.  A vote will be held at the business meeting at this summer's convention.  I am pleased to announce the nominations for office of those positions that are up for election.
President Doug Beilstein
Executive Vice President Cindy Tomashek
Vice President Judging & Exhibitions Chuck Zdeb
Vice President Genus Hosta Rob Mortko
Vice President Member Services Jim Weidman
Vice President Publications Ken Harris
Vice President Awards & Honors Mike Shadrack

Are AHS National Conventions Ending? 

   As the president of the AHS I am very concerned about the impending loss of our national conventions. You may know that we do not have any conventions scheduled beyond 2012. This is because we do not have any locals who are interested in hosting a convention beyond that time. You may not know that the AHS cannot hold conventions without the participation of a local society. If our national conventions cease to exist, it will hurt our society as much or more than the recent declines in membership, and I would not be doing my job as your president if I did not emphasize the importance of that. Losing the AHS National Convention will mean yet another serious blow to our society's finances and inevitably will impact what we can do for our members. 
   As important as that message is, I'd like to take off my president's hat now and just talk to you as a fellow AHS member.
   My first convention was in Minneapolis in 1990. That experience is what solidified my hosta addiction. I had never seen so many beautiful hostas growing in one place as in the gardens in Minnesota. While I have not attended every convention in the intervening time, I have attended most of them, and it is one of the highlights I look forward to each summer.
   As with many of us the hosta experience begins with our infatuation with hostas and then progresses from there. We meet fellow enthusiasts and bonds are formed. With all the ways we have to stay connected, mail, phones, email, etc., none can beat a face to face meeting with friends. It is at hosta conventions that we connect with these friends and make new ones. Each year I meet new people that are as inflicted with hosta-holism as I am. A connection is made and they become new friends. While not everyone of them attends a convention each year, when they do we reconnect and the friendship is renewed. 
   Some of these friends have also become mentors and have shaped my life over the years. I have learned so much about hostas from Bob Solberg from North Carolina and we have discussions long into the night about our favorite plant. Kevin Walek from Virginia has taught me about being the leader of an organization like the AHS. Audra and Fred Wilson from Iowa have taught me about sharing and generosity and about the true meaning of the "Friendship Plant". Van and Shirley Wade from Ohio, have exemplified the kindness and humility that I have tried to emulate. My Minnesota connection has been very heartwarming. Don Dean has become a good friend and confidant. We have heartfelt discussions about life, about hostas, and about the AHS.
   Mary Schwartzbauer and Kim Larsen have also become friends of my wife Becki and we share life experiences and laughter whenever we are together. Bob Olson has taught me that we are a society of people and how to respect each individual. Roger and Kak Kopmans have shown me how to be a more meticulous gardener and that keeping up with the chores pays off in the end with a cleaner and neater garden. Becki and I have been adopted as an honorary Minnesotans. (You betcha, hey!) There are so many more friends and I could go on, but the editors have limited me.
   The point is that I have met people from all over the country at our conventions that have shaped and enhanced my life and hosta experience. Without our annual convention I will not be able to be with all these friends, and likely would never have met them in the first place. 
   I am sure every one that has attended a convention can share their most memorable experiences. For most attendees the gardens are a highlight of a convention. It is truly a privilege to be invited into some of the most beautiful hosta gardens in the country. The gardeners put in countless hours to beautify their gardens so that they become works of art. In touring we become acquainted with new hostas in these gardens that we must add to our collections. And where else but at a national convention can we purchase so many beautiful new hostas from the leading hosta nurseries who vend there.
   The convention also holds our National Hosta Show. This is the largest display of perfectly grown leaves that one will see anywhere in the world. It is inspiring to see meticulously grown hosta leaves and what our plants can look like. I remember walking the show floor admiring the new hybrids and sports and adding which ones I "needed" to purchase to my wish list. I still seek out these new hostas and add them to my wish list, even though I have become more selective due to limited growing room. This is the best place to see the new desirable plants of the future.
   If we no longer have a convention, I will greatly miss all of the memories and connections I have made over the years. It will be very sad to no longer have the inspiration of the gardens or the perfectly grown leaves in the hosta show, or to be able to see and purchase the newest cutting edge hostas. Most of all, I will miss seeing all my hosta friends, and the opportunity to make new friends from another part of the country I have not visited before.
   Without a convention, members will miss out on the opportunity to make their own memories or form new friendships. Since our conventions are hosted in different parts of the country each year there will be many new members that will no longer be able to attend their first convention. They will not get to create and share their own experiences as those of us who have attended them have done. They will not have all the wonderful memories we have collected along the way. 
   If conventions are a part of the hosta experience that you will miss, I urge you to talk to your local society and urge them to consider hosting a future convention. Better yet, offer to take the lead and chair or co-chair a convention for your local. Sometimes it just takes the initial offering to get the ball rolling to get people to step up to help. The AHS is open to discuss hosting a convention with anyone. We have new ideas about how we can help you and even redesigning conventions we'd like to share with you. Most of all we need someone to step up and be the point person on the ground to help arrange for gardens, and organize volunteers that are needed to help perform the tasks that make conventions run so smoothly. The AHS will do anything in its power to make future conventions possible. We need your help, please contact me or Doug Beilstein, our VP for Conventions.                                            Contact Tom Micheletti

We Need Your Thoughts --- Doug Beilstein

   The Presidents and Newsletter Editor's meeting to be held during this summer’s National Convention will be an extremely important meeting for the health of the American Hosta Society. This year the meetings will be combined and held together. A significant part of that meeting will be devoted to hopefully a spirited and informative in-depth discussion on the future of the National Convention of the American Hosta Society.
   Over the years National Conventions have provided a venue for sharing our love of hosta as well as making lasting relationships and memories. We share this time together in various parts of our country and get to see firsthand how other hosta lovers work their creativity with the friendship plant. The AHS relies on local societies to host conventions for our members – we cannot make them happen without the partnership of a local.
   What we are hoping to learn from this meeting is how we can better assist our local host societies with all the work and expense of a national convention. We are prepared to make whatever changes are necessary to keep the AHS National Convention alive. We are prepared to provide whatever help will be needed, whatever form that help may take on. There are some things we cannot do, but if we can do it we will.   
   Please bring your thoughts and ideas about what we can do to help or email me, and I will include them in the agenda.  Contact Doug Beilstein  If you are unable to attend the meeting, please designate a substitute to represent your society if one is coming. The more ideas and input that are generated, the better we can try to provide our hosting locals with whatever assistance they need.
   We will be forming a special Convention Assistance Committee headed up by local society members who themselves have chaired AHS conventions. This committee will have the skills and experience to answer any questions and offer real help in the more difficult jobs of setting up a convention.
   We invite and encourage all of the local society Presidents and Newsletter Editors in attendance at the National Convention in Marlborough to join us at this meeting. Check the convention handbook for the day, time, and place.

   Our last scheduled convention is Nashville 2012. Please help us prevent that from being the last AHS National Convention. I look forward to hearing from you, and seeing you at the 2011 Convention.

“Hostas and Heritage” - The 2011 AHS National Convention 

                                                   June 22-25, Marlborough, Massachusetts
REMINDER! - The cutoff date for early registration is May 1st. Any registrations postmarked after that date are subject to a late fee of $75.  Register soon if you want to avoid the late fee.
Other news:
The optional tours are rapidly filling to capacity with over half the available bus seats filled at this time. Once the seats are filled the optionals will no longer be available. 
A new speaker has been added - Professional photographer Rich Pomerantz will talk about garden photography and sign copies of his book.
A new on-your-own group tour - the Cape Cod Caravan - has been added on Thursday the 23rd. Tourers will need to arrange their own transportation.
Keep checking the website for schedule changes and other news - Convention Website

The Hosta Train

   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

Other Upcoming Events!

On June 10th, the Dixie Regional Hosta Society holds its annual convention in Birmingham, Alabama.  Judy Feltman is the chair and can be reached for more information by clicking HERE.

The Dixie Regional Hosta Society's website is --- www.dixiehosta.net

This year First Look will not be a separate meeting. It will be held in combination with the AHS National Convention in Marlborough, MA on Thursday, June 23rd.  

The First Look website is: http://www.hostalibrary.org/firstlook/

The Midwest Regional Hosta Society annual convention will be held July 7-9 in Madison, Wisconsin.  For more information go to their website at:


MEMBERSHIP - Sandie Markland

Just a few reminders for our members: 
  • AHS Membership runs from January 1 through December 31 of each calendar year regardless of when an individual joins or renews.
  • The year of your AHS membership expiration always appears immediately following your name on the mailing label of every publication mailed to you by the AHS.  Your membership will expire on December 31 of that year.
  • A renewal form is always included with the second Journal of the calendar year.
  • Complete renewal information is available on the AHS website.
  • AHS Memberships make great gifts for your gardening friends.  Gift Membership Welcome Packets include a presentation sheet indicating the year of the gift membership, the giver of the gift membership and any personal message the giver wishes included.  The Welcome Packet also includes a copy of "The Hosta Adventure:  A Grower's Guide" and the new AHS $15.00 Plant Voucher for individuals new to the AHS.
  • Any questions regarding membership status, the password for the Members Only Section of the AHS website or missing issues of recent Journals should be sent directly to AHS Membership Secretary: Contact Sandie Markland.


   We have finished the first Hosta Journal of 2011 - Volume 42 Number1, which is pictured at right. It is in the mail now and on its way to your real-world mailboxes. Our Journal Staff thinks you'll really enjoy this issue!
   Included with this 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 Registrar's web site at www.hostaregistrar.org you have a real treat waiting for you.

Call for Photos for The Hosta Journal --- Andy Marlow, THJ Photo Editor

   The Marines presumably are still looking for “a few good men” and women. The Hosta Journal is looking for a few good photographs. We’re always in need of great shots to keep the standards of our publication at the level our members expect.
   We much prefer digital photos. They should be jpegs of at least 1 MB file size. Even larger files mean higher quality and better for us. You can either email them (if you are sending no more than 10 MB at a time) or put them on a CD and send them through the postal mail. The addresses are at the end of this article.
   We do also accept slides and prints. Send the original slides (not copies) please. We will return them to you when we are done, but please do not scan them to send. We have all slides and prints professionally scanned to insure the highest quality.
   A couple of caveats: don’t send photos taken with a flash or with high contrast between sun and shade.  They just won’t reproduce well.  Try for even overall lighting.  
   All photos must be accompanied by 1) name(s) of gardener(s) and 2) the name of the hosta(s) (unless it is a landscape scene). And, if there are people in the shot, they must be identified. We will not print a photo of a person without getting their permission, so we have to know who they are.
   We are open to any photographs you might like to submit for consideration. Garden scenes and landscapes are always nice to get in addition to hosta close-ups. 
For our next issue we have a particular wish list:
·   Hosta 'Skylight' (especially a large vertical)
·   Photos of Randy Goodwin's garden
·   Gardens on the Rochester, MN optional tour from the 2010 AHS Convention

   And, we need photos to illustrate two articles. The first is on the many sports of H. 'Blue Mouse Ears'.  Among the plants we could use shots of are: 

H. ‘Green Mouse Ears’ H. ‘Frosted Mouse Ears’ H. ‘Royal Mouse Ears’
H. ‘Cat and Mouse’ H. ‘Mighty Mouse’   H. ‘Pure Heart’
H. ‘One Iota’ H. ‘Mouse Trap’ H. ‘Snow Mouse’
H. ‘Mighty Mouse’ H. ‘Blue Mouse Ears Supreme’
   The second article is about miniatures. The author talks about all of the hostas listed below. If you have good, tight close-ups of any of these please submit them:
H. gracillima H. venusta H. ‘Tiny Tears’ H. longissima breviflora
H. ‘Little Devil’ H  ‘Kabitan’ H. ‘Green Eyes’ H. ‘Little White Lines’
H. ‘Hart’s Tongue’ H. ‘Bizarre’ H. ‘Snow Flakes’ H. ‘Gosan Gold Midget’
H. ‘Gosan Gold Mist’ H. ‘Rosanne’ H. ‘Little Wonder’ H. ‘Princess of Karafuto’
H. ‘Feather Boa’  H. ‘GaGa’ H. ‘Wiggle Worms’  H. ‘Yellow Submarine’
H. ‘Akikaze’ H. ‘Popo’  H. ‘Tortifrons’ H. ‘Silver Anniversary’
H. ‘Tiny Bubbles’ H. ‘Manzo’  H. ‘Corkscrew’ H. ‘Mr. Asami  Improved’
H. ‘Otome-no-ka’ H. ‘Quill’  H. ‘Tardiflora’  H. longissima ‘Nikazaki’
H. ‘Hacksaw’ H. laevigata  H. ‘Suzuki Thumbnail’
   Send photos to Hosta Journal photo editor Andy Marlow by Email at  ajmarlow@comcast.net,
or mail to: Andy Marlow, 10700 Minnetonka Boulevard, Hopkins, MN 55305 USA.

2011 AHS ONLINE AUCTION! --- Tom Micheletti

   We had the most successful online auction ever, with a record-setting total of $10,306.64! Thank you to all those who donated plants, and thank you to all of you that bid so generously on the plants. As the AHS relies on events such as these for income, this very successful auction will go a long way to help replenish our treasury. I want to also thank Don Dean who put in countless hours organizing this auction. A big thank you also goes out to Bob Axmear for hosting our auction on the HostaLibrary and handling the technical side of things. Thanks everyone that helped make this such a huge success!
   Pictured at left are the three top-dollar plants from the auction. From top to bottom, they are:
1. H. 'Bob Axmear' (Meyer NR), a sport of 'Elegans' donated by Bill Meyer..................$750
2. An unnamed streaked seedling from Bob Kuk donated by Bob Kuk ...................$600
3. H. 'Brant Rock Jetty' (Goodenough NR), donated by Rick Goodenough....................$550
            Click here for complete auction results:

            Click here for the Big Bid items:


Brian and Virginia Skaggs Benefit Auction

   The benefit auction for Brian & Virginia Skaggs was an overwhelming success! The auction ran for just eight days – from 5 PM (CST) Saturday, March 26th through 8 PM (CST) Saturday, April 2nd - but generated more donated items (142) and revenue than any previous online hosta auction. The action was frenzied at times during the final three hours since no item closed until there was a five minute lull in bidding. $20,691.00 was raised and included several sizable cash donations. The auction was organized by Jeff Miller with assistance from Bill Meyer, Carol Brashear, Don Dean, and Joanna Kovalscik. It was hosted by Bob Axmear at the HostaLibrary.

The Top Five Items:

    $870.00 – One of Mary’s Best (seedling) donated by Bill Meyer & Carol Brashear
    $701.00 – H. ‘Imagine’ donated by Jeff White & Marie Rahman
    $550.00 – H. ‘Bob Axmear’ donated by Bill Meyer & Carol Brashear
    $500.00 – H. ‘Humback Whale’ donated by Paula Lehtola
    $500.00 - H. ‘Outrageous Dragon’ donated by Rod Kuenster.
57 items brought $100 or more.  31 - $100–199; 14 - $200–299; 5 - $300-399; 2 - $400–499

Complete auction results may be viewed at http://www.hostalibrary.org/firstlook/SkaggsResults.htm


   Ballots for the Benedict Garden Performance Award will be sent to all Garden Judges in late April. If you know and love hostas as most of us do, and are not a garden judge, please won’t you consider becoming one? It’s very easy. The requirements and application form are located at the bottom of the Benedict Garden Performance Judging page at the AHS website. To go there click HERE. The completed form should be mailed to Barbara Jones, Chair. Her address is at the bottom of the application.
    Volunteers are needed for the hosta show taking place at the AHS National Convention in Marlboro, Massachusetts from June 23-25, 2011. We need volunteers in the areas of:  Staging, Registration and Exhibitor Assistance, Placement and Clerking. If you are able to help, please Contact Meg Dalton HERE, or Kent Terpening by Email

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


Mildred Seaver, The Passing of a Hosta Legend

Mildred Seaver, one of the founders of the New England Hosta Society and a prolific hosta hybridizer, passed away in early March at age 98. Mildred was known for the vast number of hostas that she had introduced, many with her trademark "Sea" prefix.  Learn more about this boisterous lady and her hostas on the AHS website:




Bill Zumbar

   William W. Zumbar, 75, of Alliance, OH, died on Saturday, February 19, 2011.  He was born on April 7, 1935 in Alliance and lived in Alliance most of his life.  He was internationally recognized as a hybridizer of hosta.  Bill introduced many varieties of hosta especially miniatures.  His most well-known varieties are H. ‘Cheatin Heart’ and H. ‘Sultana’.
   Bill was a lifetime member of the American Hosta Society.  He was a member of the American Rose Society, the Buckeye District of the ARS, the Stark Rose Society, and the Mahoning Valley Dahlia Society.  He was an accredited judge of the American Hosta Society and the American Rose Society.  He received the Outstanding Judge Award for the Buckeye District of the American Rose Society in 2004.


New Hosta Hybridizing Forum
    A new sub-forum has been created on the AHS Hosta Forum.  The Hybridizing Hosta Colloquium is a forum for informal academic discussion of hybridizing along with related research and scientific or anecdotal observations.  Discussion can include hybridizing goals, strategies, confirm and question long held beliefs, etc.  Rick Goodenough is moderating the new forum and will lead periodic in-depth discussions on certain hybridizing topics.
    The new forum is off to a strong start with some heavy weight hybridizers sharing their thoughts!  The AHS Forum is open to everyone, so stop by, register, and join in the fun and learning.

To visit the forum: http://www.americanhostasociety.org/forum/index.php


What’s Happening in the Hosta Garden? --- Tom Micheletti

      It is spring!  It finally has arrived!  This seems to have been a longer winter than usual. Just about every part of the country has experienced what I refer to as a "real winter"! One like I remember when growing up with lots of snow and cold temperatures that lasted all winter.
    We have had all winter to reflect on our gardens, the successes and failures of the past season.  Now that spring has arrived, depending on where you live, it's time to put all that resolve into action. Labels need to be checked. Somehow many of them were pulled out of the ground or knocked over. This is something that can be done on one of those sunny clear days when we all are itching to get outside before the hostas emerge. The garden can also be cleaned up of fallen twigs and last summers hosta foliage and scapes if this wasn't done in the fall. 
    As the hostas are emerging, the first application of fertilizer needs to be applied.  If one applies a slow release fertilizer that releases its nutrients over a few months time, a general fertilizer, an organic fertilizer, or a top dressing of compost, it can be applied now.  The slugs are also active, hungrily looking for a meal!  Feed them with slug baits before they find our beloved hostas.  Once the holes are noticed in the hosta leaves the population has built up so much that it will be more difficult to control the slugs. Starting early gets a head start on slug control.
    Dividing in the spring is easier due to the fact that the leaves of hostas don't interfere, making it is easier to see the divisions.  Remember to keep these new divisions watered very well as their roots have been damaged.  The rest of the hosta garden will also benefit from attention to watering, especially as the foliage is emerging.
    Most of all, enjoy this magical time of year.  The garden is coming to life from a long winter's sleep.  Plants are as anxious to appear as we are to see them.  The garden changes daily so go out and enjoy!

  AHS eNEWSLETTER EDITOR ---- Reldon Ramsey

     The position has been filled. I had only glanced at the first eNewsletter a few days before I attended the Winter Scientific Meeting. I hadn’t even scrolled all the way to the bottom so I wasn’t aware of Tom Micheletti’s request for an editor. I had just recently become the editor of the Russ O’Harra Hosta Society’s “Hosta Horizons” newsletter. My first issue had gone out by email only a few days earlier. So I was very surprised when  Tom asked me to become the editor of the AHS eNewsletter. And I was just as surprised when I said “Yes”.  
   I should probably learn to control my spontaneous outbursts, but that hasn’t been the pattern of my life. Whether it was asking for my wife’s hand in marriage or volunteering to move my entire garden to a new location to be part of the 2010 Midwest Regional Hosta Convention, I just knew it was the right thing to do.  Everything happens for a reason.
  In the spring of 2002, I was buying plants for a memorial butterfly garden for my wife. She had died of cancer the previous November. It was then that I began to discover the diversity of hostas. I bought a few to put in a shady part of my garden where other perennials didn’t do well. The pots multiplied quickly as I found more varieties at every garden center and nursery. I discovered hosta forums on the internet. And then hosta clubs. I was reeling in my grief and hostas, and the wonderful people I met because of them saved me. So when Tom asked me if I would help the society that has given me so much, it was a spontaneous decision on my part. I’m honored to be able to contribute.