In my first AHS Newsletter column, I'd like to share some of the things we discussed and reached decisions on at our recently completed fall board meeting. 
   First and foremost, we have a Budget for 2013. It is lean and mean and balanced, so that we can keep our society in good financial health as we go forward. Our budget for next year is now posted on our website at  Robert Olson deserves great credit in volunteering to help reduce the cost of our Journal, which is always our greatest expense, without reducing the quality of the publication. Other vice presidents trimmed expenses in their departments also.
   Another huge area of accomplishment is that we have established a firm calendar for all of our publications. We are trying to be in communication with you, our members, as often yet as cost effectively as we can. Our first yearly printed issue of The Hosta Journal will be in the hands of the members at the end of February and the second issue at the end of August. Our Online Hosta Journal will be up and available to members on Thanksgiving Day. Our members will receive the printed Membership Directory every other year beginning in 2012 with the February printed Journal, and the Registration Issue will be sent with the February printed Journal every year.
   In addition, we are scheduling our online Newsletter to be out around January 15th, April 30th, July 15th, and October 1st. It will take us a while to shift into these dates, but we expect to accomplish this all by the end of February, 2013.
   The Executive Committee also listened to a complete update on the 2013 National Convention to be held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and co-chaired by Jack Barta and AHS Past President Tom Micheletti. Their plans sound inviting and exciting, and a new and exciting take on the AHS Convention is in the works.
   Another area the board spent time in discussing was research. We have an ongoing project with Hosta Virus X which is a continuation of our previous research project. We decided that the foliar nematode situation can't wait! Rob Mortko, VP Genus Hosta, was charged with the responsibility to evaluate interest and spearhead the development of a new protocol for nematode research that we hope can lead us to better understanding and control of this noxious pest with our local societies and clubs. What do you want to know about those bad boy nematodes? Let Rob know so we can get moving on a plan.
  Finally, get ready for an exciting new issue of the Online Hosta Journal. This issue is bigger and better than the last year's debut effort, with some great articles about different areas of hosta interest. Our hats are off to the all-volunteer Online Journal team for their great production. I have previewed a few sections and it rates a WOW!  It is scheduled to be on your computer Thanksgiving Day - don't miss it!

Later, Doug     (Doug Beilstein, AHS President)                           Contact Doug Beilstein
   AHS Conventions have been a highlight of my summers for the past 11 years so when approached to join the AHS board in the capacity of Executive Vice President – Conventions, I accepted (after much deliberation and with apprehension) because I strongly feel that if you want an organization whose benefits you enjoy to thrive, you should be willing to serve and promote it.
   That leaves me with a lot to learn though my education began 6 years ago when I founded Shades of Green Hosta Society of Southeast MN in 2005. Next year SOGHS will host the 2012 Midwest Regional Hosta Convention in Rochester, MN…and you’re all invited to “Operation Hosta”! Yes, that means I’m co-chairing the MRHS convention, while serving as Programs/Education Director for SOGHS…which all adds up to someone who is completely addicted to hosta and willing to work toward future success of hosta societies at all levels. 
   So, after 26 years of gardening, and 20 years of obsessive hosta collecting (those first few years were dismal and caused the death of many sun-loving plants - subsequent years have caused the death of some hostas), I am charged with soliciting hosts for annual conventions, providing information and answers to potential host groups and generally supporting them in any way possible.  Plus some other stuff I haven’t figured out yet, but I am sure it will find me. 

Hostas, Friends, & Music - The 2012 AHS National Convention
   In 2012, we venture into Mason Dixon territory, where southern hospitality and genteel gardens invite the imagination to wander while savoring the sweet perfume of magnolia. “Hostas, Friends, & Music” is scheduled for June 13-16, 2012.  SAVE THE DATE!
   We hope you will make a very special attempt to attend this wonderful convention. This is a new venue for AHS conventions and the Middle Tennessee Hosta Society has worked hard to bring us local hospitality, new and beautiful gardens and the sites and culture of their area.
   There is an early registration fee of $229 prior to January 31. ALL attendees can now register using Visa or Master Card.  A $10 convenience fee will be added for this.

   If your group is interested in hosting an AHS convention, please contact me to start a conversation! I look forward to your call or email me at (507) 289-2614 and
   The excitement is growing!

Cindy   (Cindy Tomashek - Executive Vice President)                                  Contact Cindy Tomashek
P.S.  My husband, Mike, and I have three adult children (Sarah, Josh, and  Andrew), a cat (Honey), and two grand-dogs (Scamper and Dakota). We reside in Rochester, MN, but also have a getaway place in Preston, MN (hence my internet name "prestonplants" …I get a lot of questions about that!).


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.  2012 Renewals must be submitted/postmarked BEFORE 01-15-2012 to avoid a $5.00 late fee.

  • 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 Sandie Markland.  

Sandie Markland   (Membership Secretary)                               Contact Sandie Markland

HVX Research Progress Report 

  Thanks to all who generously supported funding of Phase 2 of the HVX Research Project at the University of Minnesota.  Thanks to your contributions the Phase 2 effort was fully funded and kicked off on schedule in early June.  

   To date Dr. Lockhart has repeated the HVX transmission testing by contaminated fingers, tools (scissors and knife) and root debris in soil using Hosta 'Honeybells' as the host plant.  These plants will be observed for HVX symptoms and tested for the presence of virus next spring and during the second growing season. 
   A number of shade perennials have also been inoculated with HVX.  They will be observed and virus-tested along with the H. 'Honeybells' test plants.  A number of members of the Liliaceae family will also be included in the shade perennials testing.  Dr. Lockhart opted to wait until next spring to inoculate these since it was a bit late in the growing season based on prior research findings. 
   This fall and winter he will be launching into more greenhouse and lab-oriented experiments.  These include testing (and verifying or not) the report from Korea stating that “HVX was transmitted in 7.5% of seed from HVX infected H. ‘Blue Cadet’”.  He will also begin work on movement of HVX within plants as it relates to rate or ease of infection and differences between different hosta genotypes.

Rob Mortko   (Vice President Genus Hosta)                                                                    Contact Rob Mortko

   To all our judges, let me introduce myself. My name is Chuck Zdeb and I was elected Vice President for Judging and Exhibitions. I have served for the past four years as Vice President for Awards and Honors. I am taking over this position from Meg Dalton who has done a remarkable job for the last four years. 
   In addition, Judy Burns has taken over as judges’ records keeper.  Over the next several weeks, Judy and I will be reviewing the judges’ records. We will be checking to see that the requirements to maintain judging status have been adhered to.
   Also remember you are periodically required to enter leaves in a leaf show as well as judging requirements.  Please make sure that any updates in judging requirements are sent to Judy either electronically or in paper form.  
   Kathie Sisson will continue on as Judges Training chair. She has asked that you remember to send changes in judging status as well a record of judges’ training clinics to her so that you get credit for your time in clinics.  
   Any suggestions you may have to improve the quality of our shows, our judging, or our training are eagerly sought. Ideas you may have for Judges Clinic III are also welcome.
Chuck Zdeb   (Vice President Judging and Exhibitions)

Chuck Zdeb
5803 Hearn Road
Ellenwood, GA 30294
Contact Chuck Zdeb

Judy Burns
3070 Hudson Way
Decatur, GA 30033
Contact Judy Burns
“The Presidents Wall”
   At this summer’s AHS convention in New England many awards were presented. We give awards for outstanding contributions in the field of hybridizing, journalism, photography, newsletter production and service to the AHS. Too often we don’t recognize or appreciate the members who are the backbone of the society.
   Those members who spend years in their respective societies making the societies work! They serve as newsletter editors, treasurers, membership chairs and leaf show chairs. They make sure that the room is set up for the meetings and that the projector and screen are there for the speakers. They are always doing something for their group. Too often their efforts go unrecognized.
   To that end the AHS Board has established an award to specifically recognize those individuals. The award is being called the “President’s Wall”.
   The recipient does NOT have to be a member of the AHS. Early each year local societies will be asked to submit two names to be honored by the AHS. Their names and a brief description of their contributions can be sent to the VP for Awards and Honors who will generate an award certificate and send it back to the local society to be presented. In addition the name of each recipient and the Society that he or she serves will be engraved on a brick in the ‘President’s Wall’ on the web site at  The first of these certificates will be presented next year.
Mike Shadrack (Vice President Awards and Honors)                                                  Contact Mike Shadrack
Phasing Out The AHS Merchandise Store

   Over the next few months the AHS Online Merchandise Store will be closing its doors.  Watch for Store sales with special close out prices on all AHS logo products.  This decision came about at the June board of directors meeting when Store coordinator, Connie Linder, presented a proposal to phase out and discontinue selling AHS merchandise.  When the Store was established in 2005, the intention was to only sell items online.  As a convenience to national convention attendees, AHS merchandise was sold at conventions.  Marketing innovations have changed, and it’s time to reevaluate the Store. 
Connie Linder looks back fondly at the start of the AHS Store:
   It all started with a simple two-inch lapel pin with the AHS logo on it.  I loved the pin I had gotten many years ago and thought it was a shame not to have them available for all AHS members to buy.   After getting approval and funding from the board, I was in the business of selling AHS pins.  I sold them informally at conventions and they were a huge success.  Members really liked the idea of having something with the attractive American Hosta Society logo on it.  So, why not have a ‘store’?  That was the birth of the AHS Online Store in 2005.  The ‘store’ has carried items such as the official AHS pin, cool rapid dry polo shirts, baseball caps, an AHS embroidered navy visor, a thermal beverage cup, and of course a sturdy AHS t-shirt suitable for weed pulling or garden touring.
   Perhaps, down the road a new AHS Store will be created.  Anyone interested in developing a new AHS Store should contact Connie Linder or Doug Beilstein.  This means that AHS merchandise will no longer be sold at conventions. 
2011 AHS Popularity Poll
   It is time to cast your votes for the annual AHS Hosta Popularity Poll!  Take a stroll through your garden to refresh your memory of your favorite hostas, then log on and vote. 
   Popularity Poll voting is only open to AHS members so once you are on the American Hosta Society website ( click the “Members” link along the left side of the page.  You will then need to enter the members password.  The password is published in The Hosta Journal.  If you do not have your Journal handy, you can contact the AHS Membership Secretary for the password.  Once you enter the password, click “Submit.”
    You are now logged into the Members Only area of the website.  You can access the Popularity Poll voting page by clicking the “Popularity Poll” link on the left side of the page.
   Once you are on the Popularity Poll voting page scroll down to the bold heading that says “Online Voting.”  Follow the instructions on the page to cast your votes.
   It is very important to NOT press the Enter or Return key on your keyboard after you begin entering your votes!  Doing so will submit your ballot before it is complete. 
   Unfortunately, this is a “feature” of the polling service the AHS uses and is beyond our control.
   Anyone who has trouble voting is more than welcome to contact me for help!     

                       Contact Josh Spece


“Save the Date” - June 13 - 16, 2012 - AHS Convention - Nashville!!!

   “Hostas, Friends and Music” will be a time for visiting with old friends, making new ones, experiencing Nashville and of course, seeing Middle Tennessee gardens.  The Scientific program will include: a panel on Hosta Tips to Grow By; Don Dean will share his hybridizing experience Where Did That Trait Come From; Jerry Weeks with From Yon to Here  will discuss how hostas made their way from Asia to the New World;  and, George  Schmid, the Key Note speaker, will present his work on Hosta Species.  Mike Shadrack will address hostas in Europe with Eric Smith, Master Hybridizer; Bob Solberg will talk on The Future of Hostas; and Warren Pollack will lead a breakout session on recent hosta DNA work by Dr. Ben Zonnenveld of the University of Leiden, The Netherlands.  Flo Chaffin of Specialty Ornamentals will discuss Shady Characters - Japanese maples, hydrangea and conifers for the various growing zones.  There will also be two non-scientific sessions:  The Rise of the Southern Biscuit and Adelicia Acklen, Mistress of Belmont (Plantation). 
   A musical revue is planned for Wednesday evening after the Optional Tours.  One tour is Gardens of Nashville, including the Parthenon, and the other is a historic tour of three Civil War sites in Franklin, TN, including Carnton Plantation and its 1860 period garden. 
   The Hat Contest will return on Saturday evening and a Photography Contest will be held.  Categories and rules will be posted on the convention website.  
   With so many attendees driving to Nashville, we are looking forward to a great Hosta Show.  You bring the leaves…  We’ll have the bottles.  
   If Country Music is on your agenda, we suggest attending the Grand Ole Opry on Tuesday evening to avoid missing any of the convention activities.  Gray Line of Nashville has given the group a special rate which will include tickets and transportation to and from the hotel.  A special email address for this will be posted on the convention website.  For further information, see  
   There is an early registration fee of $229 prior to January 31. ALL attendees can now register using Visa or Master Card. A $10 convenience fee will be added for this.
   Ya’ll Come.  We’ll be serving up Southern Hospitality and are Expecting You!
Escape to Wisconsin  - June 13-15, 2013
   As announced at this summer’s convention, a site has been secured for 2013.  It will be held in the Milwaukee, WI area.  Since there have been comments that conventions are getting expensive to attend, I had a different vision for a future convention. 
   The idea is to shorten the convention to Friday and Saturday, and for attendees to drive to gardens on their own timing and schedule with maps and directions provided.  Carpooling will be strongly encouraged to alleviate congestion at gardens and to facilitate rides for attendees that do not drive in. 
   Jack Barta has embraced the concept and is willing to work with me so he and I are co-chairs for the 2013 AHS convention.  We are in negotiations with a hotel and are in the planning stages at this time.  I wanted to announce this to the membership and make them aware of the fact that we will have a convention and that the concept will be different than past conventions.  
   Since this is such a radical new concept, I have received concerns from members about the new format.  I will address many of these concerns in the upcoming Online Journal where there is more room for discussion.  I also welcome concerns and ideas at this time so as to find solutions to some potential problems before they occur.  This is by no means meant to change convention formats.  It is meant to be an option to host a convention.  Since local societies have turned down requests to host future conventions, this will be “2 Cheese Heads Putting on a Convention”!
   While it sounds like a cheesy idea, we are confident that we will be able to provide an excellent convention experience at a much reduced cost.

Tom Micheletti (AHS Past President)                                                                       Contact Tom Micheletti