Ah Yes, Credit Where Credit Is Due...

don_in_coloradoJanuary 12, 2014

I noticed that Hallson Gardens changed at least two listings in their hosta catalog: 'Big Daddy' and 'Blue Angel' are now rightfully listed having Florence Shaw as their creator, having switched it from the name of the man who stole them from her: Paul Aden.

Great move, Hallson Gardens! I hope other places start following your lead.

Don B.

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Interesting Don. I had no idea. Several years ago a Minnesota hybridizer told me something that indicated that there were some pretty shady people in the hosta world. I can't even remember what we were talking about that led him to make the comments he did.


    Bookmark   January 12, 2014 at 3:37PM
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bernd ny zone5

It also depends on the neighborhood you live in. I read somewhere in these forums here that some persons even removed little trees. We always keep lights on outside and also have a locked fence around the backyard, but that is because there was once a neighbor with a fiery German Shepard dog. Since then I also have spades sharp.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2014 at 7:14PM
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bkay2000(8a TX)

I was reading something interesting on the Hosta Society site a few days ago. I can't remember who the hygridizer was, but he received an award for his contributions. From what he said, one of his hosta disappeared from his parents garden and reappeared as a registered Aden hosta. It seems as if Aden was an equal opportunity thief.

I just checked the registry for Shaw hosta. The only one I recognize/have is Birchwood Parky's Gold. It's a nice hosta. It holds up, even in Texas. (Did Aden steal all her good ones?)

You have to give Aden his due. He had an eye for a hosta that would sell. And apparently, he knew how to sell them. Given the record, Shaw didn't have those talents.

Like you said, credit where credit is due.


This post was edited by bkay2000 on Sun, Jan 12, 14 at 19:22

    Bookmark   January 12, 2014 at 7:15PM
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A talented thief is only that, still just a dirty thief. And I hate thieves. I understand what he did for popularizing hostas, but I can't get past that he did it with all stolen product. I really don't think I SHOULD get past it. A thief is a thief is a thief.

Don B.

P.S. Yes indeed, BKay. Steve said it was Kevin Vaughn who was the victim of theft from his parents' garden. Then, voila! the missing plants were suddenly Aden's registrations. He posted a comment on the Hosta 'I' thread about it. You're absolutely right.

This post was edited by Don_in_Colorado on Sun, Jan 12, 14 at 21:05

    Bookmark   January 12, 2014 at 8:06PM
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Continuing the discussion about Aden from the Hosta 'I' thread, I've read claims that Aden stole 'Blue Angel' and others right from the gardens of Florence Shaw, when she was critically ill, or even possibly right after she passed away, and her estate was sort of 'in limbo' if you will. Have you or others heard/read the same claims?

Don B.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2014 at 8:58PM
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Babka NorCal 9b

This is from the most recent AHS online Journal:



ps: Added a clickable link

Here is a link that might be useful: Clickable link to article in the AHS online Journal

This post was edited by Babka on Sun, Jan 12, 14 at 21:11

    Bookmark   January 12, 2014 at 9:09PM
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For anyone who doesn't know what the heck I'm talking about, and may be wondering about it, here is a link with a few paragraphs of info. There is the original link to it on the hosta library home page.

Don B.

Here is a link that might be useful: Possible Aden Plant Changes

    Bookmark   January 12, 2014 at 9:10PM
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bkay2000(8a TX)

I'm not justifying the theft. I'm just observing the results.


    Bookmark   January 12, 2014 at 9:59PM
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I didn't think you were, BKay. You're right, he certainly made a fruitful career out of it.

Don B.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2014 at 10:02PM
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Steve Massachusetts Zone 5b


I have been to Birchwood and have spoken to the current owner. He bought the property from Florence's estate in the summer of 1976. Florence died in June of 1975 at the age of 69. I don't know how ill she was. But the current owner told me that there was some kind of dispute concerning the house and the estate. He was able to purchase the property for a good price because it had been empty for some time and thus the sellers were eager to sell. From this I know that there was a time after Florence had died that the property was in limbo and the gardens were at risk for having plants removed. Of course, we don't know that plants were stolen at that time. It's circumstantial evidence. But it is a fact that shortly after this time that Aden began to register plants in large numbers. And it is also true that much later Aden was not so "prolific" in his registrations. It's pretty clear what happened.

At First Look in June of this year, Florence's granddaughter will accept a lifetime achievement award on Florence's behalf. She was the foremost hybridizer of her time, and one of the greatest of all time. Her garden had every rare and newly available Hosta that could be collected at that time. In 1970 Birchwood won an award from the Massachusetts Horticultural Society for it's collection of rare and unusual plants. Dr. Kevin Vaughn will be the featured speaker at First Look and it will take place in Marlborough, MA.

It's just part of the ongoing effort to put the record straight, and to track down exactly where all the plants came from.

Below is a picture of Birchwood and its current owner. The tree in the back left is a 60 foot weeping purple beech planted by Florence.


Here is a link that might be useful: The First Look Web Site

This post was edited by steve_mass on Sun, Jan 12, 14 at 22:55

    Bookmark   January 12, 2014 at 10:44PM
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Thanks for the information, Steve and Babka. Good stuff. Very fascinating personal experience, Steve.

Don B.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2014 at 12:19AM
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A few years back, our neighborhood "plant thief" helped herself to my Japanese maple and several other new shrubs I'd planted in the yard of this little house. I never got the maple back. She also stole big palms from our church.

It was more than one hit. I wound up spray painting the stems of all my plants hot pink, the undersides of my garden art and stepping stones hot pink, and got back only ONE plant. She made the mistake of parking the trailer load of booty where a neighbor (friends with the person across the street from me) saw the haul. And, he recognized some of the artsy stuff, put 2 + 2 together from hearing us talk, and thus charges were brought.

She too was intending to start a nursery for profit. However, SHE was bipolar. Don't know if Paul Aden had that as an excuse, but as good a salesman as he was, it is a possibility.

Here is a picture of the one plant I got back. Yes, that is ONE PLANT, A trachelospermum jasminoides, or Confederate jasmine. Which, contrary to popular thinking, is NOT named for the CSA (Confederate States of America).

Planted in 2007, here it is in 2010.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2014 at 5:23PM
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