Not guilty!

jan_on zone 5bNovember 12, 2012

I recently had a conversation with a hosta grower during which I commented how useful I find the information that is readily available on this forum, and that it had fueled my growing interest in hostas. He suggested that resources such as this are contributing to a decline in AHS membership since members used to rely on the journal, conventions etc. for hosta information. We didn't discuss numbers, but I found his observation questionable since, for me, the opposite result was the case - I joined the AHS after reading several posts here about the benefits of membership. I previously didn't know of its existence.

Any thoughts??


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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

none that i can share in civil discourse ...

the problem with the decline of the clubs is that the average age of the members who show up to events is like one hundred and 5 years old.. and they look down on peeps like us who have children to bring along.. besides the fact that they are the vast majority of the people who actually have disposable income to spend on plants ...

the fact is.. is that gardening is a dying hobby... as more and more families involve dual income families.. and no one has time to play in the dirt .. or their mini mansion only has 5 square feet of dirt.. and the builder filled that with the plain old stuff ..

there .. there are another 6 or so reasons.. as good as those offered.. as to why all garden clubs are failing ...

last time i had the adrian garden club to my house.. they all outflanked my 80 year old mother by 20 years or so.. lol ..

and what is really dying.. is the gentleman gardener ... i can name 3 under 50 years old .. in the hundreds of garden friends i have ...

i can only think of one grower in ONT... and his problem.. and anyone elses ... is NOT GW ... [not that i have a chart of them .. arent you the one near london ... stratford... where are udo and margot ... GRTSouls ... i miss them.. she loved my kids .. and he loved her ...]


    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 2:09PM
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hostaholic2 z 4, MN

Jan, I also joined after reading about the AHS on here. I can't claim to be an active member as I've never attended a meeting or convention. But I'm inclined to agree that Ken's reasons are as good or better than blaming the decline on forums. I'm a Master Gardener in my county and I'm a member of our local garden club and we struggle to keep both groups going. We often collaborate on projects because neither group has large numbers. We have 2 MG's under 35 all others are over 50. In our garden club we have no one under 50 at this time. We had a couple of excellent members under 30, both have dropped out for the time being as they are simply to busy with jobs and kids. I can understand. When our garden club went to night meetings instead of day meetings about 20 years ago some of the people in the club were very upset, luckily a few forward thinking people pushed hard for it or the club would be defunct by now. Myself and a few core members have worked hard just to keep it's been going for 73 years, how much longer we can hold it together remains to be seen.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 10:11PM
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Love this forum and all you experienced growers are so helpful to us new comers. You give encouraging input to make this such a fun place go come to when TV is not great, weather is nasty and hosta have all been put to bed. AHS sounds like our Canadian senate as far as age goes but best not go their either . We all get so busy in our lives and this seems to be a very useful way of attaining such good information and can sit here in our PJ's and not have to leave our comforts of home. I never have been one to join into groups anyway but so glad to have found this forum... Thanks to all of you and your help

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 11:28PM
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gogirlterri(5 IL)

Ken-in support of your reply I feel we older people have actually less spendible income, and more time on our hands. This is perfect for hostas because they are not expensive, generally have a high survival rate, and can be planted and left in place. It is only when we move them that they are high maintenance.
Clubs are expensive, and travel from home to meetings has become VERY expensive. I tend to drive around town and try meet all tha gals who are growing hostas. I rarely walk away without being offered a hosta or two free. I think we girls tend to favor smaller, more intimate groups than what clubs offer.
What club meetings I have attended the guys meet and we do all the work providing food and taking notes.
I don't say this to start a war. It is true! Think about what I have said and the club meetings you have attended. Who is taking the notes to write the minutes? Who puts out the coffee and food after the meeting is over (and then washes dishes and cleans the tables)? How can a gal take time to have a voice in a meeting when she is so busy doing that! Guys create ideas and gals put them to work!

I doubt that this forum has an influence on club membership either way. Here in the Garden Web Hosta Forum we all have an equal voice. It is wonderful!

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 11:32PM
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Ludi _PA_7a

I'm 27 . . . male . . . sometimes gentle . . . and garden . . . does this make me a Gentleman Gardner ? If so I would be tickled pleased as the title sounds so refined.

I am a member of the American Orchid Society, Philadelphia Horticultural Society, and after 1/1/2013 will be a member of the American Hosta Society. I also have plans to get my MG Certificate this coming summer, if time permits.

Without these organizations and published literature there is virtually nowhere else to turn but the forums for community and information. I guess I would be considered a "next" generation gardener and I certainly wouldn't be here today if not for all of you wonderful enablers.

I feel it is important to support the things you love. When you join these organizations you remind yourself and others that aesthetics are necessary and as Ken said a slowly dying art.

Regardless of age, it is amazing to be able to converse with others that share your passions. I see such great friendships like McTavish and Almosthooked who are within minutes of each other and can share their gardens almost at will. Those relationships are special and should be cherished.

Most of the people my age are either too caught up with the latest trend or out wasting precious hosta money on too much alcohol. It is virtually impossible to find anyone outside of an organization to share thoughts and ideas with.

After I had become active on this forum my eyes were opened up to other hosta beside Elegans. I began noticing a neighbor's hosta down the street that appeared to my untrained eye to be Francis Williams.

One day after work I pulled up to park and saw that the owner of the house was outside washing his car. Thinking of Mctavish and Almosthooked I decided to walk down the street and introduce myself so that hopefully in time I too may acquire a gardening buddy.

It's funny because as I approached him I could see he didn't seem to want to be bothered. Looking back on it now he probably thought I was one of the local college boys coming around offering to paint his house.

I waved, said hello,introduced myself as his neighbor and asked if these were his gardens. He looked at me almost surprised and answered yes.

I pointed down the hill at his Francis Williams and asked if it was in fact FW. He looked at me like I had told him how old his first born was. He answered yes and I pat myself on the back for properly identifying my first hosta (small victories).

If it were not for these forums I would have never known what FW looked like, I would have never been inspired by friendship, nor would I have even given the hosta a second glance as I drove past it everyday to work.

I guess the point in all of this is that community helps all things, and organizations are great way to meet others. But regardless if it is organized or not we all need to network out to each other and share our passion.

To those that renew their dues and keep coming back every year I say Thank You ! Without your foundational work and continued support I wouldn't have a community to look forward to sharing with.


    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 12:25AM
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Ludi-very nicely stated. In fact both Theresa and I had already agreed to join AHS for the year 2013 for the very reasons that you have given. We look forward to the tangible benefits membership briings, but are not likely to be attending any AHS activities. We are sure our dues will be put to good use, and will give benefit to our love of hostas.

I had joined the GCCA (Greater Chicago Cichlid Association) several years back and really enjoyed attending the meetings. But the meetings were all in a far northwest suburb of Chicago and I live too far south to even be considered a Chicago suburb. When gasolene prices soared, along with electricity and natural gas prices and everything affected, I had to stop attending because I couldn't afford it.

During my membership years I had also joined the American Cichlid Association for the 2nd time in my long life of keeping and breeding members of theis fascinating family of fish in my aquariums. I was thrilled to learn that the ACA National Convention was to be held near Milwaukee WI-a driveable distance for a special occasion. Then the related expenses began to become obvious . It would have cost me over $300 plus the cost of gas which could have exceeded $100, and it was financially way above my head. The opportunity was wasted.

The local fish-store is going the way of the dinosaurs and my favorite in Joliet closed within the year. I feel Big Box merchandizing has hurt our hobbies clubs and associations just as it is hurting the remaining local fish stores, where one could hardly visit without a forum gathering to talk about our fish.

I have in the past mentioned Theresa's local jaunts to visit hobbysists gardens in or near Wilmington, and she tells the truth.


    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 7:18AM
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jan_on zone 5b

Is gardening really a dying hobby? I would have guessed the opposite - I thought it was the #1 hobby in the U.S. Perhaps clubs etc. aren't thriving as the population ages, but it seems the plant breeders are going crazy with exciting new introductions and garden centres are crawling with shoppers. My memory of gardens as a kid is mostly vegetables, a few annuals that might actually be purchased, and perhaps a few old/traded perennials; little choice, few hostas, no ornamental grasses. Now everyone on our street seems to have a well tended ornamental garden and helps stimulate the economy every spring.

P.S. for Ken - I live in London, and Hosta Choice Nursery, formerly owned by Udo and Margot is a easy drive. That business was taken over by a former west coaster who saw an ad somewhere and took the plunge to move to Ontario.
(But the grower I had the conversation with was actually in Kansas City!)

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 11:20AM
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Well,I'm one of those "gentleman gardeners",but at a mere 74,I am hardly one of those hundred year olds,that Ken alluded to. Yeah,I find that I don't have that much disposable income,but I usually get a couple new ones every year. I don't belong to the AHS,or any other gardening club,but I am a member of my local bowling league! I had a garden tour of my gardens last year,by our local gardening club,but most of them didn't know one hosta from another. Most of those gardening clubs only care about flowers,and,while I like flowers,they are so short lived. Since my property in mostly woods,not a lot of flowers grow here anyway. That's how I got into hostas in the first place. Too much shade for flowers,or even veggies. Just my take on this. Phil

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 11:38AM
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MadPlanter1 zone 5

The AHS was way outside my radar. I just knew I liked hostas, and this is the spot the search engine turned up. I lurked and read for a long time, and you all gave me lots of ideas on what to buy and how to take care of them once I did. I'd never even heard of the American Hosta Society until reading about it here.

Our local garden club has been getting younger members, even a couple children. We may have to split into two sets of meetings or something. The club has gotten too big to meet at member's houses, and the older half want day meetings while the rest want night time. Right now we do daytime during Standard Time to accommodate members who can't drive at night and nights the rest of the year.

While I'm not crazy about the way Big Box stores dominate the retail market, it is nice they're getting more variety. I have hopes that the guy who buys the 10 kinds of hosta Walmart carries will get hooked and start looking for more.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 4:46PM
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One has to be careful buying from Walmart or Costco as I bought some and two had the hosta virus. I got 5 different kind of hosta, All marked August moon but they all looked different to me and Myrle confirmed the same. I had one August Moon , one gold standard and a couple others. It is nice to see more hosta on the local market too but always be careful and aware

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 5:23PM
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gogirlterri(5 IL)

I recently had the opportunity to work with Beth, the director of my churches Preschool, on an unrelated project. During a "break" she commented about my potted hostas. She and the children broke ground and planted some hostas this past spring. Their little garden is inside a fenced-in playground area which includes outdoor gym-sets. Once THEIR hostas were planted, when time came during pre-school for playing they ran first to see THEIR hostas.
Beth said she can't wait to see the glow in their eyes next spring when they come up. I will happily assist Beth next spring and supply some new hostas for the children to plant in pots. She hadn't realized hostas can be grown in containers and that opens up a whole new opportunity for the children. (I suggested to Beth that when the hostas have grown too large for their containers they could be sold to raise money for the preschool's supplies.
I have access to a large amount of 8" nursery pots for the children to plant their hostas in next season. They all have our local greenhouses name printed on them. I am certain we could count on assistance from it's owner if we ask him.
Children and gardening are such a natural combination. I have never known a child who didn't welcome being part of the miracle of creaton of a "new" life. It is hard to believe that gardening will ever be anything but a thriving hobby.

I am going to find working with the children very rewarding and suggest you might look into assisting a local preschool so you too can feel the glow of a childs heart as Beth has.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 12:25AM
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bkay2000(8a TX)

The internet has changed the way we enjoy many hobbies. It has also made knowledge more accessible. I no longer have to join a society to learn about something. In the '70's, I was a member of the African Violet Society. There was no other source for information about the latest cultivars, the best tehniques or the different fertilizers. But, I doubt it still publishes that nice slick magazine that once came every month.

I joined the hosta society this year. I didn't find it really all that interesting or enlightening. (Nice photos, though.) It seems to me they are writing to/about each other.

Fortunatley, or unfortunately our world has changed. We have no choice but to roll with it. The hosta society will either adapt or perish.



    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 10:02AM
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If I'd waited until the local garden clubs espoused hosta, I'd never have become such an addict. It started innocently enough, with a few hosta purchased for the garden up in Massachusetts. I was already a GWeb member for a long time, and a helter skelter gardener, just ripe for discovering hosta.

My philosophy is to pay back to the organization that has kept the interest alive, or else kept the information and research into the science of it forging ahead. It is worth it to me, what--$30 a year?--to help find the "cure" for HVX or other hosta diseases. I'm not a person to be active in a lot of groups, since I am basically a loner. However, I like what Ludi says about approaching another person, a one-on-one situation, it reminds me of the way neighbors are supposed to act. And, it was the way my grandma did things. Then along comes Theresa saying the preschoolers are excited to be growing hosta, and I know that to be the truth. It was my two grandmas who inspired my lifelong love of gardening.

But back more to the topic which began this thread. I joined AHS as a direct result of THIS FORUM. I was asked to join. Being ASKED is a powerful is empowerment. I feel that by contributing to the membership of those who are motivated to attend the meetings, do the hard work of keeping the organization viable, balancing the books, publishing the directory and the journal, tapping into the volunteer work done by Bob Axmear and countless others, that I am still part of the AHS, the silent part. Maybe one day I'll be able to tour a display garden, which would be breathtaking and as much inspiration as my first visit to the Art Institute of Chicago when I stood in front of a REAL MONET PAINTING.......I almost fell on my knees to worship! Well, it would be fantastic to know that those folks who take hosta to a higher level are forging ahead. And, maybe Ludi is the one inspired by THIS FORUM, who will be instrumental in saving the AHS one day. Who knows. Stranger things have happened.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 3:33PM
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bkay2000(8a TX)

I think Mocc is right. How many more people have joined the AHS because of this forum? I did. I think it was Steve who kept asking.

Basically, for most of us the AHS comes down to a magazine. Conentions are usually far away and expenisve to get to, if not to attend. So the society IS the magazine for most of us. But, printed media are going down left and right. Newsweek is an example. To survive, you have to be really good.


    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 9:11AM
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gogirlterri(5 IL)

Hostas as a hobby has been an aquired thing for me. As a long time admirer but short time hobbyist I now visit the AHS and Hosta Library regularly. The least I can do is support them the best I can. But to grow hostas I NEED this forum.
That is my feeling. Thanks forum guys and gals!

    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 2:02PM
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gogirlterri(5 IL)

Hostas as a hobby has been an aquired thing for me. As a long time admirer but short time hobbyist I now visit the AHS and Hosta Library regularly. The least I can do is support them the best I can. But to grow hostas I NEED this forum.
That is my feeling. Thanks forum guys and gals!

    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 2:03PM
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Wow, Theresa, you set a new GWeb record there.....your post appeared THREE TIMES....the record before was a simple TWO.

Good show.

I have more fun growing hosta than any other plant ever. Perhaps it is because I also NEED this forum? Maybe if I had neighbors growing hosta I could hosta garden in a vacuum. But it is so much more pleasurable to share this passion with like minded individuals. Who know more than I do....

    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 4:05PM
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gogirlterri(5 IL)

&^%^&*())_(*&^^%$$$^&&*(()) - computer!
I pressed "Submit" and nothing happened, so i did it again and nothing happened so I did it again and nothing happened so I said "s---- -t" and moved on.
Now you see why I rely on GWHF, HL and AHS.

For this I cannot say "Not guilty!" (LOL)
moc: I had to laugh previewing this. It looks like a parrot walked across my keyboard! T

    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 2:13PM
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Theresa, yes, there is a definite look of parrot handiwork in your spelling.

Not sure but think the server is slow for some reason. It takes a long time to have the PREVIEW appear when I put a GW photo using the BROWSE option, but you did not have a photo included.

Theresa, ask Les to update us on his project at the side of the house, where I suggested a glider or a swing....north side? forget the direction now. For next spring, of course.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 3:11PM
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gogirlterri(5 IL)

Worthy of another string, moc. So far he only has a purple rocking chair rather than a bench. The rest is for spring 2013 like you've said. Will do, hon.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 8:24PM
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bernd ny zone5

Jan.ON, I do not agree with the comments of your nursery person. My nursery had only generic hostas and the usual generic mail order nurseries only had 5 or 6 different generic hostas between 1987 and 2009. Then I found out about this forum and noticed all these new hostas available, also at a different local nursery. Due to this hosta forum I learned about the AHS, the Hosta Library, a local Hosta society and the Hosta Seed Growers forum.

I agree that people before retirement have relatively little time to learn the details of a Hosta hobby, and also a dwarf conifer hobby. Now after being retired for a while, I even found time to grow hostas from seed, just starting to sow today. Hybridizing is the next step. The AHS gives a lot of information this forum is not able to provide. I am reading their magazines repeatedly.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2012 at 1:18PM
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jan_on zone 5b

So - I wonder how many members the AHS has, and whether the trend is actually down, or up? (I could count this year's membership list, but even on a slow day I'm busier than that lol.)

    Bookmark   November 20, 2012 at 7:44PM
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