I remember the day the post card arrived in my mailbox. A post card inviting me to come to the first meeting of a Hosta Club that was just organizing its' first meeting. It was Spring of 1994. I wondered, "How did I get invited?" Of course, I was a member of the American Hosta Society and I thought a list must have been made from AHS Members who lived in this general area. The first meeting was held at Kingwood Gardens in Mansfield, Ohio. Sandra Grace Ross was the President, Charles Applegate was the Vice President with Dick Henly as Treasurer and Michele Hardman was the Secretary. 50 curious Hostaholics arrived to attend the first meeting! This meeting established a lot of firsts. The name of the Club, Mid-Land Hosta Society, was presented by Mike James and seconded by Ruth Johnson. The first By-Laws were read. The first trustees were appointed: Van Wade, Pat Crooks-Henly, Mark Berrens and Sharon Cowen. Decisions were made. There would be 3 meetings a year and a newsletter would be published. Dues would be $10.00 a year per household and the group said it wanted to hold a cut leaf show and a Hosta sale in the future. It was a GREAT beginning! Some people knew each other from attending AHS Conventions and Great Lakes Hosta College. The Great Lakes Region celebrated its' tenth year in 2002. Many others formed new friendships that have continued on for a whole decade! The first year there was a garden tour and a first auction that was held at Kridler Gardens.
But, HOW did the idea start? WHO inspired all the local societies? I like to think it happened like God with Adam and Eve. I imagined the AHS and Great Lakes Region said, "Go forth and multiply!" Or, in the case of the Hosta world, "Go forth and spread the word about this wonderful perennial, Hosta! Hybridize and divide!" Nothing is in the Newsletters saying WHO started the first "seed" of the idea of local hosta societies. So, please enlighten us if you know! This year is our 10* Anniversary. We will have an Ice Cream Social at Pat Raeder's home. Activites are planned. The Committee is excited about the events in the planning! Perhaps we will find out just who was the person or persons who started it all! We will find out who will tell us about the idea that sprouted before MHS began! All of the original, charter members will be invited. It will be a delightful blend of old members and new! You'll have to attend to hear THE WHOLE STORY! In this article, I am just going to review the first five years. Then, in the May Hosta-rific, I will tell you about the past five years!
In 1995, MHS had its' first Cut Leaf Show with 3 entrants and 25 leaves! Dave Hoff, Van Wade and Dick Ward were the first to show us all how it was done! A contest was held for a Journal name and a logo for the Newsletter. Judy Felgar won both contests and we have used the name Hosta-rific and our logo ever since her inspiration. That year, the first membership roster was published. It was made up of the first dues paying members and membership was 52. If you have an * beside your name on your mailing label, you are one of the first, original, charter members! That year, Dave Hoff became Vice President along with the original officers.
In 1996, the Treasury topped out at $1,526.00! This was comprised mostly of dues money and $730.00 from auction proceeds in 1995. In those days, all the Hostas for the Auction and Sale were donated by MHS member/growers: Van Wade, Bob Kuk, Barrie Kridler and Barrie Nichols. Members were also required to donate at least one Hosta or companion plant. In Fall of 1996, Dave Hoff started the "Hosta Foster Parent" drawing. This is the same as what we now call our "Guest Plant" drawing! That year 12 lucky members won a Hosta to grow on for three years. Enthusiasm was growing! By this time, we were having a Spring meeting, a Cut Leaf Show, a Garden Tour and the Sale and Auction. In the early days, the more common Hostas were priced for the Sale and the more rare ones were auctioned.
Dave Hoff became President in 1997 and Mary Moehring was the Vice President, Secretary was Sharon Cowen and Tom Mitchell was Treasurer. By this time, we began to have four Newsletters and four meetings a year, the Treasury expanded to $2,042.02. Excitement rallied for the Hosta Show with 21 exhibitors and 160 leaves. The Potomac Hosta Club had sold us their extra vases and we were on a roll! The gardens toured in 1997 were Mike James, Bob Kuk and Sharon Cowen. Our '97 auction was held at Wade and Gatton. Let us not forget the FIRST PIG ROAST. Of course, Tom Mitchell was the cook and Kridler Gardens was the Host!
By 1998, we moved on with another new endeavors to raise MHS money -our first Hosta plant sale! We always had some kind of refreshments at our meetings but we were inspired by the Pig Roast and now began to have covered dish buffets at each meeting! The membership list expanded to 85 members, the Hosta Show had 16 exhibitors and 113 entries. Total sales at the 1998 auction were $2,484.00. Members toured Pete and Jean Ruh's garden and Holden Arboretum that year.
Ah, we had humble beginnings, enthusiasm, ideas, love of Hostas and momentum was created for great things to come. The ball kept rolling! The next five years will be reviewed in the May Newsletter! In the meantime, be SU to put the date of June 26* on your calendar and plan to attend this BIG EVENT - OUR 10* BIRTHDAY PARTY! It's one of those CANT MISS IT dates in MHS history!