Floating Along on a River of Leaves
written in June 2015 by BSHDS member Harold R. Hoffman
My wife, Eileen, and I had the pleasure of participating in the Black Swamp Hosta and Daylily Society’s "Rivers of Leaves" hosta show at Toledo Botanical Garden on Sunday. This was our first time to submit leaves in the show, and was actually only the second time to attend the show. The first time I attended, now a number of years ago, Treasurer Jim Flannery “coerced” me into joining the BSHDS and I officially became a “hostaholic”, and have no regrets! Thanks Jim.
We usually had a schedule conflict that prevented us from being involved in the BSHDS leaf shows in the past. This year were able to participate and found it a most interesting and enjoyable experience. I would like to share some thoughts and reactions to encourage those of you who have not participated in the past, and to express our appreciation to those who worked so hard to make the show a success.
The spring meetings of the BSHDS included discussions of the biennial hosta show, and I must say that I found the comments on hosta leaf preparation at those meetings to be somewhat intimidating. Recommendations on leaf selection, cleaning, preparation, and presentation led me to believe that participation would not be easy, and that if preparation was not done perfectly one’s leaves would be “left in the dust” so to speak. With the encouragement of many, and the assurance that we would find the event a fun activity, Eileen and I chose to submit leaves this year, and we are very happy we did so. For those of you who have not participated in a leaf show, I would like to give you a report of our experiences, and hopefully encourage you to join us in 2017.
First, I perceived the leaf show as a competition between leaves. I think I can properly say it is NOT a competition. Rather, it is an evaluation of each leaf. The leaves are sorted by size (giant, large, medium, small, miniature), by color (green, blue, yellow, white-margined, yellow- margined, etc.), and whether it is an American Hosta Society registered hosta or an unregistered hosta. Each leaf is judged for certain characteristics and is assigned points for those characteristics. The AHS registered hosta leaves are judged and can receive 15 points each for Form, Size, Texture, Substance, and Condition & Grooming. Up to 25 points can be given for Color & Pattern. If a leaf receives maximum points for each characteristic, it can score 100 points. “First Place” blue ribbons are awarded for leaves receiving 90 or more points. Second, Third, and Fourth Place ribbons are given to leaves receiving more than 85, 80, and 75 points respectively. Hostas that are not registered with the AHS also are evaluated in a similar fashion in a separate grouping. You can see this is not a true “competition” as more than one leaf in a class can be awarded a first place, or other place, ribbon. This is a common occurrence. Show awards are given for the highest scoring leaf in various categories.
Secondly, I perceived that selection and preparation of leaves would be arduous and that leaves would be rejected for even the slightest imperfection. This, too, was a mistaken conclusion. Eileen and I selected leaves on Saturday afternoon, a total of 16, and I inspected them for holes, blemishes, and tears, and rinsed them of dirt. Leaves with imperfections, pinholes, and such, lose some points at the discretion of the judges. This does not mean those leaves are unsuitable for submission to the show, just that they might lose a few points in one of the judging categories. To identify the leaves I made a loop of masking tape around the stem and wrote the name on the tape with a Sharpie pen. Before doing this I tested such a label by immersing it in water, and found the ink to be indelible. Then we put the large leaves in a 5 gallon bucket with enough water in the bottom to keep the cut stems immersed. The smaller leaves and minis, also identified with the masking tape labels, were put in a drinking glass. I think the leaves could be selected several days in advance if one needed to do so. (We kept our leaves after the show and Eileen put them in a vase of water on our table at home. They still looked fresh several days later.)
Thirdly, I thought the process of submitting leaves would be time-consuming and a bit of a chore. Wrong! Part of the process of presenting leaves in the show is properly labeling them with the American Hosta Society designation. The AHS assigns each registered hosta to a Section (size) and Class (color). It has also determined the size of the typical mature leaf in each cultivar. In order to have an organized show, and to make the judging process more standardized, each submitted leaf is identified by a card with the gardener’s name (concealed during the judging process), the variety of the hosta, its section, class, and the length and width of a mature leaf. The entrant must put this information on the identification card for each hosta leaf submitted. This is not at all difficult, especially in this age of the Internet. The AHS website provides all of this information. I would recommend you gather this information in advance of the show. You will be busy enough the morning of the show putting your leaves in vases (supplied by BSHDS), attaching the identifying cards, and visiting with the other hostaholics. If you have the AHS leaf information in advance the process is very smooth.
Lastly, I found something out about my perceptions of hostas. I had never really looked closely at leaves before, never truly studied them. I saw hostas as complete plants and not as individual leaves. You know, "can’t see the trees for the forest", so to speak? Well, the leaf show required me to look at individual leaves, and what an enlightenment that was! I didn’t realize just how deeply beautiful hostas can be. I didn’t know how much beauty I had been overlooking. I saw colors and details that I never knew were there, textures and patterns that I didn’t know existed, stem colors and patterns of which I had no knowledge. I think this surely is the true purpose of the leaf show, not to identify the best leaf, but to encourage us to look at our hostas from a closer viewpoint so we can truly appreciate the wonder of these plants.
Most of all I must stress that participating in the show was FUN! If you haven’t done so in the past, please give the show a try. I guarantee you won’t regret it.
The efforts of the BSHDS members who make the show possible is a gift to us all. Special thanks go to Show Chairs Bonnie Eddy, Phil Parsons, and Charlie Harper, and all the other hostaholics who helped make the show a success: Marilyn Hummel, Marian Parsons, Linda Scheuerman, Jim Baumann, Betty Moore, Charlene and Frank Patz, Jim Flannery, Linda and Rich Nagy, Joyce Lane, Jim and Libby Boldt, Karen Shelt, and Becky Bothe. You all were very encouraging and helpful. You made Eileen and my first trip down the Rivers of Leaves a real pleasure cruise!
Our hosta show “Rivers of Leaves” is held every other summer. This year it occurs on Sunday, June 23rd, in the Terrace Room of the Conference Center at Toledo Botanical Garden.
Black Swamp Hosta and Daylily members will be onsite beginning at 8AM to prepare their entries for this American Hosta Society show. All leaves must meet certain criteria to be judged. The judging begins at 11 AM. At that time the room is closed to all but the show judge, show chairman, and show clerks.
The Terrace Room will reopen for our leaf show. Public viewing is from 1 – 4 PM. FREE Parking and FREE admission.
Come and check it out. Besides the leaf entries, there will also be hostas in containers and educational displays.
Located just outside of the Conference Center is the AMERICAN HOSTA SOCIETY NATIONAL DISPLAY GARDEN, which you will want to wander through before or after the show.
BSHDS wishes to thank this year's chairman, Sarah DaPra, and our co-chairs, Phil Parsons and Charlie Harper.
Hidden Lake Gardens, in Tipton, MI , is offering a workshop that includes a tour of their Hosta Hillside. The tour will take place on Tuesday, August 20 from 7-8PM. Registration is required.
Click on the button below to go to the announcement on the Tecumseh District Library site.
Click on the 2nd button for more information on the Hosta Hillside.
,Jim Boldt and Harold Hoffman, both members of the Black Swamp Hosta and Daylily Society, volunteer in the herb garden and hosta garden at Toledo Botanical Garden on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings. Steve Stockford, Metroparks services supervisor, arranged for Toledo Blade feature writer, Roberta Gedert, to meet Jim and Harold to discuss gardening in small spaces, which includes espaliered trees and container gardening.
Click on the button below to read the May 27, 2019 article called "Love gardening, but don't have the room for it? Don't despair".
Our 24th annual plant sale took place yesterday in Perrysburg, OH. Members brought plants beginning at 6:30AM. It was 54 degrees and windy, but at least the rain showers had ended. We had a large group of volunteers who helped unload plants and sort them into the various sales areas.
Although the sale officially begins at 8AM, the place was crowded by 7:30, with shoppers filling their Churchill's shopping carts and queueing to check out. It was amazing how many plants were whisked away by 8:30 AM!
We were pleased to have a membership table set up this year. Dan Parran managed to sign up a handful of new BSHDS members.
Member Eileen Hoffman was on hand to sell her handmade botanical note cards with 80% of the proceeds going to BSHDS.
About 11:30 most remaining plants were marked to half-off, and the few that remained at 12:15 were placed in shopping carts and wheeled over to Churchill's, where employees could have their pick.
Our organization wishes to thank Walt Churchill's Market for the opportunity to set up in their parking lot and we wish to thank our members who donated plants for the sale. Many thanks to the team of volunteers who helped with the sale itself. But most of all, we wish to thank the public for their amazing support of our annual event!
Proceeds from the event help us support the hosta and daylily gardens at Toledo Botanical Garden, 577 Foundation in Perrysburg, and Simpson Garden Park in Bowling Green, OH.
Mark your calendar for the 3rd Saturday of May, 2020.
Whether you're a member of Black Swamp Hosta and Daylily Society, or a resident of the Toledo area, you're likely busy preparing for our 24th Annual Plant Sale.
Some of us are checking the list of hostas we currently own and making a list of hostas we hope to buy at the sale. Others have decided this year they want to pick up some BIG hostas, minis, multi-shade varieties, or healthy ferns or Astilbes.
Members who are bringing plants are making their tags, looking up prices, and punching holes in their pots to tie the tags on. AND they're wondering if all of the plants they're bringing will fit in the back of their car! (Maybe two trips at 7AM will be necessary.)
This sale is not limited to hostas. It is limited to perennials. So you will find a nice assortments of healthy daylilies, astilbes, ferns, Jack-in-the-Pulpit, etc.
The plants at our sale are all from our members' gardens.
And, finally, please note that half of the proceeds from the sale go to our society to support our work at Toledo Botanical Garden, Perrysburg's 577 Foundation's hosta garden, and Bowling Green's Simpson Garden Park's daylily and hosta beds.
Come and join us!
Just 2 weeks until our sale! Members have promised 1500 hostas, daylilies, and other perennials form their gardens. The show begins at 8AM. Please join us!
We invited you to join our organization, too. It's just $10 per family per year. Ask any BSHDS volunteer during the sale.
Member Eileen Hoffman will once again be selling her botanical note cards with 80% of the sale price going directly to BSHDS.
Black Swamp Hosta and Daylily members and friends will gather at Toledo Botanical Garden this Saturday morning at 9AM. Following a few minutes of socializing, enjoying fresh doughnuts, and getting instructions from TBG staffer Jonathan Milbrodt and team leader Jim Boldt, we'll grab our tools and head to the hosta beds to spruce them up for the season.
We'll end our work session about noon in order to grab lunch and attend the BSHDS meeting in the TBG Conference Center at 1PM.
The public is welcome at our work day AND our meeting.
Perhaps you'll join our organization for the year. Membership is just $10 a year per family!