Who We Are... a little bit about us....
The South Western Ontario Hosta Society was established / founded in 2011. Our mission is to promote the growth and development of hostas by education and camaraderie. We promote knowledge and interest in hostas by encouraging member participation in hosta related events and by providing updates and interesting articles in our newsletters and on our website. If you love hostas and you live, work or play in the southwestern part of the province of Ontario, Canada, we would love to have you as a member of our society.
Anyone can join upon completion of the membership process. Please see the "Members Only" tab located at the top of this page. South Western Ontario Hosta Society, (SWOHS) is managed by a dedicated volunteer committee. Our elections take place every fall at our Annual General Meeting.
If you are interested in becoming a member or if you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to email us at SWOHS@outlook.com
We look forward to exploring the world of hostas with you!!!!
Our executive committee are always striving to give you the best experience possible. They are continuously looking for new ideas and activities to bring everyone together in a fun atmosphere.
Current executive positions are:
President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, Membership, Director at Large. We are however looking for a Webmaster, and a Newsletter Editor.
Some time ago, I had a very sunny backyard which contained a vegetable garden. As time went on, my neighbours started planting trees and some started growing rapidly. They even spread into my yard and I could no longer successfully grow my garden. However, I loved having the shade. I could then use the backyard to sit out and do some of my marking and preparation work as a high school teacher. It gave me a calm place to be. I started searching for something that would grow in the shade and still give some life to the yard.
Try to imagine my excitement when I realized that hostas would grow in shade. A friend and I ordered some roots from a mail order catalogue and when they arrived there were no labels or identification. We planted them in pots and then tried to identify which ones were identical. Most of those original plants are still in my garden. I didn’t have a clue that hostas were so diverse and fascinating. I was introduced to the diversity at Hosta Choice Gardens when Margo and Udo were still there. I bought a few more plants and from there the idea of a garden full of hostas started.
A short time later, Anne invited me to join a new organization called the Southwestern Ontario Hosta Society. Two or three years later I became a member of the executive, first in the role of arranging Publicity and then as Vice President. A few years later I became the President.
Now that I have retired from teaching, I still find that my garden is a calm place even as it has grown and changed. Last year I expanded the size of the actual gardens and I am still looking at how to best arrange the hostas and their companions to make the most of their amazing beauty.
Hi my name is Angie and I am a hostholic. I have been collecting hosta's for about 15 years now. My first hosta's were given to me by a close friend when she helped us install our fish pond. They were of course Plantaginea, Lancifolia and an Undulate Univittata. Of course I did not know the names at the time I just knew they were hosta's and they looked awesome around the pond. I was hooked after that. About a 15 minute drive from where I live in S.W. Ontario is Hosta Choice Gardens and I went to take a look, well that became my happy place. The very first hosta's that I bought were Strip Tease and Sweetie, needless to say I am now 22 away from reaching 1000 different varieties. My favorites are the streaked ones, my bucket list hosta is Gunthers Prize. Over the years I have found a few sporting off established plants, separated them watched them and named them after my granddaughters. I also love the sports from Strip Tease and Sum and substance but who am I kidding I like them all, from the Giants to the minis. I also like to have my family and friends represented by their names too. I have many other perennials scattered throughout the gardens like day lilies trumpet and Asiatic lilies echineacea peonie trees and spring bulbs.
We have lived here for 29 years and the only perennials here were 50 year old peonies and purple iris. Since I came from a landscaping background, my dad had his own business and I worked for him, I saw my yard as a challenge and has taken me all these years to transform a blank slate into my own oasis. Every year things change. Borders get a little wider plants get moved to make room for new ones and people always say how do you find the time. I made time it is my therapy. As of January I retired from my dog grooming business of 20 years in hopes of knee replacement surgery but since that isn't happening anytime soon I am ahead of the game this year for spring clean up. I am very excited to see little eyes peaking out of the ground and spring bulb blooming. Mind you as I am writing this on the 15th of April it is snowing like crazy and the ground is turning white.
As we all go through this weird and tough time missing our family and friends may we find some solace in our gardens.
I was a high school teacher and we had built a new house two years before I retired. So the garden had to be started from scratch. I was struggling to find a theme.
I had nine different hostas, a no-name from a neighbour, two each of five from a catalogue and three from Hosta Choice. I was browsing an online hosta group and they were going to do trades but I knew I couldn’t trade with Americans so I added a thread to ask if anybody in Canada wanted to trade and I got two answers.
One from British Columbia, and one from Bryan Tunstall, who lived in Chatham! So I visited his garden and was amazed that he knew all of his hostas by name! He helped me name the ones where I had thrown out the tags, not knowing the names were important. The next year we split First Frost, and that was the year after Margo and Udo had died and Hosta Choice was selling hostas at half-price if you bought two hundred dollars worth! So Brian and I went at least three times and I got hooked! And now I have over 400 different ones.
Because I have so many I wanted to be organized, so I have spreadsheets and documents organized by bed as well as alphabetical lists.
It was about that time that Bryan and Lynn Bisschop were instrumental in starting SWOHS, and I joined and became the secretary. I have met so many wonderful people through hosta trips and seminars that I would never have met before. And I am so glad that OHS is planning the Hosta forum for this fall. If you are new to SWOHS don’t miss it.
I wanted to learn a lot more, so I went online and downloaded a lot of new information. I found the Hosta Library: a bottomless pit of hosta information. My family call me the Hosta Queen because I know so much about them!
I like hostas with very thick leaves (Mouse Ears), ruffled edges (Wheee!), very narrow leaves (Stiletto), vase-shaped (World Cup), names of my friends and family (Elizabeth, Betty, Megan's Angel). Some act as a memorial to remember those who’ve gone (Karin, Deane's Dream). Others because I like the quirky name (Hanky Panky, Tootie Mae)! And then the "naughty bed" (Striptease, Patricia the Stripper ect.) Of course I like the Lakeside hostas (I have 21!)
This year’s project is to put a path through one of my large, wide beds so I don’t compact the earth when weeding or tending the ones in the middle. I have the new edging done and the sod comes off soon, then good composted soil goes on before the hostas come up and be ready to be relocated. Should keep me out of trouble and busy while self-isolated!
Years ago, when I was an executive with the Wallaceburg Horticultural Society, I admired the hostas of a woman while I was on a garden tour. She generously offered me some plants and I found them a shady spot where they were just perfect. All these years later they still bring delight to me. Over time I picked up a few more plants here and there from local garden nurseries and created a few more spots for them. By chance a few years ago I read an article about a woman in nearby Chatham and her garden full of hostas. I was intrigued and built up my nerve to contact this lady to ask to view her yard. That was certainly a turning point when I saw what could be created with skilfully designed beds. The sin of envy set in and I just had to attempt to recreate something like for myself. Her “Grass is overrated.” sentence rang clearly in my head as I went about clearing a shaded area under a tree. I went about exploring nurseries with my first wish list of plants that I had admired at her home. As I excitedly sought out more unique hosta varieties, I knew I had found a hobby that would bring me joy. At this point, I had never heard the term addiction in reference to hostas but now can clearly attest to such a reality.
There are thousands of varieties and all have appeal in their unique way. I have enjoyed selecting hostas by their name as it relates to a family member, a place or a memory. When I stroll through my main bed, I am greeted by Paradise Joyce, my mom, Joyce, Bailey’s Cream, my grandson Bailey, Peter the Rock, my son Peter, Chopsticks, my son and his family in Japan, Metallica, my sons as teenagers listening to their music. Now I am on a mission to find King Michael or Michael Mud Pie after my other son Michael.
As a retired technical documentation analyst, the need to compile data and list and categorize was part of the fun. How many varieties do I have? Where did I purchase from? What cost? Colour of flower? Expected size? Oh, I also have a nice list of “wish to have hostas” to take with me when I go shopping. What truly added to the delight of having hosta growing as a hobby was when the Hosta Queen from Chatham, Anne Gooch, became my friend and invited me to attend a summer picnic sponsored by the South Western Hosta Society. What nice people these hosta lovers seem to be! What a source of information and ideas they offer. And what gardens they have! I joined the Society that day and since have joined the executive as Membership Chairperson. The past few years since I joined SWOHS have provided many opportunities to learn and share and meet like-minded people all in love with hostas.
I’ve been a gardener since my single digit era. In the Spring Dad would take us to a nearby natural woodland bush to see the trilliums, dogwood violets, snow drops, wake robins, the ferns unfurling, and of course to look for leeks. These plants made their way to my own little shade garden by the rain barrel. Many years later shade again became the gardening standard in my very small condo terrace space. This was my discovery of hostas! Hostas filled the beds, hostas filled the planters, hostas filled every square inch of dirt I could get them into. They needed little care but always looked gorgeous. My hosta babies, or at least a piece of them, have moved with me ever since. First I pack my hosta babies, then I pack the house! I have grown my hostas in Tillsonburg pots, Woodstock loam, Stayner swamp land, Wasaga Beach sand, and now they are in Chatham clay.
Volunteering has also been a big part of my life. I have been an executive team member in sports, service clubs, and garden clubs longer than I have owned hostas! I am Maureen Andersen, your Treasurer.
I began gardening after my husband and I bought our house in 2006 as a way to relax. Taking after my mother I developed a fondness for Hostas that turned into an addiction that peaked a few years ago at the Shades of Green auctions. Gardens that started with Lancifolia and Plantaginea that came with the house, over time has increased as have the size of the flower beds. We now have nearly 200 hosta varieties. We also enjoy other things such as Agave and Cactus and have created several new beds including a desert landscape in the front yard. After all "grass is over rated".
Member at large:
Bill has been a member since the first organizing meeting in Chatham. A visit to Shades of Green Nursery in Aylmer Ont. introduced him to the idea of a hosta group in this area. He has been onboard from the very beginning. They (him and his wife Cathy) garden in Sarnia Ont. The camaraderie of our hosta group is very good way to learn & grow. They currently enjoy over 150 Hostas in their yard.