MRHS President's Message

Spring, 2017

Good road conditions in late January made for easy driving to Naperville for attendees of the 2017 Winter Conference. The strong line-up of speakers/break-out sessions provided much-needed inspiration to carry me through the past couple of months, but time spent with friends is always the most enjoyable part. There were noticeably fewer in attendance this year. However, this is a trend that isn't new or surprising. In an effort to stir up more excitement, the Board is looking into hosting a different kind of gathering that would take place in the fall (a twist on Winter Conference that would offer a couple of speakers at a central location for ease of commute, perhaps at a botanical garden or public facility, and possibly other activities, TBD, so watch for updates!). What type of event or favorite element of past gatherings would draw you in? If you have suggestions, we want to hear from you! While we are not planning a 2018 WC, it doesn't mean we won't return to it if interest warrants in the future.

Spring ushers in a new gardening season along with a new season of events. MRHS has held annual conventions hosted by local societies from its inception through last year thanks to Illinois Prairie Hosta Society stepping up in the 11th hour. This year's convention, initiated by Rob Mortko and Rob Saathoff with the Johnson County Master Gardeners taking over the reins, will carry on the tradition of an annual convention and will feel and look very much like past conventions. I am looking forward to the "Land of Aaahs" with much anticipation and gratitude for this opportunity! In 2018 we will return to Illinois to visit the Peoria area, thanks to Barry Ankney, Penny Bocelli, and the Central Illinois Hosta Society. After that, however, another mold-breaking collaboration is in the works. In 2019 MRHS will hold its' annual meeting at the AHS convention in Green Bay since we do not have a host stepping up. This is not the first time a regional society has held their meeting at a national convention (Dixie Regional either foregoes its' convention when the AHS convention is in their region or they hold their meeting at the national convention). We need to look beyond 2019, however, and identify a host for 2020, since combining conventions deprives MRHS members of the shorter format convention many of you prefer. It is time for local societies who have not hosted a convention or who haven't hosted in several years, to show us your gardens, please. A couple of enthusiastic hosta friends and a few volunteers could take the convention challenge as well. There are many people in our midst who can offer support and we have a very thorough convention manual to guide you. We look forward to your invitation to come visit.

Spring is the time of year when many of us seek new treasures for the hosta beds. You can help your gardening friends out by introducing them to MRHS: FIRST TIME members receive a $10 voucher toward a qualifying purchase from a sponsoring Midwest Region nursery/mail order/vendor (see participating sponsors at Besides this discount, they might discover hosta vendors they hadn't been aware of in our region, along with the other benefits of MRHS membership.

Because we value our members, here's an incentive for you: attend this summer's convention and you will automatically receive a one-year extension of your MRHS membership! There's plenty of time to register, but don't delay ... late registration fee applies May 1.

In southeast Minnesota (it's the end of March) the snow cover is completely gone, revealing fall's unfinished tasks. Like sap running up the trees, the urge to garden is coursing through my veins, but it's far too early to clean up the garden. It's a good time to make my hotel reservation for Lenexa, though, and place orders for some new hostas before they are all sold out. Ah, Spring - season of hope - hope the hostas I want are still available and hope to see you in Kansas!

Rooted in the Midwest,
Cindy Tomashek
MRHS President
(507) 250-5311

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