The AHS National Display Garden Program
At the 1980 American Hosta Society Convention, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held in Chanhassen, Minnesota, marking the establishment of the University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum’s Hosta Glade as the first official AHS Display Garden. At the time, the Hosta Glade was without equal. It was one of the few public gardens anywhere focusing on the use of hostas in a landscape, and it had one of the largest and best hosta collections in the world. It remained the sole AHS Display Garden for over a decade.
Since then, other dynamic hosta societies have established public hosta gardens that have met the criteria required for designation as an AHS Display Garden: an educational mission, a significantly large and appropriately labeled collection and a commitment to maintain the garden.
The idea behind this program is to encourage local societies to support public gardens. We firmly believe that the more people that see hostas, the more they will like them, potentially increasing membership in The American Hosta Society (which is international in scope) and in local societies.
The AHS has established criteria to assure a certain level of quality in its official display gardens. Please see below for requirements and the application process. It’s our hope that every local society will help sponsor at least one public garden, and perhaps even multiple gardens.
Note: A Directory of Member’s Tour Gardens is located in the Members section of the website.
Official AHS National Display Garden Status Requirement
Any garden wishing to obtain Official AHS National Display Garden status must meet the following criteria:
- Must be a public garden (no private or commercial gardens)
- Garden must have a minimum of 100 different registered and labeled hosta cultivars.
- Garden must have some educational theme. (This can be fairly simple, such as how to garden in that region with hostas, a specialized collection of certain introducers’ varieties, etc.)
- Garden must be willing to post AHS information or membership information.
- Garden must be well maintained.
- Garden must have some method of permanent care. (This is so that the garden is not dependent upon volunteers. Examples would include a trust fund or a permanent arrangement with a park or botanical garden.)
- Garden must be recommended by the AHS Regional Representative.
- Garden must be approved by the AHS Executive Board.
- Garden / sponsoring organization must purchase Official AHS Display Garden plaque
How to Apply for Official AHS National Display Garden Status
There is no “fill in the blank” application for Official AHS National Display Garden status. Rather, the garden’s sponsoring party (usually a local hosta society) must create a “case file” or “dossier” supporting the garden’s nomination.
Each “case file” should include the following elements:
- Letter from sponsoring party — This letter should include basic information on the garden and the sponsoring party, and should explain how the garden meets the requirements listed above. Each requirement should be listed followed by a paragraph or two explaining in detail how the garden meets that requirement
- List of hosta cultivars in the garden
- Photographs of the garden
- Copies of any maps or pamphlets, etc. that are handed out at the garden
- Evidence of permanent care-This item will vary by garden. If there is a trust fund for the garden include official documentation for this. If the garden has a maintenance arrangement with a city park, a botanic garden, or a university a letter from that organization would be appropriate. Basically, include anything that shows the garden has a form of permanent care
- Letter of recommendation from garden’s AHS Regional Representative
Two copies of the “case file” should be created. One copy should be sent to the Regional Representative. The other copy should be sent to the AHS Display Garden Chair.
The Regional Representative and the AHS Display Gardens Chair will review the case files, asking the sponsoring party for clarification or more information as needed.
Once the Regional Representative and AHS Display Gardens Chair feel that the case file answers all requirements satisfactorily they will present it to the AHS Executive Board for review at their next meeting.
Once Official AHS National Display Garden Status is awarded:
The AHS Display Garden Chair will write a letter to the garden’s sponsor announcing the AHS Executive Board’s decision.
The garden may use the title “Official AHS Display Garden”. The AHS has developed an official plaque that the garden or sponsoring organization needs to purchase for display.
The garden’s sponsor will supply an article with photographs to The Hosta Journal for publication, describing the new Official AHS National Display Garden.
The garden’s sponsor will also ensure that the garden is listed on the AHS Garden Directory. (Contact the AHS Display Garden Chair for details).
For more information, please contact:
Phyllis Weidman, AHS Display Garden Chair