Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Heartland Hosta and Shade Plant Society 

Fall Meeting

September 14, 2019

First Lutheran Church, 6400 State Line Road, Mission Hills, Kansas 66208

Check in and Hospitality at 9:30 AM,  Meeting at 10:00 AM

A potluck lunch will be served at noon the club will provide grilled and baked chicken, please bring your favorite side dish to share.   Come for great information, food, door prizes, and great raffle options.  Everyone is welcome.

Click here for directions

Our speaker Don Rawson will present:


Don's presentation covers a wide range of plants (particularly many woodlanders) that are uncommon and hard-to-find. In addition, handouts are offered which include a brief description of the plants covered and a list of nurseries from which the plants can be ordered.

Don has a vast knowledge of hostas and would be excited to answer questions from the simplest "how to plant a hosta" to the highly technical questions about hybridizing.   Don't miss this opportunity to learn from the best.


Don and his wife Pam live on four country acres near Grand Rapids, Michigan.  Since childhood, Don has always enjoyed gardening - first, vegetable gardening when his children were young, and now with perennials and wildflowers.  Together, Don and Pam grow over 400 hosta cultivars, a wonderful display of tall be
arded irises, many lilies and daylilies, and an assortment of other companion plants. Don does a little hybridizing on the side, growing a few thousand hosta seedlings each year.  His best-known introduction is ‘Rhino Hide’, which has the distinction of being the thickest-leaved cultivar available.

In spring, the Rawson driveway has an 8 ft. wide row of daffodils on both sides for a distance of several hundred feet.  “I planted 5,000 daffodil bulbs each year for five years in a row,” Don says, “for a grand total of 25,000 daffodils.”  After the daffodils finish blooming, the 50 varieties of bearded iris in Pam’s garden begin to bloom.  Then in June, the hostas and ferns take the show.  Eventually, the lilies are the focus of attention, along with all the other beautiful flowers.

Don has a liking for rocks…big rocks!  One area of the Rawson landscape is covered extensively by large boulders - some weigh 15,000 lbs. and measure over 9 ft. across.  Don estimates that the total mass of the rocks hauled in is over 1,000 tons.  Most of the stones are from local fencerows and construction sites, but some come from quarries and sites as far away as Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, and locations throughout Canada.  It is no surprise that visitors to the Rawson garden often find themselves peering at rock specimens rather than looking at flowers.  A sidewalk that winds between the boulders provides access to some of the flowerbeds and eventually leads to a woodchip trail along the lake that the property overlooks.  Don and Pam generally host a couple garden tours each year and visitors are always welcome. 

Don served as a founding member and first president of the West Michigan Hosta Society, and speaks occasionally to local gardening clubs.  In addition, he is active in the American Hosta Society, of which he has been a member for nearly 20 years.  Don serves as chairman of the Nomenclature Committee, and compiles the list of miniature hostas for the AHS website.

Don has authored two publications - The Hosta Listsand the Hosta Hybridizer’s Manual.  The Hosta Listsis a compilation of 100 individual lists of hosta species and cultivars based upon various characteristics.  The booklet represents two decades of work on Don’s part and currently includes over 29,000 entries.  The second booklet - the Hosta Hybridizer’s Manual- is a collection of articles from various authors and well-known hosta hybridizers.  This publication is probably the most practical and helpful resource offered to the beginning hybridizer, covering all aspects of germinating and growing hosta seedlings.  Both publications are available for Don’s cost to have the material printed and can be ordered by emailing Don at donrawson1@gmail.com.