Whether you're a first-timer at an AHS convention, or just curious about particulars of Phifty in Philly, here's a set of FAQs.

Convention Questions: click each to expand/collapse the answers

What is an AHS Convention?

Every year since its founding in 1968, members of the American Hosta Society gather to discuss the latest information about growing hostas, to tour private gardens featuring hostas, to show off their hostas in competitions, and to buy hostas from vendors or in the fund-raising auction. Of course, we can't do this without eating and having a lot of fun in the process! If you're a first-timer, you'll note the number of people reconnecting with their friends in the hosta world, and we hope you'll make new friends yourself

What can you tell me about the garden tours?

The garden tours are the centerpiece of any convention. The local hosts select, and groom, the best hosta gardens in the area, to show off to national and international visitors. While some conventions use a self-drive format to get to the gardens, we feel that motor coach tours were appropriate for our convention. On Friday we'll visit four gardens, and will visit three more on Saturday. Each tour is about 7 hours, and you'll have time to relax, eat, and chat on the trips between stops, without having to worry about our traffic! If you want to tour optional private and public gardens on your own, either before or after the main convention, we can help you prepare an itinerary.

What part of the convention is open to the public?

The public can visit the Hosta Show rooms after judging is complete, with hours shown on the schedule page. Of course you don't have to be a convention attendee to enter the hosta show. If you want to know more about hosta shows, try this page at our local society's website. Vending rooms will be open to the public during the posted hours on Friday and Saturday. Private gardens on the tours are for convention registrants only, as are the major meals. We are offering a "hosta widow(er)" partial registration with limited access to convention events. For that person who wants to see Philadelphia but not attend the talks or visit the private gardens. Contact the convention if you would like a press pass for any events.

Do I need to be a hosta society member?

No, the convention is open to any and all.

Should I go to Longwood Gardens?

Absolutely! Longwood is the crown jewel of the area's many outstanding public gardens. If you joing our Thursday trip there, you'll be able to see the Main Fountain Gardens evening display, with lights and music you simply can't believe. We'll take you there by bus and provide you with group rate admission (included in the package cost), which is a great deal. The visit to Longwood willl be what makes this convention the most special of all.

What about your logo?

We LOVE hostas, and we LOVE Philadelphia. Visit our LOVE page to read more about the logo design. You'll be seeing it on some of the "swag bag" presents you get when you check in, and on embroidered shirts we'll be offering for sale.

Is there a convention gift plant?

You bet there is! Local hybridizer Charlie Seaver offers us a volcano-sized hosta called 'The Big Five-oh', named in honor of the 50th Annivesary of the American Hosta Society. Every registrant receives one; they were very big already when they went to sleep this fall, so leave extra room in your car for taking it home!

Is this a business meeting? Are there awards, votes, etc.?

Yes, the convention generally includes a brief business meeting, with election of officers as needed. The Board will meet separately before the main meeting starts, so should keep the group "business" time to a minimum. The convention is the time, though to recognize the major award winners for each year. There are smaller awards (Best Newsletter, best journal photographs, etc.), and three big awards:
The Benedict Garden Award, given to a chosen hosta voted on by qualified judges (accepted by the hybridizer, when possible), The Eunice Fisher Award, given to a hybridizer (who recognizes a favorite hosta), and The Alex J. Summers Distinguished Merit Award, given in recognition of outstanding service to the AHS. The winner also chooses a hosta of merit.

Will I get to buy hostas?

Of course! We have a room full of vendors selling hostas along with other plants and garden ornaments. The vendors will bring top-quality plants, some of which might not be available in their online catalogs. The convention auction serves as a major fund-raiser for the American Hosta Society, and is often the first place that new and unusual plants are offered for sale. A few special plants are likely to break the $1000 barrier, but many interesting plants can be had for $50 or less. Remember, it is a fund-raiser!

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