Heartland Hosta and Shade Plant Society
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
Click here for directions
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.