The Russ O’Harra Hosta Society is an educational society open to all those interested in the genus Hosta. Its purpose is to promote the growing and enjoyment of hostas including their use in landscape design and the cultivation and development of new cultivars. The goals of the Society shall be in keeping with those of the American Hosta Society.
Our society is named for Russ O’Harra. Most of us do not need any introduction to either the man or his garden. Russ was retired as garden editor of Better Homes and Gardens. He had an early introduction to the species ‘Hosta’ by his mother in Kansas. In his garden there were no water features and few changes in grade, yet it oozed with personality, class, and above all, a love of plants.
Russ O’Harra was our most prominent central Iowa hosta enthusiast and hybridizer. He once said that he never met a hosta that he did not like. There are approximately 34 cultivars that Russ has to his credit.
In 1987, Russ and his garden hosted the Midwest Regional Hosta Society. The Midwestern hosta lovers had plenty to look at even when they were just glancing at the cracks in the driveway.
“Oh, those are nothing special. Just some seeds that washed in there,” he said, casually examining some tiny hostas grown amid the concrete. Then, true hosta fan that he was, he started nudging at one with the toe of his shoe and wound up remarking, “That one looks kind of interesting.”
The finishing touches to his garden were the annuals, summer bulbs and container plants placed each year by Russ. As Rosanne O’Harra once commented, “It is so Russ.”