Home & Garden

Think of it as Herb Day for the shade

“Hostapalooza was born when we were trying to get Lee Coates to come and speak to our club,” Dana Smyser of the Wichita Hosta Society says. Lee Coates is a self-described semi-retired plant geek, writer, speaker and purveyor of fine Ozarkian humor.

According to Smyser, Coates said, "Why don't you get a few more people to come and we'll make it a party!"

The party will be from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 26 at the Extension Center at 21st and Ridge Road. Admission will be free.

“We set it up like Herb Day, but we're only using half the 4-H Hall for the first outing,” Smyser says. “We tried to pick vendors that people don't see everywhere.” There will also be breakfast for sale and speakers, including Coates and Rob Mortko, “The Hosta Guy” from Olathe.

The event gives the hosta club a way to reach out in the absence of the Wichita Garden Show that closed last year, Smyser said.

Here is the speakers schedule:

•  8:15 a.m.: Ferns – Perfect Companions for Hostas, by Wichita grower Duane Petersen

•  9 a.m.: Papercrete and Miniature Landscapes, by Lee Coates of Highlandville, Mo.

•  10 a.m.: Hypertufa and Keith's Amazing Stands by Keith Wheeler of Kansas City, Kan.

•  11 a.m.: Japanese Maples, by Lee Coates

•  Noon: Cool Hostas for a Hot Summer, by Rob Mortko of Made in the Shade Gardens in Olathe.

The Wichita Hosta Society will sell hard-to-find hostas, and there will be shade and hosta companion plants and caladium plants for sale, along with Joann Ryan’s Metal Mamas garden sculptures, a birdhouse vendor with a twist, mosaic pots, and fairy garden components.