CIHS History

1989 to 2001

During the 1980's, several friends (Mary Pratt, Janis Lee, Nancy Crawford, and Tracy Heuermann) living in the Peoria, Illinois area began to buy, divide, and share hosta plants. They loved getting together and talking about and admiring each other's gardens and hosta beds. During the summer of 1988, Nancy Crawford and her mother, Kay Swain, attended the Midwest Regional Hosta Society Annual Convention in St. Louis. While at the meeting, Nancy volunteered to host the 1991 convention in Peoria. When she returned home and shared that news with her friends, they were excited by the possibility, but quite anxious at the same time, since there was no club or organization in place to take on such a challenge.

With the obligation to host a large number of Hosta lovers from throughout the Midwest looming on the distant horizon, Mary and her friends decided they should form a club to which they would invite others to join them in learning about, trading, and discussing the genus Hosta (often know as The Friendship Plant because of its propensity for being shared among friends). In January 1989, invitations were sent to twenty-one individuals offering the opportunity to become founding members of the Central Illinois Hosta Society (CIHS). The inital meeting  (see meeting minutes below) was held on February 13, 1989 at Mary Pratt's house. Following that first meeting, additional invitations were sent to family and friends around central Illinois. As a result of that recruiting effort, there were twenty-seven founding members of the fledgling hosta club.

During the second official meeting in March 1989, the CIHS Constitution and By-laws were written and sent to the American Hosta Society for approval.

During the Heart of Illinois Fair in July 1989, CIHS had its first official exhibit, which was viewed by many with a great deal of curiosity and admiration.

The CIHS started with only afternoon meetings, but decided in August 1989 to add a monthly evening meeting. Then in August 1990, the Club decided to switch to exclusively holding evening meetings once a month from March through October.

The Midwest Regional Hosta Society's annual meeting, tour, and auction were held at Jumer's Castle Lodge in Peoria on June 22, 1991. After a morning business meeting, buses took the attendees to the Illinois Central College gardens and then to numerous gardens belonging to CIHS members. An afternoon plant auction was followed by a pork roast at the Heuermanns' home - where Mark Zillis was the guest speaker.

In July 1992, CIHS formally requested to host the 1998 American Hosta Society (AHS) National Convention convention in Peoria. In asking to be considered as the host, the request stated, "Although our group is relatively new having been founded in 1989, we now have over 100 members and are still growing. Last year, we had the pleasure of hosting the Midwest Regional Hosta Society's summer meeting, which was attended by 145 persons. Dr. Robert C. Olson, AHS President, was among those in attendance, and I am confident he will confirm the enthusiasm of our group and demonstrated ability to organize and conduct a successful convention. We are anxiously awaiting a favorable response regarding the 1998 convention." This request resulted in Peoria being selected to host the AHS convention from June 25-27, 1998.

In preparation for this national event, the CIHS put together a team of committee members who worked together and prepared a highly successful and well-received event. In addition to getting to host the AHS 1998 National Convention, many of the CIHS club members (Kathy and Rich Hornbaker; Beth and Sue Arnold; David, Marsha, and Trish Conner; Debbie Dietrich; Kay Dye; Lee and Mary Jo Hammond; Kay and Dick Harrison; Vic and Tracy Heuermann; Illinois Central College Arboretum (Glenn Herold); Janis and David Lee; Cindy and Clarence Nance) had their gardens featured as Host Gardens in The Hosta Journal (Volume 20 Number 2) that summer.

The CIHS again played host to a Midwest Regional Hosta Society Convention at the Peoria Holiday Inn City Centre from July 5-8, 2001.

2002 to Present

More to come.....

Past Presidents

Initial Meeting Minutes

CIHS Founding Meeting.pdf