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Article for Newsletter Exchange

The following was submitted to Kevin to be considered for  a Journal
article. It did not make it, so I am posting it here on hosta-open. I hope
that this might enhance the electronic exchange proclaimed by Carol and
Newsletter editors and others are free to use this article for local
newsletters, post on websites, etc.
I can forward this article as a Word 2000 to anyone whom would like it in
that format.

                    Past, Present and Future
                                           Preston Littleton
           Seaford, Delaware

Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves, or we know where we
can find information upon it.   Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)

The hosta world has emulated everyday life by becoming more prolific on the
internet. Many electronic tools have emerged---e-mail robins, websites,
search engines, and auctions, just to name a few. Messages that are sent to
an e-mail robin are automatically broadcast to all robin members
simultaneously on a real-time basis. A website refers to a location on the
web that contains a group of electronic pages devoted to a particular
subject (essentially an electronic magazine). A search engine is a system
that enables users to search the internet for documents that contain
specified keywords. On-line auctions allow individuals to buy and sell items
on a worldwide basis.
Let's begin by taking a look at how two e-mail robins and two websites have

Hosta-open E-mail Robin

The AHS started an email robin in the fall of 1996. When this robin
shutdown, Joanne Pyszczek started an independent robin dedicated to the
genus Hosta. This new robin began in April of 1998 as openhosta at
onelist.com before switching to mallorn.com with the name hosta-open. "Open"
stands for being receptive to all who wish to join and for being tolerant
(not having restrictive and oppressive rules). The 190 current members are
encouraged to discuss a wide range of topics on this "open" forum. Hostas
are the main subject, but fertilizer, disease and other related topics are
bantered about, often with several topics being talked about at the same
time. In addition to the current discussions, a free keyword searchable
archive going back to May 1998 is available at
http://www.mallorn.com/lists/hosta-open/ .
 To join hosta-open send an e-mail to majordomo@mallorn.com with the
message: subscribe hosta-open. If you have any problems subscribing contact
Joanne at jopyz@earthlink.net .

Hostapix E-mail Robin

Being able to correspond on a real-time basis was better than "snail-mail"
BUT some people wanted to also see pictures. Clyde Crockett initiated the
exchange of pictures by sending some of his photos to a group that wanted to
trade digital images of hostas. Each member of this "PIXLIST" group needed
to keep a private list of the addresses of all members. When the group grew
to about 70 members, it became a nightmare for each member to keep this
address list up-to-date. To remedy this situation, Clyde with the assistance
of Bill Nash created the Hostapix e-mail robin. Currently, over 150
individuals exchange photos of hostas, companion plants, gardens scenes,
pests and other interests. Unknown hostas, pests, and diseases are often
quickly identified by other members. With people from the US, England and
Canada contributing photos, hostapix has truly become an international
 You may join hostapix by becoming a member at www.egroups.com (soon to
merge with www.yahoo.com ) , and then selecting the group hostapix.


 Hostapix provides photos on a real-time basis BUT for some the magnitude of
photos was a drawback. This problem was overcome on March 12,1999. After Bob
Axmear and Carol Brashear had exchanged emails about how nice it would be to
have a website for hosta photos, Bob started making the first page for it.
Bob added the photos that he had, then asked others to contribute their
photos. Carol Brashear responded by supplying most of the photos to  get the
site off to a great beginning. To date, over 50 people have contributed
 How large has this site become? There are 4665 files in the library now,
about half are images and the other half are html and other files that glue
the site together. In June 1999 the library had over 500 visitors a day.
 The hostalibrary site has evolved into more than just a library for hosta
photos. The AHS Glossary of Terms, screensavers, hosta links, a hosta
exchange, a forum, and an auction have all been added to the site.
 In fact, Bob Axmear received a President's Award at the Minnesota
Convention for all his efforts. Many thanks also go out to all of the other
contributors to www.hostalibrary.org .


 Several Journals have contained articles about sports written by Jim Hawes.
For "Using an Artist's Palette to Classify Hosta Sports" (THJ Volume 27,
No.1-1996) Jim created 25 "hosta wheels" to keep track of sport origins,
differences and relationships. He expanded this collection to 56 hosta
wheels , which he distributed at the Winter Scientific Meeting in January
1998. In the fall 1998 Journal (THJ Volume29, No.1), the article aptly named
"Hosta Wheels" talks about the formation of a Wheels Committee to keep track
of future sports.
As an offshoot of the committee, Dan Nelson and Preston Littleton designed
and started building www.hostasports.com .  This site lists each group of
related sports according to their leaf center color/ margin color
Hostasports.com contains over 125 groups of sports, the Hosta Leaf Color
Wheel with background and explanation, several articles about sports, and
over 100 links to other sites. These links give visitors the ability to
connect to other sites with just a click of the mouse. The Color Wheel was
included with the hope than in the future a more precise color can be
attributed to each hosta.
 Because new sports are continually being found, everyone is encouraged to
send info about their sports to Dan and Preston.

Other sites

 Many other sites have appeared that enhance our knowledge and enjoyment of
hostas. Even though the American Hosta Society does not currently sponsor an
e-mail robin, it has a website at www.hosta.org . Bernie Diesen and all the
other volunteers have put many hours into building this site.
 For those looking for a "safe forum" to discuss hostas there is the Phoenix
e-mail robin (Phoenix_Hosta_robin@Home.ease.lsoft.com). In order to protect
robin members from undesirable comments and off topic postings, the
listowner has the sole discretion of removing those who don't abide by the
 If you want to visit a site where you can search for hostas according to
name, leaf size, leaf color, when introduced, or who introduced - try
www.giboshi.com  by Tim Hammelman (an AHS life member). Some would say that
Tim's site is like a searchable "Silverbook" on-line.
 Furthermore, many local societies are represented electronically. Most
local clubs have at least one officer with an e-mail address listed in the
THJ Yearbook 2000. Several locals even have websites. Two electronic pages
that list the local society websites can be found at
http://hometown.aol.com/potomacgiboshi/page17.html (at Potomac Hosta Club's
website) and http://www.hostasports.com/links_societies.htm (Society Links
page of HostaSports.com).
 Can you buy hostas on-line? Certainly! Many nurseries offer on-line
ordering, some may even have a few limited supply plants available only
on-line. Quick response to questions has been the norm both before and after
ordering.  In the last Journal (Volume 31 No.1) over half of the advertisers
listed an e-mail address and/or a website. (Some of the other advertisers
have an internet presence even though no electronic address was listed.)
 Many sites including most in this article provide a multitude of links -
take a look! And ask your friends for sites that they enjoy!

Other options

 Search engines and auctions are two other tools that e-hostaphiles use to
expand their hosta horizons.
 Although search engines will deliver a wealth of information, careful
selection of keywords will lead to more pertinent information. For example,
the results of using one search engine gave the following results:

   Keyword search  returns  Number of Sites
   Disease        898,700
   Plant Disease          93,200
   Plant virus          30,000
   Plant fungus          13,900
   Sclerotium Rolfsii            1100

 Since each search engine only explores part of the internet, use of
multiple search engines is recommended to insure that all sites are located.

 If the attendance at the National Convention Auction was any indicator,
auctions are popular. Auctions can also be found on-line, with www.ebay.com
being the most famous. These on-line auctions work very similar to live
auctions but have two major differences: on-line auctions last several days
and the merchandise from on-line auctions obviously must be mailed. For the
protection of sellers and buyers, ebay offers a voluntary "Feedback Forum"
where comments about a persons business practices may be made.  This
feedback determines a buyer's/ seller's "reputation" rating.

Look into the Future

What will the future bring for E-Hostas? My guess is that within 5 years,
the Awards Ceremony at the National Convention may be broadcast live on the
internet and within 10 years videos of the Convention Tour Gardens will be
No computer! Don't fret, most public libraries have computers available.
There is a wealth of information on-line: Use it!!!


E-mails exchanged with various people

Hawes, J. "Clans of Sporting Clones", THJ 1995 Volume 26 No. 2, p83-85
                "Using an Artist's Palette to Classify Hosta Sports", THJ
1996 Volume 27 No.1, p87-94

Meyer, W. "Inventing the Wheel", THJ 2000 Volume 31 No. 1, p53-55

Micheletti, T. "Hosta Wheels", THJ 1998 Volume 29 No.1, p94

Numerous websites

Walek, K. Editors note to "Excerpts from Hosta E-Mail Robins", THJ Volume
1998 29 No.1, p42

Preston Littleton ( plittleton@ce.net )
Seaford DE
zone 7

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