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Iowa Breeder Garden

The Iowa Hosta Collection includes some of the hostas bred by Iowans.  The original collection began with the procurement of Russ O’Harra selections with the establishment of the collection by the Russ O’Harra Hosta Society in 1994. Russ O’Harra was one of Iowa’s most prominent hosta hybridizers with approximately 34 cultivars credited to his breeding program. Orginally located at the entrance to the Shade Garden, the planting was moved to the pergola on the north side of the Hughes Education Center in 2002.

As the Russ O’Harra Collection grew at the Iowa Arboretum, so did the need for space to be able to include the introductions of other notable hosta hybridizers from Iowa. The pergola was therefore extended as an Eagle Scout Project in 2015 by Bjorn Iverson of Troop 196. The newly expanded pergola provided the perfect opportunity to add other Iowa hybridizer selections to the grounds. In 2018 a number of additional Iowa hybridized hosta cultivars were donated. Cultivars from Greg Johnson formerly of Marshalltown, Jim Schwarz of Dubuque, the late Gretchen Harshbarger of Iowa City, and Frank Riehl, also of Iowa City are currently featured in the collection.

Accession #180022 (Hosta ‘Paul’s Glory’) is not an Iowa breeder collection hosta. It was added to this collection in 2018 to honor Herman Koptizke, a late board member and avid supporter of the Iowa Arboretum. Herman was an active member of the Russ O’Harra Hosta Society and an admitted hosta enthusiast. It is for Herman’s devotion to the Arboretum and his love of hostas that a memorial sculpture and plant replica of one of his favorite hostas, ‘Paul’s Glory’, is on display in this collection. The sculpture was created by Virginia copper work artist Anne Jordan and funded by memorial contributions in honor of Herman.

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