At the first meeting of the year self-confessed "Hostaholic" June Colley entertained members with a superb Audio-Visual presentation of her trips to Japan in search of the origin of many of the hostas that she grows in her Lindford garden. Ably assisted by her partner, John Baker, we were treated to a programme, in four parts, of the trips June made in 2012, 2016 and 2017. Devised for the American Hosta Society, and to be shown there later in the year, June and John kindly worked hard to complete the AV in time for the January meeting.

Japan is a very large country comprising of many islands and it seemed that June has visited a great many of them, not only admiring public gardens but also looking for hostas growing in the wild. Having made friends with some Japanese hosta enthusiasts she was able to explore many of the habitats of her favourite plant. Of particular interest was her meeting with a gentleman, aged 100 years, who had a great many books of pictures and information of all of the hostas he had collected and also bred over the years. We saw the beautiful countryside of Japan, including Mount Fuji, as June travelled with her companions on the hunt for the home of the hostas. Some were difficult to find but others grew in great abundance; in one place they formed an enormous "wall" growing on a bank by the side of the road.

We also saw how lovely the hosta can be in flower; from the usual single purple flower we all know to a beautiful yellow, a double white and a white-edged delicately in purple. Most astounding of all though was the fact that in nearly all of the pictures we saw there was hardly any slug or snail damage. Are there no Slugs or snails in Japan, we wondered?! It would seem that many of the pictures were taken early in the year before they could get busy, although June said that the snails there were quite small and she thought that the slugs would not survive the cold winters of Japan.

The audience assured June and John that their American audience would enjoy the presentation as much as they had, and thanked them for allowing them to see it first.

The March meeting on the 15 March is entitled "Future Developments in Horticulture to Deal with Climate Change" with Ray Broughton, no doubt giving us all something to think about.

Updated 4 March, 2018