Karl Gercens  ~  Longwood Gardens

Thursday, June 20                       Salon E

11:00 am – 12:00 pm

In Search of the Ultimate Hosta Haven

Karl Gercens has traveled the world capturing inspiration from 32 countries and over 3000 gardens seeking the best in plantsmanship and design. Let’s see what regions of the United States are hotspots for Hosta hunters! We’ll explore not only the places which use hostas to great effect, but nearby gardens that offer a complementary experience to provide a week’s worth of garden exploration when you visit.

Karl Gercens is the Conservatory Manager at Longwood Gardens and has been influencing the glasshouse displays there for half his life. Originally from Mississippi, Karl has trained at Walt Disney World in Florida and Filoli Estate in California before settling down in the Philadelphia region, aptly named America’s Garden Capital. Karl lectures around the country and teaches classes locally. His ultimate goal is to inspire others to find beauty and inspiration in your own backyard or someone else’s!

Chuck Doughty  ~  Cochato Nursery

Saturday, June 22                         Seminar

3:00 – 4:00 pm

“Sounds Shady To Me”

Companion Plants: Using companion plants to add interest and biodiversity to your hosta garden. 

This presentation by Chuck Doughty will begin with a brief explanation of the Cochato display gardens, the original design concepts and the everchanging ideas exhibiting perennials, natives, non-natives, trees and shrubs.  Hosta varieties amongst a varied assortment of companion plants, are the focus of the design.  Garden is framed and buttressed by stone, hardscapes starting from native boulders left behind by the Ice Age to stone outcroppings. The presentation will use images taken in the Cochato Nursery Display garden.

Cochato Nursery located on Rt. 37 in Holbrook is owned by Chuck Doughty and Sue DuBrava.  In the early 1990’s they purchased 5 acres of land to develop a nursery.  This true jewel has been written up in many gardening magazines and books as a “must-see” destination.  Located behind the farmhouse home on North Franklin Street is a beautiful display garden with a wisteria covered pergola, a koi pond, waterfall and many plant specimens.  One can visualize these unique trees, shrubs and perennials in their own garden.

Chuck recently retired from Northeastern University where he developed an Arboretum at the main campus in Boston.  Chuck is also a member of the Horticultural Club of Boston, as well as the American Hosta Society, The New England Hosta Society, The North American Rock Garden Society and American Conifer Society.  Being an avid photographer, he has traveled to the Rio Negro in the Amazon 9 times, Cuba twice, to Iceland and Sicily.

Chuck and Sue both have degrees in horticulture and a love for rare and unique plants.

Paul Cook – Master Gardener & Self-proclaimed Plant Addict

Friday, June 21

During the Garden Tour at Cochato Nursery

In 2023, after 32 years as a Pharmacist, Paul Cook made the leap to his lifelong dream of working with plants by starting his own container gardening and design business: TANGLED ROOTS.

Container design allows for endless creativity through both plant choices and the infinite variety of container choices. Not sure where to start? Paul recommends considering small shrubs, tropicals, perennials (thinking Hostas yet?), annuals, and even houseplants! Then select a suitable container. If you only have a few plants, consider a flower pot or a window box. Want a really unique display? How about using a wooden wine crate, or an old bucket or watering can. Or, what about that old Easter basket you have tucked away – or even an old boot that’s no longer serviceable. Then, of course, there’s the old birdbath tucked away behind your shed.

The key is to get creative and put together something that is both beautiful and uniquely yours.

Bring your imagination and join Paul in 2024 at the AHS National Convention to explore some unique ways to incorporate more Hostas into your gardens, container plantings or those barren areas around your property.

Marie Chieppo

Friday, June 21                       Seminar

3:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Plastic Plant Pots and the Horticulture Industry: Finding Sustainable Solutions

Marie has done extensive research regarding the overwhelming waste of plastic plant pots finding that the majority of them wind up being disposed of in landfills. Marie is “an environmental advocate who is looking for answers at a time when plastic pollution is front and center” and wants to find solutions to end this waste that “poses dangers to wildlife, people and our waterways as they degrade”.


As a member of the Healthy Pots Healthy Planet (HPHP) initiative, Marie hopes to “raise awareness of the health concerns relating to petroleum-based plastic pots as well as seek the public’s support for sustainable materials”.

See more about this very important issue at www.sustainableplantpots.org