Don and Pam Rawson live in the country on four partially-wooded acres just north of Grand Rapids, Michigan. Together, they thoroughly enjoy flower gardening and landscaping. They grow many varieties of tall bearded irises and a few hundred hostas. They also have about 100 varieties of daylilies and collect rare and unusual woodland plants.
For the Rawsons, their interest in hostas began many years ago at their first home where they had a ring of ‘Lancifolia’ around a tree in their lawn. Then, at some point in the late 1980’s, Don and Pam visited the Royal Botanical Gardens in Hamilton, Ontario and saw a couple other varieties of hostas. To make a long story short, they were soon hooked on hostas and became official “hostaholics”.
Today, the Rawson garden features 400+ hosta cultivars including many of the most common varieties and a few one-of-a-kind plants. Every summer, Don and Pam visit other gardens out-of-state and bring back a few more hostas to add to their collection. They grow many of their own hybrids and sports as well. Don does a little hybridizing on the side, growing a few thousand hosta seedings each year. The most popular hosta origination introduced by the Rawsons is ‘Rhino Hide’, which has very thick leaf substance. They have also recently introduced ‘Gabriel’s Wing’, an attractive sport of ‘Empress Wu’ with creamy white margins.
The Rawson landscape is well-known for the multitude of large boulders which Don and Pam, along with their two sons, have hauled in from the local countryside – some weighing over 16,000 pounds and 9 ft. across. Don estimates that the total mass of rocks hauled in and placed throughout the yard probably weighs over 1,000 tons. They have collected rock specimens from farm fields, fence rows, roadway right-of-ways, and construction sites. In addition, they have brought many unusual and beautiful stones and boulders from other far away States including Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, and Georgia, as well as several locations throughout Canada. With a heavy-duty trailer in tow, they thoroughly enjoy taking rock hunting trips to old quarries and landscape suppliers, when possible.
It is no surprise that visitors to the Rawson garden often find themselves gazing at rock specimens rather than looking at hostas and flowers. A sidewalk that winds between the boulders provides access to some of the flowerbeds and eventually leads to a woodchip trail along the lake which the property overlooks.
The Rawsons are excited that you have the opportunity to visit and look forward to showing you through their garden and rock collection. They feel that it would be their privilege to do so!