Adams’ hosta, a gift for life

Posted July 3, 2013 at 1:17 pm

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This “Gift of Sight” hosta planted by Joy Adams of Monticello was donated to the Iowa Lions Eye Bank to help raise money for their mission and efforts. Adams said the hosta reminded her of cupped hands, giving to others. (Photo by Kim Brooks)

By Kim Brooks, Express Editor

In 2008, Joy Adams of Monticello underwent two cornea transplants. She was losing her eyesight and this was the only form of treatment she said would work.

“In 2008, I was blessed with two cornea transplants at the University of Iowa (surgeon, Dr. Ken Goins), for which I will be forever grateful!” expressed Adams. “I received my sight back so that I could be a caretaker to my husband, see the beauty of each day, walk without my cane and maintain my large hosta gardens!”

It is no secret Adams has a green thumb. If you’ve ever visited her at her home, there are numerous lush gardens all over her property, with many varieties of plants and flowers.

Adams is also a lover of the hosta plant, with too many variations to count. One such hosta plant, which has been named “Gift of Sight,” has a very special meaning for Adams.

This plant, with its cupped leaves gives the impression that someone is giving something away. It also resembles an actual cornea, with white margins on the leaves and slight ripples to the touch.

In 2011, this particular hosta plant was named to the American Hosta Society registry as an official hosta species.

“Almost everyone recognizes the American Hosta Society,” remarked Adams of the honor. She said there are 7,000 hosta species on record, including her own.

In the mid-1990s, Adams was attending a National Hosta Convention where breeders come together and auction off plants. Adams purchased a seedling from that convention and planted it in 1996. Ten years later, that plant turned into something spectacular!

“I thought, ‘Maybe this is something different,’” Adams said of what the hosta she planted turned into. Ten years of growth became the “Gift of Sight” hosta.

In a press release from the Iowa Lions Eye Bank, “In gratefulness for receiving the ‘gift of sight (cornea transplant),’ Adams wanted to honor both of her cornea donors and also thank the Iowa Lions Eye Bank, the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics and the Lions Clubs of Iowa in a very special way. Within her acres of magnificent hosta gardens, she developed and grew a unique seedling hosta plant. This plant was then selected, named and nationally registered with The American Hosta Society as ‘Hosta Gift of Sight.’”

Adams generously donated the original plant to the Iowa Lions Eye Bank. It was originally dedicated to the Iowa Lions Donor Memorial & Healing Garden during the 2010 Annual Spring Dedication Ceremony.

Over the course of the next two years, a nursery laboratory in Illinois skillfully tissue-cultured the original plant and meticulously grew a limited quantity of “Hosta Gift of Sight” plants, now available for purchase only through the Iowa Lions Eye Bank at a cost of $35 each.

Adams sincerely hopes that “this project will help raise funds so that some day, everyone in need of a cornea transplant will receive the gift as I did, and research will find a cure for eye diseases.”

Adams said it’s important that people know they can donate their organs to help so many people. She said her gift not only helps raise money for the Iowa Lions Eye Bank and U of I Hospitals and Clinics, but also reminds others of giving.

“My hosta is getting sold all around the world,” she said of sales reaching near and far.

Adams said the money that is raised for the University hospital goes towards research.

“They are working on so many wonderful things,” she said. “They’re making progress.”

Adams said the “Gift of Sight” hosta was her way of giving back for her eyesight.

“I don’t have millions to donate,” she simply said. “Donating organs benefits so many.”

Adams’ hosta can be purchased for $35 each through the Iowa Lions Eye Bank, 2346 Morman Trek Bank, Suite 1500, Iowa City, IA 52246.

Give someone the “gift” today!