Rob and Sheri Mortko


Many of us have heard of tissue culture and may even appreciate that most new hosta cultivars are propagated via TC.  But what is tissue culture and how does it really work?  Bob Mortko’s background in chemistry and engineering coupled with his interest in hostas kindled a longtime curiosity in tissue culture.  Rob’s recent retirement from his engineering career has offered him the opportunity to start-up his own tissue culture lab where he has had to address many of these same questions.  The presentation will include a sometimes humorous and oftentimes humbling behind the scenes look at what goes on in a hosta TC lab.


Rob Mortko, aka “The Hosta Guy”, and his wife Sheri own and operate Made in the Shade Gardens in Olathe, Kansas near Kansas City.  In addition to offering over 400 cultivars for sale locally and through internet sales, the garden also includes a tissue culture lab that Rob developed and operates.
Rob is also very active in The American Hosta Society where he first served on the Board of Directors as Vice President – Genus Hosta.  In that job, he initiated the ongoing scientific study on methods of control of nematodes.  Presently, he serves as Vice President – Member Services.  He is a regular contributor to The Hosta Journal and presently writes the “Hot Hostas” column that highlights newer hostas achieving star status in terms of popularity. He also serves as the Executive Secretary of the American Hosta Growers Association.  If all of that is not enough, he is an accomplished Master Gardener in his home area. 
Rob is a superb speaker and presents programs on a variety of subjects involving hostas all over the country each year.  We are indeed fortunate to have him as our speaker on September 20.  In addition to talking about his experiences in developing and running a TC lab, he will also be prepared to answer any questions we may have about the initial findings from the foliar nematode study and, of course, any other questions we might have about hostas.  He might even tell us what the next “Hot Hostas” might be!