Hideko Gowen

Bob Olson, a member of the Minnesota Hosta Society

“She (Hideko Gowen) had a gift — a green thumb and the eye of an artist.”

(6-25-19) Hideko Gowen passed away on February 28th at the age of 80 after battling cancer,she is one of those special people who have created what we are now able to enjoy in the hosta world today.

The Hosta Registry includes more than a dozen cultivars that she originated or registered, including Silk Kimono, Cutting Edge and Madame Butterfly.

She was very selective about what plants she would release, recalled friend and fellow hosta fan Ross Johnson.

“One of the big lessons she taught me was, don’t rush headlong to release a plant just to put your name on it. Make sure it’s good. She was a great mentor.”.

Gowen went back to Japan multiple times, including a trip that she organized in 1995 for the Minnesota Hosta Society members to hunt for wild hosta on remote islands and the mountaintops. She is credited with bringing back several key hostas back to the US from those trips.

Olson recalled her generosity-

“If you gave her a plant, she’d come back with two for you.”


Hosta named for her –

‘Hideko Gowen’

This is a self-pollinated seedling of H.Dorothy Benedict‘ which was registered in 1990 by Dr. Ralph (Herb) and Dorothy Benedict of Michigan. It forms a medium size plant with blue-green foliage that has a greenish yellow medial (center) variegation. The center turns to near white by the end of the season.