In the Country Garden & Gifts, in rural Independence, Iowa, is hosting its Hosta and Dessert Social on Saturday, July 27, 2019. (photo, courtesy Josh Spece)

INDEPENDENCE, Iowa — The Spece family has held their Hosta and Dessert Social for nearly 15 years, but the event later this month offers up a different type of treat.

Bob Solberg, left, and Josh Spece (photo, courtesy Josh Spece)

“We’ve never brought in a famous speaker before,” said Josh Spece, co-owner of In the Country Garden & Gifts, in rural Independence, Iowa. “This is definitely going to be the biggest one, yet.”

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Spece was referring to guest speaker Bob Solberg, a world renowned master hybridizer and hosta expert.

Solberg will be featured during In the Country’s Hosta and Dessert Social on Saturday, July 27, 2019, starting with a meet and greet from 10 a.m. to noon.

He will address how and why to grow hostas in pots during his discussion at 1 p.m., and also share discoveries from his trip to Japan last summer to study hostas. The social ends at 6 p.m.

For the uninitiated, hostas are the popular foliage plants that thrive in shade and are the number one sellers at the Spece family business.

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Guest speaker Bob Solberg will discuss growing hosta in pots. (photo, courtesy Josh Spece)

In the Country is offering a special prize for the gardener who brings in the largest hosta leaf in a “biggest leaf” contest during the event and will also award prizes for a photo contest held in conjunction with the Hosta and Dessert Social.

Already, Spece has heard from people who plan to come from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Kansas for the day.

The event is free, but there is a cost for those wanting to eat a catered lunch. RSVPs are requested to help in planning numbers for the BBQ lunch.

Spece noted that the desserts vary from year to year, “but they are always yummy,” and rumor has it, there will be hosta-themed treats this year, he added.

To RSVP and for more details on the event, seeĀ In the Country’s website.

For those who can’t attend that day, In the Country Garden & Gifts is open regularly Tuesday through Sunday, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

See photos from the American Hosta Society national convention in Cedar Rapids in 2014.