| Prior to "The
Cross", variegated hostas were solely sports or flimsy-substanced
seedlings from the old Frances Williams sport 'Beatrice'. To make
"The Cross", he used one of the latter and 'Frances Williams'
(the plant) and from the resulting seedlings he selected 'Breeder's
Choice', 'Christmas Tree', 'William Lachman', and 'Mildred Seaver'. Hostas
were never the same after that.
Kevin was friends with many
of the well-known names in hostas during the 1980's, and he shared some of
his plants with the Lachmans, Mildred Seaver, Paul Aden, and even Herb
Benedict. Their portfolios show just how huge an impact Kevin's cross had
as most (excluding Benedict) of their variegated introductions from that
point on got their variegation from Kevin's shared seedlings. Many of
these plants remain as staples today and are likely future winners of the
AHS Benedict Medal. Streaked plants of each of the Big Four are still used
today by many hybridizers for their excellent size, substance, and
Kevin's brief but dazzling
turn at hosta hybridizing included 33 registered hostas, among them such
treasures as 'Delta Dawn', 'Formal Attire', 'Sunshine Glory', 'Summer
Fragrance', 'Flower Power', and 'Tijuana Brass'. He also was an AHS Judge
and wrote a number of articles for The Hosta Journal.
All too soon, his career with the
USDA took him to the Deep South, where the climate made hosta hybridizing
virtually impossible. He then turned his hand to other genera and had
great success with Tradescantia, Louisiana Iris, and Sempervivum. His work
with the USDA is in the area of weed science, a vital part of the farming
industry. He has produced over 160 research articles in his career and was
chosen the Mid-South USDA Scientist of the Year. He was also president of
the Society for Louisiana Iris and is an accomplished classical musician.
Here at First Look, we have
honored Kevin's contributions to the development of the genus Hosta by
establishing in 2001 the Kevin Vaughn Award, which is given to the entered
sport that is chosen as Best Overall by the AHS Judges.