Leola Fraim, a charter member of the Waltham Garden Club, was well known for her expertise and knowledge of horticulture. During the 1940s and 1950s, Leola won many state and regional blue ribbons and awards, including the Governor’s Revere Bowl.
Leola even traveled to South America to study tropical plants and brought Waltham into the gardening spotlight. As a well-known propagator of daylilies, she achieved national prominence and is mentioned in the Time-Life Gardening Book series.
Leola was recognized for her work by the American Hemerocallis Society with many awards and in 1985 a variety of daylily was named in her honor. The ‘Leola Fraim’ daylily is creamy yellow with ruffled petal edges. The flower has been described as looking like a colossal daffodil.
Leola shared her knowledge of gardening with a friend, Mildred Seaver, who had some garden trouble spots. Leola recommended planting Hosta plants and donated some seeds. Mildred eventually became known as the "Queen of Hostas." Mildred’s son named a Hosta variety in Leola’s honor in 1986, which won the American Hosta Society’s prestigious President’s Exhibitor Trophy in 1992. The ‘Leola Fraim’ Hosta is green with creamy white margins and has rippled leaves, with pale lavender flowers. It is considered one of the best white-edged Hosta plants.
In 2007, the Waltham Garden Club donated 65 of these durable, yet pretty, plants to the City of Waltham in honor of our 65th anniversary. As part of the planting project, a lovely old fountain was uncovered at the corner of Main and Moody Streets on Waltham Common. The Hostas were planted in the fountain’s base and have prospered there ever since. Be sure to look for these beauties in the late spring and summer months whenever you walk by that corner.
Gardening tip – The Leola Fraim hosta and daylily are hardy for our zone. Many Waltham Garden Club members have the Leola Fraim Hosta and can attest it is a trooper and is stunning in the garden.
Submitted by Alexis Shaw (Past President, Waltham Garden Club, and Past East Middlesex Director, Garden Club Federation of Massachusetts)