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Re: sunfarm>MG nursery


Taking plants home is an option I have/am considered/ing. It won't work for most of the nursery members as they all say, oh, no, not me, I don't have room to take care of a dozen plants!

At the extension office we have 15 individual display gardens with groups (usually about 6or7) of MGs responsible for each. We have everything (except pruning shears) we need right there, including a terrific irrigation setup. The MG nursery is considered a garden. We have our sales right there in "the glade".

Long before we established the nursery (that was about 7yrs ago) we had plant sales and those sales continue. The nursery only supplies what are called "Special Selections". The rest of the sale is as you described - divisions from the display gardens, divisions from MGs own gardens, donations from nurseries, plants grown by MGs from seed. One MG who owns her own daylily farm orders in a flat or 2 of hostas which she splits for herself and MGsale, CES reimburses her for the MGhalf.

As in the other gardens, we in the nursery draw up a maintenance schedule so we take turns weeding and watering. It's not difficult.

The reason for possibly closing the nursery is lack of commitment. We started out well, but interest seemed to falter a few years ago. I believed it was my fault as I'm not a really good people person. So I let another MG co-lead. She increased our numbers from 7 to 15 and all we got was less commitment and more arguments. I was still doing the majority of the work. This year we have 3 of the original members, one recruit from last yr and 4 newbies.

Of the first 3, one always quits at the end of April, another (age 70+) does what she can, but is involved in many other projects and lives 30miles from here. I'm the 3rd one. Last yr's recruit lives 50 miles away and has health issues. The 4 newbies say they didn't realize they had signed up for a nursery. (The Hort Ed refers to it as the Propagation Group) One has already quit, one has never shown(she's in Florida and the doctor hasn't ok'd her to travel yet), one is extremely protective of his valuable time and has voice his opinion that he would like to watch videos to gain his volunteer hours, and the last newbie is a rather timid soul, but might have potential.

At our Jan meeting I outlined the duties of which we need people to take responsibility. The weren't surprised by the list, it was sent weeks earlier so they could look it over. I got one person willing to put labels on markers and one person willing to fertilze plants and make repairs. That's it. I'm stuck w everything else including setting up extra propagation lessons for those who thought that's what they signed up for. I will wait until the end of the August, ask for commitment for the following yr, now that they will know more of what each job entails. If I can't get that, it's over.

Since we have such a nice nursery setup, I might consider still bringing in a few flats and just working it by myself, we'll see when the time comes. To see pictures of the nursery:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/kmrsy/sets/72157601052894614/
or   http://tinyurl.com/4wgm3j

except that we are giving up the big, out-in-the-open daylily bed after we dig it out. This is being done to reduce the nursery to a more manageable size.

Kitty
neIN, Zone 5
----- Original Message ----- From: "DP" <pulis@mindspring.com>
To: <gardenchat@hort.net>
Sent: Saturday, April 12, 2008 9:19 AM
Subject: Re: [CHAT] sunfarm


It would be a shame to have to close the nursery. I know you've put your life into it.

We do things a little differently with our MGs, and it seems to work well. We'll do a group order for some things, plugs or twos mostly, and then each participating MG takes them home, pots them as necessary, and grows them on. Some MGs go to other MGs homes to dig and divide in the late summer/early fall and take them home to tend them. Others grow from cuttings or seeds.

Then we have a staging area a couple of days before the plant sale so that they can be organized and priced, and another crew carries them to the fairgrounds, where the sale is held. I think it works because people don't have to drop their lives to go and water, the plants are right there. When somebody is going on vacation or is under the weather, they can call on another MG to water for them for a short time.

The other thing it does is to give them "ownership" and a sense of pride when they bring in wonderful-looking plants, and those that miss the mark one year are certain to do better next year - except for one MG who dropped out. I think she just wanted to get cheap plants for herself, and didn't give a rip about the volunteer commitment. Fortunately, there aren't many of those.

Some MGs don't grow plants, but help answering questions, loading cars, pricing, or doing some of the dozens of other chores that make it a success. Now, if the City would just cooperate! Twice in a row they've cancelled the giant fleamarket that we piggy-back onto. They still let us use the ground, but traffic is way down after the news reports the cancellation.

d




----- Original Message ----- From: "Kitty" <kmrsy@comcast.net>
To: <gardenchat@hort.net>
Sent: Saturday, April 12, 2008 8:44 AM
Subject: Re: [CHAT] sunfarm


Yes, he tried to push his Hellebores on me. I could use some, but not that many, and from the first flat of stuff he sent (half of which went into our Woodland garden, 1/4 died, 1/8 I was able to sell, and 1/8 I have grown on) I wasn't all that impressed with his plants.

Anyway, I have had to substantially reduce the size of the MG nursery, so eliminating that 100 plant order actually helps me out. I'm hoping I don't have to close the nursery, but it could come to that. This season will tell.

Kitty
neIN, Zone 5
----- Original Message ----- From: "DP" <pulis@mindspring.com>
To: <gardenchat@hort.net>
Sent: Saturday, April 12, 2008 8:14 AM
Subject: Re: [CHAT] sunfarm


My MGs learned to only order when he's doing one of his "overstock" sales. The usual order is placed and shipped in the fall for growing on for the spring sale. No problems so far, though the 2" Hellebores that I got weren't all that well-rooted. Mine were the leftovers, however, because I was out of town when the rest of the group picked up theirs. I assume that the other MGs picked by size.

I agree, he's a fast talker, both on the phone and in person. I hate to talk on the phone, so several times I haven't bothered to call him back. He's got email and a website. He can use it. There are other suppliers.

d

----- Original Message ----- From: "Kitty" <kmrsy@comcast.net>
To: <gardenchat@hort.net>
Sent: Friday, April 11, 2008 7:39 PM
Subject: Re: [CHAT] sunfarm


I figured Gene would have heard of him and I know Chris had thought of purchasing plants from him but hadn't gotten around to it. It took me a few years to get him to sell to me and then it all fell apart.

Barry Glick runs Sunfarm. His plant list on the internet is impressive, but it is just a facade. He doesn't have those plants. Then he makes a big to-do about whether he'll allow you to buy from him. After you jump through ridiculous hoops, you have to take 100 plants without knowing what you're getting. So he sends mostly odds and ends you don't want, still leading you to believe that someday he'll let you order the good stuff. When he finally says yes, you write the order, THEN he tells you, he doesn't have those plants. NOW he sends you a list of what he does have, only the real list is actually in Barry's head (his words) and that doesn't match up to what he really has. But you write a revised order selected from his new list and send it months ahead to secure your plants.

Hmmmm.....haven't received a confirmation...email Barry. He knows he has your order somewhere, but he's working 90 hour weeks and can't find anything on his desk, and blah blah blah. E-send a copy of order. He doesn't have 1/2 the items and 1/2 of the other 1/2 is twice the $ he quoted before. He talks fast, very fast, trying to get you to take this and that that he's overstocked with, items you don't want. And, of course, it's too late for him to ship when you need them anyway.

What a nightmare.  Cancelled the order.

Kitty
neIN, Zone 5
----- Original Message ----- From: "DP" <pulis@mindspring.com>
To: <gardenchat@hort.net>
Sent: Friday, April 11, 2008 8:52 AM
Subject: Re: [CHAT] sunfarm


What happened?

d

----- Original Message ----- From: "Kitty" <kmrsy@comcast.net>
To: <gardenchat@hort.net>
Sent: Friday, April 11, 2008 7:27 AM
Subject: [CHAT] sunfarm


Chris, you are so lucky you didn't order from Sunfarm. Gene, did you ever order from him?

Kitty
neIN, Zone 5

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