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Tony Avent speaks on the issues surrounding registration.


A message from Tony Avent  (Tony is not on the AHS e-robin)
------------------------


Dear Dan:

As you know, I have very strong opinions on some of the recent actions
of
the AHS board, especially the issues surrounding registration.  I
normally
try to stay out of society politics, but this time, I feel that the AHS
board crossed the line when it went from promoting and assisting in
registration to the heavy handed approach that is now in place.

The idea of a preferred grower list as proposed in the AHS Journal is
opens the society up to unwanted litigation.  The new position of the
board
on this issue is still confusing, but hopefully this idea has been
dropped.
 To my knowledge two members have consulted legal counsel over this
issue.
This is certainly not in the best interest of any member of the society
to
put the society in this type of financial jeopardy.

Secondly, the banning of non-registered hostas at all AHS events and
publications is in my opinion a bad idea in which the members loose.
Let's
look at recent articles such as the "color wheels".  This article could
not
have been done as completely since many of these plants are not
registered.
 In the garden writeups, certain hostas could not be mentioned.  In the
recent write-up on Paul Aden...many of the hosta names would been
deleted,
as they have not been registered.

The banning of un-registered plants at the auction is also a loose-loose
proposition.  The society looses from a lack of revenues.  I believe
that
this years auction was down about $7,000 from the previous convention,
despite a much higher attendance.  It would have been down much more if
CH
Falstad had not returned to Walters to pick up extra plants when it
appreared the auction would be a disaster...we owe CH many thanks for
this!

Many members spent time digging plants and bringing them to the auction,
only to be turned away as the plants were not registered.  This is not
the
way to treat members of a volunteer society.

Sales of non-registered hostas have been banned at conventions.  It may
sound ludicrous, but how long do you think it will be before nursery
that
you visit during convention tours will also not be able to sell
non-registered hostas?  Does this sound far-fetched?  I have been
assured
that this will not happen, but did these other rules sound absurd as
recent
as a year ago?

There is no question that non-registered hostas in commerce cause
nomenclatural problems.  As one who writes a catalog, I am one of those
most affected by the lack of registrations, not only of hostas but other
plants as well.  I would like to see the society do everything it can to
encourage registration, and assist those that are having difficulty.  We
are strong supporters of registration, but only on a voluntary basis.

In the horticultural world, it is rare even for a tiny fraction of the
cultivars in any particular genus are ever registered.  If one were to
collect the data, I am sure that you would find a greater percentage of
hostas registered to unregistered to be higher than almost any other
group
of plants.  Imagine a world in which all non-registered plant were not
allowed to be sold by name.  There would be no bedding plants sold, as
virtually none are ever registered.  Does the bedding plant industry
consider this a problem.  In size and scale it dwarfs our tiny hosta
industry.

I would hope that the society would stop any tactics that are intended
to
keep non-registered hostas away from members at AHS events.  Despite the
contention that this is for the greater good, I feel that members will
be
the ones to suffer.  As President Wilkins said in the AHS Journal,
volume
30 #1, "Our founder, Alex J. Summers, has said that we are a society of
people, not plants.  It has never been more true than today." No truer
words have ever been written.

As the idea of "pressured registration" and accompanying restrictions is
a
very controversial point, I would ask the board to either drop these
mandates, or make a policy exception and ask for a vote of the
membership
on this issue.  Since the board has made it very clear that they DO care
what the membership thinks and wants to do what is the best for the
majority of the members, here is a great chance to demonstrate their
committment.  President Wilkins has formed a task force to further
examine
this issue, and I have volunteered to help.

Remember that if non-registered hostas are outlawed, then only outlaws
will have non-registered hostas.

Tony Avent
Plant Delights Nursery
@Juniper Level Botanic Gardens
9241 Sauls Road
Raleigh, NC  27603  USA
phone 919 772-4794
fax 919 662-0370
email tony@plantdel.com
website http://www.plantdel.com
USDA zone 7b
minnium winter temperature 0-10 degrees F
maximum summer temperature 100 degrees F




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