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Re: A moral question

  • Subject: Re: A moral question
  • From: "Bill Meyer" <njhosta@hotmail.com>
  • Date: Thu, 18 Mar 2004 00:25:29 -0500

Hi Dan,
       Funny thing is I heard from some privately that I was too optimistic
in saying that I thought things were changing with regard to business
dealings for the hybridizers. My opinion that I've stated here is that
things seem to be improving, and I attributed it to more open business
dealings and discussion about them. I'll stick with that, and hope I'm not
breeding discontent either way. I meant that in the past more seemed to have
been mistreated than not. I think that was clear. I think there is less
happening now. I do feel optimistic, and I hope I'm right.
       I think the best ways to make some profit from our plants is still
discussed quite a bit. Of course the main concern remains whether a nursery
gets one and puts it into TC without giving us anything in return
royalty-wise. The nurseries seem to be doing much less of this kind of thing
these days and I maintain that the climate seems to be noticeably more
honest now. I see improvement, not a worsening situation. Hans Hansen
voluntarily sent Mildred a royalty when he last TCed 'Spilt Milk'. If that's
not a good sign, what is? I actually thought it was improved enough that it
could be discussed without everybody heading for their shotguns.
       As for suggesting there is big money at stake, I believe the numbers
I talked about were in the $500 - $3000 range, which is appropriate, I think
for plants that are not mass-market types. That was why $5000 or so for a
patent seemed pointless. That much can be made if somebody else doesn't
start setting up competition, selling your own plant for less than you are.
       With the TC destroying the value thing, yes, I did mean the monetary
value. It does do that. Websters again -- #2
1val.ue \"val-y|\ n 1 : a fair return or equivalent in money, goods, or
services for something exchanged 2 : the monetary worth of a thing; also :
relative worth, utility, or importance <nothing of ~ to say>

      This is really critical for the various societies whose operating
revenues depend largely on auctions. This was becoming a real concern for a
while there as auction revenues were dropping rapidly each year. When 'My
Child Insook' brought in $4100 the total AHS auction proceeds were around
$27,000 that year. They've had more than one year since with total proceeds
under $10,000, and no single plants over $1000. 'My Child Insook' could have
done well for a few years, but somebody TCed it right away, so that was the
end of its high value for the auctions. Of course private sales follow the
same rules. My talking about high-end plants losing their value is mostly
the result of my working with the auctions. It's those plants that are a big
part of keeping the societies running. How long they hold their value is
really no more than how long they can go without somebody TCing them. Once
they hit the lab, they won't bring in much for auctions anymore. Likewise
for hybridizers selling their own plants. I don't expect to have enough to
buy a Ferrari someday, but I don't think they should stop making them
because I can't afford one. I think having a few really high-end plants out
there is a positive thing for everyone. They generate more interest in
hostas if nothing else. Give us all something to talk about.

       I think the market is starting to stabilize some now, getting over
the onslaught of TC. There are enough new plants becoming available to fill
all the different market niches. There's still no way to tell how quickly a
plant will hold that high OS value (as you mentioned about before), but it
was starting to seem like once the last Benedict plants and a few others
were down in the $40 range that the auctions might never again see a plant
go over $1000.  I think this is a good trend, and should make the whole
scene much more interesting. Optimism again there. I'm in favor of a wide
and varied marketplace. I really don't think every plant should be available
for $12 as Bob Solberg once discussed in a talk. That may be their real
value in bottom line terms, but there is more to a plant than that.

                                             ......Bill Meyer

> Bill
> I believe as a spokesperson for the hybridizers you are doing them a
> disservice.
> The correct steps to profit from hosta hybridizing are well known among
> crowd you and I hang with. Your insistence that most or all hosta
> are being morally mistreated by the nursery industry is misleading and
> You are breeding discontent and it is not a good thing.
> Don't spoil the fun hosta hybridizers are having by constantly suggesting
> they should be making big money from their hobby. You are just setting
them up
> for a big let down. You and I know it has never been that way and most
> never will.
> You have mentioned several times that TC destroys the value of a hosta.
> value of a hosta should be measured by the enjoyment a gardener gets from
> growing it, not it's cost. 'My Child Insook' at $100 is no more valuable
> 'My Child Insook' at $20. Maybe you mean earning potential instead of
> Dan and Lu
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