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HYB: AIS: Trial Garden Idea

In a message dated 8/26/05 5:40:04 PM Eastern Daylight Time, 
lmann@volfirst.net writes:

<< I suggest you ask the momma/daddy dauber what kinds of information they'd 
like to know about. >>

I wonder whether it would be useful if there was a system whereby individual 
AIS members could register to trial irises on a volunteer basis, stating as 
they registered, what their growing conditions are, and what level of care or 
non-care they are prepared to offer the guests, so that hybridizers could select 
a trial venue or venues for a proposed new introduction. Such a venue 
located, the hybridizer could specify what sort of care they wanted the plants to 
get, and what sorts of information they were interested in receiving, and get 
progress reports, or a full report in a couple of years? The person trialing 
could keep some records on weather or whatever as seemed necessary or appropriate.

In other words, what if there was a matchmaking service whereby a hybridizer 
in Portland, say, could inquire as to who was registered growing TBs on lime 
in the steamy South, or in a harsh desert location, or could request referral 
to an organic gardener in Region 6, and find knowledgeable and responsible 
folks who were prepared to test a few rhizomes to order in their gardens? I 
suppose it would be best to have volunteers present some sort of simple, but 
confidence inspiring credential, like five years' continuous membership in AIS.

Such an idea would involve some administration, but not much, nor, in this 
day of email, much expense, possibly a little postage. It could be run sort of 
like Char runs the convention roommate thing. After a referral or several 
referrals were made, then it would be up to the hybridizer to contact potential 
foster parents and work out details. 

To keep the records fresh, volunteers would need to restate their interest 
annually and they'd need to contact the office independently to do that. No one 
would be required to take on any trials they did not want. There would be no 
charge to anyone, no guarantees of anyone's satisfaction given or implied, and 
no squabble-resolution undertaken. If someone involved in the program--on 
either side-- was apparently not behaving well, the person making referrals could 
quietly bear that in mind.

It would, I think, be best if that person knew something about hybridizing, 
but such would not be enough. You would want someone who liked people, and 
enjoyed correspondence, who was real responsible, and who believed in the value of 
the service they were providing. You would not need a techie, since the 
records could as easily be kept in a box of 5X7 index cards as in a database. Email 
proficiency would be essential.

I would think this could be an AIS program. The question is whether 
hybridizers would like to find responsible persons willing to trial to order, and I've 
no idea what the answer might be. I understand some of them now make their own 
arrangements. I do wonder, of course, about people who may be working quietly 
outside the inner circle who may welcome some support. And if the level of 
interest was light, it would not matter, since such a program would not need to 
generate traffic to pay its way.


Anner Whitehead
Richmond VA USA

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