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CAT: Stockton, et al. kudos

From: James Brooks <hirundo@tricon.net>

With all the chat about catalog suppliers and their rare stumbles, I'd like
to give kudos for a few that have done real well by me, but from which I've
heard little on nothing about on iris chat:
STOCKTON IRIS GARDENS: I was really surprised they were not included in the
list of big color catalog suppliers. They have their own stable of
hybridizers, give excellent service, provide VERY GENEROUS extras, work
nicely with club orders and are great to respond to late orders. Their
stuff grows well, has shown good resistance to the various ills of the
garden, blooms nicely - when I go over the photos I've taken of iris that
have performed well for me, a surprising amount come from Stockton.
CABRAL IRIS GARDENS: Tina Cabrall is essentially the main person in this
family operation. She catalogs only TBs grown by others, is working on
hybrids, but has nothing yet that meets her standard, and her rhizomes are
just wonderful - usually huge things with many growth buds, ready to grow a
full clump in one year, or she gives you a couple if they are puny by her
standards. The stuff is very healthy, blooms well and she has been a
tireless friend and encourager (if that's a word) by e-mail answering
countless questions. I probably shouldn't mention this. A person has so
much time.
SUTTON'S GREEN THUMBER: Seems to be making the transition to big catalog
grower this year. Again, excellent stock with good performance and good
service. When I asked for a special shipment of Tennessee Vol this winter,
Mike immediately complied, with instructions to help them bloom the first
year, and more encouragement by e-mail, both for the iris and for the Vols
in the Fiesta Bowl. (It worked, Mike).
SUPERSTITION IRIS GARDENS: Same quality as above, Rick Tasco again generous
with his time in offering assistance. 
I'm now at the point of thinking of several others. The point, I guess, is
that we are very well served by the growers in this business. It is a world
where the small specialty grower is best able to serve the enthusiast, and
bigness, and the hiring of employees can bring real problems, but I do not
think growing pains, hiring of seasonal help etc. disqualifies anyone I've
done business with from gaining my recommendation. Perhaps the best way to
keep competition at bay is to stress quality and service to a point that it
gives anyone else real pause about deciding to enter the nursery business. 
Because of the explosive growth of gardening in past years, there are a lot
of hucksters out there, but in the specialty of iris, we have been
mercifully spared. The big house seed catalogs that begin arriving just
before New Year's Eve go straight to the recycling bin, but I eagerly await
the iris catalogs or announcements of new online materials.

James Brooks
Jonesborough, TN
Persimmon Katz
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