Re: AIS Award system/Opinion of general public
Enjoyed your post, Donald. And I'm taking one specific point out of your
context -- I think you ended up in the right place, but I want to comment
on part of your posting. I'm trying to add to, not take away from your
Donald said, in part
little to do with which irises are mass marketed to the "regular gardener"
or general public.
----> I want to submit that folks who buy "mass market"iris are CASUAL
gardeners, not "regular gardeners" in that "regular gardener" might
spend some time with some gardening magazines (Horticulture, Country Living
Gardening, the such like) and even some time in visiting gardens, whether
it is the Royal Botanical Gardens in Hamilton, Ontario, or Longwood or
the great places elsewhere in the USA and Canada.
As far as catalog suppliers of irises go, Schreiner's is the only one I've
seen who regularly advertises in mainstream U.S. magazines such as Southern
Living. (Note: If you pay $5.00 for the Schreiner's catalog that
automatically takes you out of the "regular gardener" category.)
-----> I think that Southern Living is a magazine for the "casual gardener"
mentioned above, who might not even glance at gardening or semi-gardening
magazines, although lately I've seen more magazines at the supermarket
checkout counter with GARDEN in the title in one form or another.
Lest anyone think that I advocate "Country Living Gardening" as a
gardening mag -- I don't. I'm trying to conceptualize the TYPE of gardener
and separate the "casual" gardener and that market from the "regular"
gardener who is the person who watches the newspaper for plant sales for
the Iris. I think the "regular" gardener is also the one who sends $5.00 for
Schreiner's catalogue, and when reading the back of Horticulture, finds some
other Iris growers, also. I've seen Ensata there, and I think Roris is
there sometimes, and ....
I think regular gardeners are the folks who pay attention to what they are
doing in the garden, but aren't collectors or specialists -- yet!! But they
ey probably ask questions at the Iris sales and might
join and then they might (with more purchases and talk about specific cultivars)
become "collectors" or even "specialists".
The Collector and Specialist will join AIS and get the specialist publication
-- The Bulletin -- and buy some books on special gardening topics.
And about this point wonder whether they've become specialists or collectors,
in other words, begin to think of themselves as gardeners.
I don't think a "casual" gardener defines him/herself as a gardener, and
therefore doesn't think about buying iris at WalMart. As soon as a person
starts thinking, and acting like a gardener, he/she is a "regular gardener"
and searches out information, rather than take what is offered by WalMart, etc.
And that is my comment on Donald's point.
Having explained my impression of how irises get into the hands of the
general public, I think, at least in my mind, there is a big disconnect
somewhere between the irises that AIS awards and what makes it into the
hands of the "regular gardener". So I'm not convinced that the award system
needs drastic overhaul based on worry about what the general public thinks
(maybe there are better reasons). It's my experience that with other popular
garden perennials, only a few ever make it to stardom and become the types
most often seen in the average home garden.
-------------------> I'm sure there IS a "big disconnect" (interesting term)
between what the "casual gardener" buys and the AIS awards. I'm sure that
the casual gardener doesn't care whether the iris comes up again next
year, or whether it is true to the color in the photo.
And the AIS awards probably have absolutely nothing to do with the folks
who market iris to the casual gardener. As Burger King has no truck with
the Cafe Aroma crowd.
No problem!! The AIS is a group of specialists, and collectors of iris.
Smacks of elitism, right?? Anti American, anti-democratic? But the AIS
is leading the specialist and collector (down the garden path -grin-)
and providing a place where like minds can congregate and discuss their
We don't deny the AMA, or the ABA, or the Truckers' Alliance (if there is
one) their right to congregate and discuss a specific topic.
So, when folks work themselves up through the levels of gardening, from
casual to regular to collector to specialist, they will find themselves
in need of an organization like AIS, or something like it, to have folks
to talk about their chosen topic. ANDTHEN they can talk about reforming
the awards system.
Carolyn Schaffner in Buffalo, NY