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Re: Chaos

  • Subject: Re: [ferns] Chaos
  • From: "Keith Rogers" kerogers@lm.net.au
  • Date: Wed, 11 Sep 2002 12:04:50 +0930

Hi Everyone

Bob, an important e-mail I almost forgot about!!

Wonderful computers, I fixed this other one and ended up with its
problems -- by telepathy!!

We like you, have Fern shows as a means of introducing ferns to the public
and hoping to attract new members.

Our show will at least break even, the attendance was not flash but the
interest from the public was real good.  We have a few very knowledgeable
and they were available to freely advise the public. The cordiality was
tremendous. Print advertising is highly expensive, one member did a radio
interview and myself was a guest on the highest rated Garden Radio show and
another phoning in with details on other stations was a tremendous help.

Would expect Adelaide is perhaps doubled in 30 years and now is close to one
million, actually the whole state is only 1mil.  Lots of folk like the
because of the wines, gee back 30 years it was free to taste.  Was common
back then to do a winery crawl!!

Well back to the mature stuff, well the ferns.

We are lucky to have around 100 + members and get 35 to 55 at a meeting,
think 10 years ago the numbers were more than double.

We are different to you, we have no competitions at all.  There were around
15 members who displayed ferns numbering around 150 species and over 200
ferns altogether.

There are members with huge artistic abilities who created the design and
placed the ferns to their best advantage.  We prefer a large auditorium for
our shows because the ferns have space around them and to be able to look at
each one individually, at its best, so we think this was one of our best
ever.  The structures and sundry display materials are many years old and
part of the societies assets.

Every society has its Robin, or it doesn't exist anymore.  You are very
lucky to have him.

As it turned out the cost of venues has dramatically increased in price.
more for one or take one almost out of fern season, we took the safer
latter.  You are correct, San Diego is almost identical to Adelaide climate
wise.  Some members have cold (unheated) tunnel houses or sun room etc,
almost all have shadehouses of some sort.  These alien climates are not so
bad near the sea or in the hills (to 3000 ft) but on the plains and inland
it is very hot and sunny and dry winds are deadly to ferns.

The ferns on display were grown in around 50/50 conservatory/shadehouse
positions and a week earlier may have reduced some and a month later (say
the first weekend in spring) we could have nearly doubled the species on

Attracting members is as hard as getting some attractive fern species, we
have had some success from the internet like Fernet and Treefern.  The Fern
Societies FernPage and my own also have helped tremendously, especially with
Val Slaters efforts with the spore bank which only survives from the
tremendous generosity of those wonderful donors who send spore to both Val
and I.  These sites also giving us a few very welcome local and younger
members as well as some from overseas. One can only continue with hope.

We have a display table at the meetings where members bring in their ferns
to show the other members, this attracts from 20 to 50 ferns per meeting.
We try to cover the entire genera of ferns in 10 of the11 meetings ( the
11th is a Christmas dinner) per year. Or they can bring in any fern of
choice. An elected member talks about these ferns and with the owner
describes its
growing conditions and its needs to the members. This is a way of
communicating valuable information on a large range of ferns.

We also have guest speakers from within the society and outside as well,
some showing slides or products relating to gardening in general.  Most
Fernies grow other plants as well.  I know the bus or car trips help where
members get to know each other better.

There are very few naturally occurring ferns in SA (only 50 or so and very
few locally) and we haven't got magnificent verdant
forests to look at, so any garden, especially a fernies garden is inviting.

My opinion of a Society is to provide as many things of interest to the
members as possible.  We can't please everyone, so the more you provide the
happier everyone is. These include an informative newsletter, guest
speakers, workshops, trading table, display ferns, fern sales, fern library,
spore sales and info, trips and visits, raffles and in a friendly open

We also try to accommodate all folks from a real technical botanical
prospective to Mr and Mrs average as our aim is promoting ferns everyone.

Another Keith's saga.

Kindest regards

Keith Rogers
Mannum South Australia

On the web with Keith's Fern Page at

Supporting the Fern Society of South Australia Inc at

----- Original Message -----
From: "Bob Halley" <rhalley1@san.rr.com>
To: <ferns@hort.net>
Sent: Tuesday, September 10, 2002 5:59 AM
Subject: Re: [ferns] Chaos

> Hi Keith,
>   My deepest sympathies to you and your late lamented hard drive. Ain't
> computers fun? Anyway, I too had sent you a note to which I was hoping for
> reply. Here is the body of it.
> Hi Keith,
>   I greatly enjoyed the pictures of your fern show and I congratulate you
> a beautiful show. We (San Diego Fern Society) just had our 2002 show at
> same time you did. I don't have the final figures on entrants etc. but I
> don't think we did quite a well as you did.
>   I was in Adelaide nearly 30 years ago and I loved the city (and the
> Barossa valley) . I understand it has grown quite a bit since then but it
> must still be a great deal smaller than San Diego (around 2 million) but
> your show is every bit as good as ours. You must be doing something right.
> Our membership has been dwindling - normal meeting attendance has drop
> 40 - 45 to 25 - 30. We had only about 12 or 13 competitors (exhibitors)
> I think nearly  half the plants were Robin's. Do you have any magic means
> attracting members?  Our climates are similar and we can grow much the
> types of plants. Any ideas?
> Thanks, Bob
> Not very compelling but I would like to hear your response. Turns out your
> show was about the same size as ours. We had 13 competitors with 9
> I take it that your show is not a judged competition. It would be hard
> you layout but we did like your aesthetics.
>   In the midst of this somewhere it occurred to me that it is late winter
> for you, not late summer as it was here. How do you get all those ferns in
> good condition at that time of year. Does everyone have a greenhouse?
> Yours, Bob
> Bob Halley
> 1714 Malden St.
> San Diego, CA,  92109
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------
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