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Re: new introductions--Tattoo vs. GE, etc.

  • Subject: Re: new introductions--Tattoo vs. GE, etc.
  • From: "Andrew Lietzow" <alietzow@myfamily.com>
  • Date: Mon, 2 Aug 2004 08:53:04 -0500

Dear Butch, 
RE:Your comment >>"So, you got one that wasn't perfect, does that justify publishing to a wide audience the problems that you had. Get over your self-righteous self".

My goal here has always been to better understand Hostas, as an ornamental for use in the landscape, and more recentlly, from the inside out from a lay geneticist's point of view, and as an hybridizer.  

During the last four years, spurred on by Jim Hawes, Ben Z., George Schmid, Joe Halinar, John Lanier, Bill Meyer and a whole host of others, I've been studying genetics.  At times, I think I might be making some progress.   I try to make sure I don't get too technical yet I know there are several here who have a great deal of knowledge about Hosta, much more than I.  I like to ask (them) questions.  I also freely share what little knowledge I have with those who do likewise.  

Unfortunately, I dropped off of these lists a few years ago, because peole were resorting to name calling and I began to realize this was not a productive use of my time.  Instead of pursuing idle, unproductive chatter while serving as a pin cushion, I buried myself in workshops on lab techniques for DNA sequencing (learning about PCR, AFLP, RFLP, RAPD analysis, and the like.), flow cytometry, and tried to learn a little something about transposons, retro-viruses, and the nematode resistance gene, Hs1pro-1.  I'm not smart yet, but I'm gaining on it.  

The reason I brought up Tattoo was that a few folks here were talking about timing for bringing new introductions to the public.  Ran mentioned that his standard is to resist the temptation to introduce a new plant until it has been tried and proven.   I agree with this NEARLY wholeheartedly (you don't know me, so you don't know that in my garden I have a special tribute area to Ran Lydell--I hold him and his opinion in very high regard), yet I made the comment that the registration process should not be considered to be something like a "Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval".  It serves a different purpose.   

New plants need testing, in-situ--i.e. onsite, out in the field.  Because TC Labs are ex-situ environments, they are useful for reasons that you apparently know full well.  Unfortunately, good results in the lab do not always translate to good results in the garden.  New intros, which haven't had extensive in-situ testing, can be sold to a limited audience of collectors and above average gardeners, and IMO, such practice serves the industry well.  We need to know how these things grow in Zones 3-9, and how they grow for the above average gardener before they are rolled out to the average gardener.  

Part of why technically oriented folks like myself go on Hosta tours is to see how well the new and different intros are doing in other's gardens and, when we study the ancestry of the good growers, we gain valuable information for hybridizing.  So, when a bad grower hits the mass market, it's not the people who are broken, it's the process.   Fortunately, processes can be fixed! 

Beyond garden tours, where can we talk of such things?  Email lists!  From this list, I was seeking productive conversation, like what Narda recommended, to determine how many growers or gardeners are having good luck with Tattoo.  And, if you were one of them, I'd love to hear what you're doing to get it to grow!  :-) 

Personally, I have no trouble growing GE but I have learned to count myself fortunate.  I have two clumps; one now a monster, after 12 years (Marvin has a photo in his "Excellent Photos" section) and the other is starting to take off from TC plants.  Though some percentage of gardeners DO have trouble with this plant, I DO NOT believe this is due to inferior genetics.  It's a microclimate issue and I'm quite certain that you would find this to be true in nearly ALL instances where GE does not perform well.  

When people see my GE, some ask, "How did you get it to grow so well?".  I offer my limited wisdom and they go away with renewed hope.  That is what I was looking for from this list and, usually, I find it.  

Unfortunately, though I don't know you from Adam, you closed your comments with "Get over your self-righteous self".  How this could possibly be construed as a positive addition to the dialogue is beyond me.  You can do better and I hope you will... 


-----Original Message-----
From: michael shelton <wilddog_202@yahoo.com>
Sent: Saturday, July 31, 2004 10:49 PM
To: hosta-open@hort.net
Subject: Re: new introductions

Butch says; to Andrew Lietzow 

I suggest that you did not pay 50-100 for your Tattoo
and that what you did pay does not give you the right
to question the garden worthiness of the plant. Now if
you paid the introduction price and had a division of
the original plant then you may have a gripe. I'm not
even sure about that because when I first saw Tattoo
in Atlanta is was so cute that I wanted it then not
later but Tony kept it off the market for a while. So
I choose to believe that you paid a small amount for a
TC plant which vary greatly in their vigor, etc. BTW,
I've had plants in TC where I got 100% of the
production and they are relatively inexpensive that
way but they are not perfect. So, you got one that
wasn't perfect, does that justify publishing to a wide
audiance the problems that you had. Get over your
self-righteous self.
> I suppose this is what Ran and Dan are saying, yet
> they do so succintly.  My take, however, is, "IF you
> have something unique, get it out there to the
> collectors and investigators.  We don't mind paying
> $50 or $100 for a plant that we later discover is a
> dud.  That's a risk we are willing to take to be at
> the bleeding edge.  But the originators, TC labs,
> wholesalers, and introducers need to take some
> responsibility to restrict distribution until the
> plant is tried and proven".  .  
> If it's going to be let loose in quantity from the
> TC labs, and is sold without a "caveat emptor"
> clause, that's where I think some standards need to
> be established.  Probably, this in the form of
> "stamp of approval", "seal of excellence" or a
> "Collector's Only" label from the Hosta Grower's
> Association.  The AHS should probably not perform
> this function.  I think it was talked about more at
> the grower level than the plant level, and didn't go
> over too well.   I invite comment.  
> With that said, now I'm going to surf on over to the
> Plant Delights website and see if Tony agrees with
> my assessment of 'Tattoo'.  Maybe he's still saying
> it's hardy because he hasn't personally killed it
> three times.  Maybe I'll post a follow-up, or maybe
> he'll jump on a jet to DSM to beat the stuffin' out
> of me.  I might not even be able to type... Lucky
> you.   
> Ciao, 
> Andrew 
> Get your own family web site at www.MyFamily.com!
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