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A Very Special Auction Item

  • Subject: A Very Special Auction Item
  • From: njhosta@hotmail.com
  • Date: Sat, 1 Dec 2001 22:03:16 -0500

HI Everybody,
         As we start working on next year's FIRST LOOK, I want to announce that we will occasionally have a few things here and there for auction. I will announce these to the lists when we have them. There will not be a big full-size auction like last year's, but as people donate to the cause, we will auction off their gifts at the HostaLibrary Auction Site. Starting tonight and remaining open for bidding for the next two weeks will be something I am donating myself.
         At last sping's FIRST LOOK meeting, Mike Shadrack gave an after dinner talk about the life and plants of Eric Smith. It was a fascinating story of a man devoted to his craft. Mr. Smith also worked with other hosta crosses besides the tardianas and with other genera, most notably hellebores and kniphofias. Mike showed a large collection of Mr. Smith's own slides during this talk, and the one that really stuck with me was one of the seedling bed where the first tardianas were lined out in their second year. Among them was the original 'Halcyon' and the other F1's. In the foreground was a shadow. The sun was behind him that day when he took the picture, and Mr. Smith could be seen with his arms raised holding the camera up. In his memory, I've decided to contribute something a little different to the Hosta world.
         This fall I used 'Frances Williams' (June-blooming) pollen on a tardiflora (October blooming) which I received from Alex Summers, thus repeating the most famous cross in the history of Hosta. I'm referring, of course, to the Eric Smith cross that gave us 'Halcyon' and the other tardianas. There are 33 pods set from this cross, and the seed is now ripe, having ripened naturally outside in our unseasonably frost-free temps here in New Jersey. I have not yet removed the pods from the scapes, but will do so if they start to open.
         In addition to this item, I have made the reverse cross--------'Frances Williams' x tardiflora. The significance of using 'Frances Williams' instead of 'Elegans' is that gold tardianas should be included in the offspring. I won't guarantee it, but they should be there. There are well over two hundred seeds in this package. These two batches of seed will be combined as one lot in the auction.
         The item auctioned as "FIRST LOOK Special Seed" will be composed of the entire production of both these crosses. The winning bidder will have full rights to all plants resulting from it. He or she will be the first person in thirty years or so to grow this cross on and see what Mr. Smith saw so many years ago, along with maybe a few "golden surprises".  I did try this cross once before, for those who might have heard, and the seed failed to germinate after being stored for a lengthy time and mailed twice, once across the ocean. For this reason, FIRST LOOK will refund the money to the purchaser if this batch fails. Seed will be mailed immediately on receipt of funds, all of which will go into the treasury for next year's FIRST LOOK meeting.
         If you know anyone who might be interested in these seeds, please pass the word to them. This is a one-time offer for all the seed, and I will not repeat the cross again. Thank You and Happy Bidding.
                                                                                       .........Bill Meyer  

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