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Re: Daylily Vs. Hosta

I think most of you have missed the real question here, which is, does Maryland
have the slightest chance of beating Duke today?  And of course, the answer is -
Yes, they do have the slightest chance.

Well, this message was interrupted by a basketball game.  And the answer is -
not only could Maryland beat Duke, they humiliated Duke.  WE'RE NUMBER ONE!
WE'RE NUMBER ONE!  Well, at least a very strong number three.


Once again, I find myself disagreeing with much of what you write.  To start
with the last issue in your message, will the high end of the hosta market
survive?  The high end of the hosta market is already dead, and in my opinion it
will never be resurrected.  I guess it depends on how you define a market. If
you mean a few people who sell a few plants to maintain their own habit, that
"market" will probably survive. There will always be a few plants that maintain
a high price for one reason or another, like Dorothy Benedict or My Child
Insook.  I looked through last year's Hosta Finder to see what was selling for
over $100.  The vast majority of high priced hostas were plants that I've never
heard of that were offered by only one source.

There will always be some collectors that are willing to pay a high price to get
a year's head start or to have OS instead of TC plants, but there are very few,
and in my opinion the number is getting smaller each year.  Will there always be
hostas that sell for more than 50 bucks?  Sure, because there are a lot of
people breeding hostas out there, and there are a lot of nice plants being
produced.  Many of these people don't have the means or the inclination to put
their plants in a lab, so they produce them in small numbers and try to sell
them for big bucks.  The reason the market for high priced hostas died is that
everybody knows that if the plant is any good, one of the first five people who
buy it is going to send it to a lab and two years later everyone can buy it for

The difference I saw when I looked at the daylily site was that here was one
single web site, out of who knows how many daylily sites there are on the web,
listing 800 different daylilies, and the vast majority of them were priced over
$100.  Now, it may surprise some of you to know that in my earlier life I
studied economics between basketball games at good old U of M.  My thesis, by
the way, was entitled "Everything I Know About Economics I Learnt Pumping Beer
at the Varsity Grill".  From what little I remember about the law of supply and
demand, it went something like "If you got a lot of something, and not many
people want much of it, chances are you can't get much for it."  I understand
that these are great daylilies, but it seems to me that there are too many
people selling too many expensive daylilies to what has to be a fairly small
population of people for this to make any sense.  The only explanation I can
think of is that the corollary to the law of supply and demand states simply -
Daylily People are Nuts.


njhosta@hotmail.com wrote:

> Hi Glen,
>         I've been thinking about Chick's daylily story too. A lot of us in
> the hosta world have been wondering if tissue culture has killed the
> high-end part of the hosta market. I think the answer to that is there in
> the daylily market. If you TC a hosta, you know within a few months if the
> plants are true to form, while you'd have to wait for a daylily to flower to
> be sure you were,nt propagating on a mutation (not necessarily a good one)
> instead. That would mean that the lab wouldn't really be able to sell them
> with any real certainty they were right for a long time. It isn't as easy as
> hostas are. That's one part of it.
>          The other part is the sheer number of daylily varieties. How many
> new hostas make it into TC every year? Thirty? Forty at the most. If you
> have five hundred or more new introductions every year, than less than ten
> percent ever get TC'ed. As long as there are a lot of new varieties being
> produced, than the majority will never see the TC lab. So, there will always
> be a collector end of the market where TC is a dirty word for varieties that
> never met the test tubes.
>           One other factor is the lingering question of whether the TC
> hostas remain true to the form of the original. Often TC plants do look
> different from the OS plants, particularly in the area of margin width. For
> an example go to 'Captain Kirk' at the HostaLibrary. The OS plant,
> photographed by Kirk Brill in his own garden, has a significantly wider
> margin than the other photos of the TC plants. Other problems occur too.
> 'Gypsy Rose' was thought to be 'Striptease' until they had been grown on for
> some time and it became apparent that it was a mutation. Some TC batches
> look OK but won't grow; 'Great Expectations' got a bad reputation this way.
> Then there's just plain old mix-ups like the 'Summer Joy' problem. Even with
> plants that have been in the lab, the OS form can still have value. The
> truly great individual plants in gardens like Patsy Stygal's were almost
> always grown from OS divisions bought at a premium, not from the cheaper
> TC's. Most of the plants that are TC'ed come out just fine, but a percentage
> do not, so that part of the market that is successfully TC'ed is smaller
> yet.
>           Anyway, I think the high-end collector market will always be
> there, and that it is just reeling a little from seeing the choicest, most
> expensive and coveted plants being reduced in value overnight to $5 liners.
> It will recover, as the daylily market has, and it will be concentrated more
> on things which will not do well in TC, I think, like OS 'Captain Kirk' that
> looks like Brill's original form, streaked plants, slow growers like
> 'Cupid's Arrow', TC failures like 'White Shoulders', and plants from obscure
> sources that never made it into the mainstream. Buying OS before a plant
> hits the labs still gives you a two or three year jump on the lab plants
> even if they do come true to type. High-end collecting will never die as
> long as the new varieties keep coming.
> .......Bill Meyer
> > I read a recent exchange between Bob Ax and Chick W. regarding daylilies.
> I
> > had meant to respond to it  but..... It is now snowing, and I have culled
> a
> > thousand hosta seedlings so will take this time to  explore a question I
> > have...and a theory.
> >
> > Bob and Chick both indicated that a number of daylily introductions were
> > entering the market at the old hosta prices....$200.00, $300.00...$500.00.
> > And apparently a number of daylilies were keeping their price
> too....unlike
> > the hosta community. Either Chick or Bob suggested that  tc-ing daylilies
> > was a somewhat clandestine act for some breeders.  I expect that this was
> > about keeping the price up?But that was not really my question. The
> daylily
> > world has a lot more competition in sheer numbers than does the hosta
> > world. What keeps their prices so high? Haven' they experienced the same
> > price revolution that we have?
> >
> > I grow a few daylilies. I have stuck to just collecting the white ones.
> > First they are rather boring and second there are not a lot of them, so I
> > won't be tempted to add another addiction to my gardening
> > efforts.....something that has beautiful colored blooms.  I admit that I
> > put them in areas where they fill in quickly..and I don't have to worry
> > about them. I guess I use them  so I don't have to be worried about
> weeding
> > ....where sun  is unkind to hostas. Considering my quirky motives I am
> > wondering if the daylily bloom in all of it glory and variety is not more
> > seductive that the leaves of a hosta...and therefore the price can be kept
> > up there?  I mean, the daylily couldn't possibly have more boring foliage,
> > or for that matter the hosta could have less impressive flowers  ( OK, I
> > know some of you can make a list of impressive flowers on some hostas, but
> > they don't exactly compare with the flowers on daylilies.
> >
> > What ever the profile of these two groups of plant lovers are, I do wonder
> > about  the price distinctions in the two markets. It's clear that hosta
> > people are better people;  more clearly discerning ,  perceptive,
> > intellectual, compassionate, and all round good guys. And that daylily
> > people are seduced by  the relentless prostitution of the daylily bloom
> and
> > the "Big Mac" world of daylilies.......and suffer a list of negative
> > character traits which are far too long to list. But there must be more to
> > it than this. While I am in favor of the lower hosta prices we now pay, I
> > miss the lack of prestige that the old high prices used to bestow on the
> > hosta world. Are we soon going to have signs all over the country at
> > different garden centers saying:  OVER 3 BILLION SOLD  @ ONLY $1.00!
> >
> > "And yes I said yes I will Yes." J.J's last words.
> > Glen Williams
> > 20 Dewey St.
> > Springfield , Vermont
> > 05156
> > Tel: 802-885-2839
> >
> >
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