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Re: Daylily Vs. Hosta

  • Subject: Re: Daylily Vs. Hosta
  • From: njhosta@hotmail.com
  • Date: Mon, 18 Feb 2002 17:13:00 -0500
  • Wrom: HJYFMYXOEAIJJPHSCRTNHGSWZIDREXCAXZ

Chick,
        Well, "Market" seems like the word to use if you have an item to
sell and there are people who would like to buy it. Maybe I'm wrong. I'm not
sure what you think the "not market ----insert new word here ________" used
to be back in the glory days before TC came onto the scene to grind up all
the filet and mix it in with the hamburger. There never really were more
that thirty or forty people who routinely bought hostas in that price range,
and maybe twice as many more who only occasionally did. If you're saying
that there are still that many, then what's the point?
          I don't think you can define a market by the number of people who
are trying to sell to it (but I might be wrong about that too) or by the
number of items they are trying to sell. If you had ten solid customers who
every year were interested in the newest stuff and willing to pay between
$100 and $200 for ten plants each you would stock maybe ten each of twenty
different plants in that range, wouldn't you?  Since they couldn't be
counted on to buy them all, you'd list them in the general catalog instead
of a private "good customer" list, right? Not that I think you agree with
that, but assuming you do, you would now have 20 plants in that price range
in your catalog with less than fifteen customers buying them. Now you would
be showing up in the Hosta Finder as a major vendor of expensive rarities.
Would that mean there is a market? In the real "real world" that's how those
listings got in there. From what I hear there is considerably more people in
the daylily world that are willing to pay the higher prices for the rarer
varieties. I think it's because they've been around longer and there is a
much higher ratio of collector plants to mass-market plants. In all, just a
bigger scene.
          Some plants do go into TC quickly, but not many. The serious
collectors are already starting to see that. If you look at Mary's extensive
list of Lakeside hostas, you'll see many very nice plants, but how many of
them were TCed by anbody other than her? Likewise Olga's plants or Savory's
or Tony's or Ran's. A couple here or there, that's all. When I went to the
Minnesota Convention, I saw at least fifty or so new plants in the $100 and
up range. That was late spring 2000. Since then I think only two have been
TCed ('Liberty' and 'Silk Kimono').
           As for your last paragraph, I have to say that maybe the
scholastic version of small-scale economics and the real world don't see eye
to eye. If there's a small "market" for high-priced (and high-profit %)
somethings there is nothing surprising about there being a lot of people
hoping to sell to that market. It's not surprising that some nurseries buy
TC's for $5 and sell them for $50 now in the TC Age. The Law of Supply and
Demand would apply to a single plant that more people wanted than there was
enough for, not for the whole "market" that way. How much did you pay that
school?

............Bill Meyer
ps. How about "Lunch With Chick"? That might work.


> Bill,
>
> I would be glad to refute most of what you say, but before we get into
> specifics, I'm still not sure what you consider a "market".  The fact that
I can
> take one of my better breeding plants that nobody else has and easily find
> someone willing to pay over $100 for it does not mean there is a market
for
> expensive hostas.  I never said that people were no longer willing to pay
$100
> for a good hosta.  I even gave examples of some that sell for that much.
That
> does not meet my definition of a market.
>
> I looked through an old listing I have from Van Wade, the addendum to his
> 1996-96 catalog.  It lists approximately 210-215 plants and 21 cost $100
or
> more.  Look through last year's Hosta Finder and see what Van is selling
his
> hostas for now.  There are still plants listed at $100 or more, and Van
has
> some, but not like there used to be.  I would bet that many of the $100 pr
ice
> tags are vanity prices, people putting high prices on their own
introductions
> regardless of what the "market price" should be, and even more important,
> regardless of whether people are actually going to pay that much for the
plant.
> In my world, if there is a real market for $100 plants, you should be able
to go
> through the Finder and see a reasonable number of plants priced in that
range,
> and those plants should be offered by more than one nursery, all selling
in that
> price range.  Instead, what you mostly find, are plants that are offered
by only
> one nursery, usually the introducing nursery, or you will find one nursery
> listing it at a high price and several others selling it for about half
that.
>
> I'm not saying that no hostas are worth $100.  I'm saying that a "market"
has to
> have some significance in the real world in order to be a market, and that
the
> market for expensive hostas is dead.  In the real world, too many people
got
> burned by paying big bucks for new hostas only to see them priced at $25
two
> years later and they quit buying expensive hostas.  The fact that some
hostas
> won't do well in tc doesn't mean anything when you are making the
purchasing
> decision unless you know which ones won't do well.  And most buyers have
no way
> of knowing that.  Some hostas will always sell for big bucks and some
people
> will always be willing to buy them, but the market is dead. And the market
is
> dead because, as a buyer, when you look at a new hosta and consider
spending a
> lot of money for it, you just know that if you do, it will be pouring out
of a
> lab next year and everyone will look admiringly at it in your garden and
say
> "Wow, you paid a hundred bucks for it?  I just saw it in a catalog for
twenty
> dollars."
>
> In my world, if the prices the daylily people are getting for these new
plants
> are logical, it should be because there is a shortage of plants available
and a
> surplus of customers looking for such plants.  There should not be a large
> number of daylilies selling for $100-250 unless there are not enough
excellent
> daylilies to go around. That's the Law of Supply and Demand. And the
corollary
> to that law is still - Daylily People are Nuts.
>
> Party on, Garth
>
> Chick
>
>
> njhosta@hotmail.com wrote:
>
> > Hi Chick,
> >           Not surprised that you disagree :-), but what kind of theory
is it
> > that says the only logical explanation is that people are nuts? You have
to
> > do better than that!
> >           Look at a few things:
> >           1. At the big national auction it's rare that a nursery gets
the
> > hot new plant. Almost always it's a collector that's willing to pay the
> > most. If a plant seems to have good mass-market potential (and how many
> > really do?) the big nurseries might chase it, but mostly now they are
all
> > selling tried-and-true plain vanilla types. Name ten big headliner new
> > varieties coming out this year in big numbers. After 'Liberty'
> > there's.......uh,......... So the big TC guys aren't really waiting for
> > their chance to snag every exciting new plant that appears are they?
> >           2. The start collectors get by buying early is realistically
2-5
> > years as things work out if they get the OS piece before the plant went
into
> > TC. And that's assuming the TC batch does well and we all know that not
all
> > of them do. Usually a bad TC batch kills further interest in the plant
by
> > the big labs. They won't keep experimenting trying to get it right.
> >           3. The number of new plants that go into TC yearly is far more
> > limited than the number of new plants being produced each year. They
can't
> > get even 10% of them into TC. There are only so many customers out there
and
> > TC labs are businesses that must turn a profit to survive. They can't
just
> > settle down to doing a hundred new plants a year to see if any of the
> > customers will but that many new ones. You yourself said that at the
retail
> > level undulata is still the biggest seller, right? As a retailer, how
many
> > brand new intros do you want to offer each year? Ten? Twenty.
> >            4. Only certain types of plants are suited for mass-market
TCing.
> > Nobody will ever TC 50,000 Sea Prize's or Fascination's, or slow growers
> > that need excessive care to do well like 'Tortifrons'. I think we'll see
the
> > people who put plants into TC learn over time how to pick the ones that
will
> > do well and start ignoring the ones that will be too much trouble. For
> > example: big-buck collector plants like the Lachman's 'Banana Boat',
> > 'Falling Waters', and 'Cascades' did not do well in TC. Some plants will
be
> > available from the TC batches, but not too many, because the percentage
of
> > liners that made it up to gallon pot size was low. If you bought 100
'Banana
> > Boats' as liners, how many did you end up with for sale? They were from
> > when, two years ago? How many made it up to gallon size? Some of these
> > plants did so poorly that there's almost a collector market for TC
problem
> > plants.
> >             5. TCing plants itself creates new plants. Every time a
plant
> > goes into TC, two or three new sports seem to come back out. There will
> > always be more new plants than can ever be mass-marketed. McDonald's
will
> > never have five hundred items on their menu, and expensive restaurants
will
> > never be put out of business by McDonald's. People will always want
things
> > that can't be had everywhere cheap.
> >
> >              I don't think the collector market is dead. I don't think
it
> > will ever die. I think there's a lot of confusion out there now, caused
> > mainly by hype about things like TC plants are always perfect copies of
the
> > original. A lot of times they are, but not all the time. A TC plant
sells on
> > the strength of what the original looked as a big plant. As we see more
and
> > more TC plants that don't come out looking like that (the 'Captain Kirk'
> > example for one) I think we'll see a resurgence of collector interest in
> > really good forms. McDonald's burgers and Prime filet mignons just
aren't
> > the same things and won't ever be the same price.
> >
> > .......Bill Meyer
> >
> > > 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.
> > >
> > > Bill,
> > >
> > > 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
> > > $15.
> > >
> > > 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.
> > >
> > > Chick
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > 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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