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Re: Why Grow Other's Seeds? / Junk Hostas


 There are only a few catalogs I pay much attention to, but I don't
really see much of this kind of thing. I can't say it doesn't happen,
only that I don't see the catalogs that I read saying great things about
bad plants.  I think the biggest problem with most hosta catalogs is that
they don't say much of anything.

Chick

Bill Meyer wrote:

  Hi Chick,
             I don't really think there are any plants that shouldn't be sold.
  I think the problems come from the way they're sold. If somebody wants a
  plant, there's no reason not to sell it. But nurseries should call it what
  it is, not intentionally disguise its flaws (however big) and try to make it
  sound like its the greatest thing since the thing before it in the catalog.
  Really it's a lot worse with perennials than with hostas, but we all know
  not all hostas are great plants. On the other hand all nursery catalogs sell
  nothing but great plants if you believe what they say. Those of us who've
  been around for a while know better than to believe what is said in
  catalogs, even learn to read (translate) what the descriptions really mean.
  Anyone who's new, and we all were once, is going to end up with a lot of
  plants they wish they didn't buy, though.

  ........Bill Meyer    

    I didn't say that there are no bad hostas, only that it isn't much of a
    problem.

    First of all, Hank's pretty good list of "Bad Plants",  includes Frances
    Williams, Patriot, Tatoo, Great Expectations, White Christmas, all white
    centered hostas, etc, etc. I understand that Hank didn't pick the plants,
    but come on. I was on record long ago as not liking Frances Williams, but
    I thought we were talking about plants that shouldn't be sold. Do you
    really think these plants shouldn't be sold?  I'll go along with any
    plant that drawstrings, and any that won't grow anywhere, but I still
    don't think that amounts to much of a problem.

    Catalog language? Keep in mind that the purpose of a catalog is to sell
    plants.  If someone is dishonest you shouldn't deal with them, but don't
    expect us to stop trying to sell plants.

    Chick

    Bill Meyer wrote:

      Hi Chick,
              Hank put together a pretty good list of b
    ad ones. There are more
      drawstring plants like 'Creme de Menth' and 'Exotic Frances Williams'  

  and    

      'Winning Edge', and more "burners" like 'Queen of Islip' and 'Dupage
      Delight', and more "probably will never grow into a clump even if you  

  live    

      100 years" types like 'Snow Cap' and 'Blessings' and 'May T Watts'. Then
      there are the ordinary solid-color TC culls from variegated plants that  

  get    

      fancy names and descriptions instead of going into the trash. As you  

  know    

      there are plenty of hostas out there that pretty much stink as garden  

  plants    

      and that ordinary gardeners will come to regret buying if they do.
              I think part of Ray's point is that nurseries don't bother to
      mention that there are problems with a particular plant. Nurseries have  

  a    

      language all their own called "Catalog Description", which is similar to
      English but not quite the same, and this causes a
      lot of confusion for those
      who haven't taken a course in comparative commercial languages. For
      example -- noxious invasive weeds that you will fight a never-ending  

  yearly    

      battle to eliminate (like Houtuynia) in your yard are described in
      nursery-speak as "Carefree" and "Easy to establish" and "Great for those
      'trouble spots'". Plants that will never grow in your area no matter  

  what    

      you do (like Lewisias) are described as "Needs the right spot" and  

  "Don't    

      let this one dry out" and a "plant for that special place". Biennials
      already in their second year and fated to bloom once and die are  

  described    

      as "Short-lived perennials" with advice to "allow to reseed for  

  continuing    

      display". Then there are the various sales promotions aimed at clearing  

  out    

      an overstock of some plant they bought too many of and nobody is buying
      which can result in some remarkable descriptions too.
               Catalog Description is the language of a happy fantasy world
      where
      nothing bad is ever said about a plant. In this fantasy world no plant  

  ever    

      has any bad traits or problems - it only has positive traits. It's like  

  some    

      wacky psychological self-improvement course gone haywire. I suppose you
      could be sued for slander if you ever accused a plant of something bad.
               Some might see these practices as dishonest, mainly because  

  they    

      havent learned to translate "Catalog Description" into English. Rather  

  than    

      the nurseries stopping the sale of bad plants, which they aren't really  

  ever    

      going to do, what we all would like to see is a translation guide to  

  figure    

      out what a plant really is by reading the catalogs. With hostas the
      situation has been complicated by the tissue-culture process, which  

  isn't    

      always as trouble-free as they would like us to believe. Bad batches  

  often    

      go out to the retailers that will never grow into decent plants, no  

  matter    

      what care they're given. Good plants end up getting b
      ad reputations only
      because one TC batch went wrong.

      .........Bill Meyer

        I guess what I'm saying is that, once again, we've come upon a problem
        that sounds like a good issue, something that sellers should be  

  ashamed    

        of and buyers should be up in arms about, and so far it turns out that
        we've come up with two plants.  So how big a problem is it really?

        I'll agree that there is not much justification for growing either of
        these. But before we get too upset at the growers and warning buyers  

  to    

        beware, I think we really have to come up with more than two plants  

  out    

        of all the hostas we offer.

        Boy, it's not easy to stir you guys up.  What's wrong, you all still
        bloated from stuffing yourselves over the holidays?

        Chick
        Stayin' Alive

            Golden Sunburst is definitely one that should not
            be sold, and probably Lunar Eclipse could be dropped, but frankly,

      very

            few people offer them any more.

          Unfortunately, Golden Sunburst is offered by 13 retailers and Lunar    

      Eclipse

          14 per the 2002 Hosta Finder. It is shocking to me that some well  

  known    

          businesses continue to sell these plants. Have they no conscious?

          Only the unknowledgable would buy these hostas.

          I'm not suggesting that anyone should try to restrict free trade,  

  but I    

          personally think less of businesses that continue to offer the above  

  two    

          hostas. I'm sure there are others.
          Ray Rodgers, Bartonville, IL, CIHS, Zone 5

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