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Re: Curves of Beauty

At 08:54 PM 7/6/99 -0400, you wrote:
>Bob/Gerry O'Neill wrote:
>> Jim,
>> Interesting topic..Now you have me thinking too.
>> As a personal measure for comparing your hostas (or even judging how one cv
>>  behaves under particular environmental conditions) this seems like a
>> valuable tool. But I see two problems with its general use.
>> 1) As Diane points out, this is a highly subjective measure as described.
>> if your index was comprised of more objective measures (e.g., degree of
>> leaf burn, rated on a scale of 1-3, or % of original leaves remaining, and
>> so forth) it would be possible to compare the same cv in different gardens
>> in defferent years. But what I consider beautiful or desirable in a hosta
>> might be different than what you do, even if we were standing side by side
>> and rating the same plant. I might, for example, like how Vanilla Cream
>> changes color throughout the season while others might see it as fading or
>> "viridescing" (is that a verb?) and rate it downward.
>> 2) The other problem relates to Joanne's suggestion that the area under the
>> curve be calculated and used for comparison. But what descriminates between
>> two hostas is the *shape* of the curve, not the area under it. Both can be
>> mathematically described. Your two hostas, one peaking early and one
>> peaking late, might have the same area under the curve; does that make them
>> equally beautiful (or valuable in the garden)?
>I hope others will stretch their imaginations
>> >a bit and suggest other approaches as well.
>> >
>> >Jim
>Some addtional thoughts on a "curve" of beauty.  Actually this might be
>a curve of performance as well.  I think we may want to look at this as
>a some what "flattened" curve, with the thinking that the greater the
>"flattened" area  The longer (During a given season)that the plant is a
>"good preformer"
Good point, Ran. Wouldn't it be neat to have a book that has performance
curves next to the photos, much like bird id books have little range maps?
Then you could choose your hosta not just on color and leaf shape, but on
whether you want a plant that performs consistantly and all season long
(even if there are no spectacular peaks) or whether you want a plant that
is WOW! during the time the astilbe blooms, but not necessarily during the
rest of the year.

What you would need, though, might be a series of curves from different
parts of the country. Maybe some of the more resourceful and experienced
members of the list ought to set up "evaluation gardens" where for a fee
(or not), they would plant hostas sent by hybridizers and evaluate in their
climate to generate the curves. A network of these sites (similar to AAS
test gardens) would result in a fairly good description of performance of
various cvs.

Gerry (geez, this is fun)
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