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Re: A moral question

  • Subject: Re: A moral question
  • From: "Bill Meyer" <njhosta@hotmail.com>
  • Date: Thu, 18 Mar 2004 22:39:29 -0500

Chick,
        Oh stop it! Please. Your cracking me up here. If someone puts that
restriction on it when they offer it, they are reserving the right to keep
control over propagation of it. As opposed to leaving that open to the
winning bidder's discretion, like most plants were. There is no reason to
assume that the donor won't make a deal of some kind with a nursery to sell
it for them in big numbers at some point. They just reserve the right to be
part of that process, not outsiders watching their plant be sold and resold
by others who return no share of the profits to them.
        I don't know if any of the plants that were sold that way will be
offered soon by nurseries at lower prices. I don't know if that will happen
any sooner than if a nursery bought the plant without restriction. Maybe you
do, but that's not the point. With the First Look Auction, we just recognize
their right to have control over their own property. What they do with it is
up to them. It works out great for the serious collectors and other
hybridizers who then have a chance to get something that wouldn't otherwise
be made available so openly for fear that it would be put into production
without their involvement. If you as a nurseryman want to market one, you
have to go to them and make some arrangement. You can't just buy it and send
it right to the labs. We've even been thinking of putting up a list of
contact info for hybridizers who exhibit or donate just to make it easier
for the nurseries to contact the hybridizers.
        It in no way has anything to do with whether it will hit a larger
market sooner or later. Just with whether the donor will be part of that
arrangement.
        So, come on, it really was the Robin Hood thing, wasn't it? Come on,
fess up!
                                                      ........Bill Meyer


> You just can't seem to get away from this thing you have against
> "nursery folks" can you? My question about making sure that these plants
> were seldom seen was not meant to be red meat for you.
>
> If you look at this objectively (ain't that a hoot?), selling the plants
> with the requirement that they not be propagated pretty well assures that
> they will not be widely grown, doesn't it?  Call me silly, but I still
> think that new plants that come out at the current going price with no
> restrictions are going to be slightly more common than those that cost
> $250 for os and $125 for tc with a promise not to propagate them. And
> before you find something sinister in that statement, it is meant to be a
> common sense observation, not a moral judgement.  It doesn't matter a bit
> to me what someone else charges for plants and it certainly wouldn't hurt
> me if hosta prices were to go up.
>
> That's why I was curious about what others thought about doing it this
> way. At least to me, it's something new and I thought we might be able to
> discuss it.  Maybe my language was unintentionally explosive, but I can
> guarantee you that charging that much for a plant and asking that nobody
> propagate it is insuring that it is seldom seen, or not widely grown if
> you prefer. Theoretically, no one will have this plant in their garden
> unless they bought it from Stuart. Now, everything is relative, but how
> many people can that be?  That doesn't mean it's a bad idea.  It's
> Stuart's plant, he should do with it whatever he thinks is best for him.
>
> Chick
>
> Bill Meyer wrote:
>
>   Chick,
>          No problems with that? Dang, I sure hope Maryland wins some more
>   games. If I remember right, you were the only one using the (sort of)
bad
>   words. Nice misdirection there. But then you are the master of the
>   misdirection ploy.
>          In the First Look Auction, the FOoSF plants were sent in with
that
>   request as part of the listing. As I said before, we don't have a
problem
>   with conditional offerings in the auction. There's not a lot we can do
to
>   enforce the bidders' living up to the terms the donors put forth, but we
>   will ban violators from the auction. So far, everything has been nice
and
>   civilized. Part of my reasons for optimism. Without the laws to back us
up,
>   we've so far not fallen prey to those with profits in mind and ethics in
the
>   closet. And no I do not mean you there, Mr. Sensitive.
>          It is a way to make clear that they are offering a piece of the
plant
>   to collectors and hybridizers, without offering full rights to the
plant. As
>   we were talking about, some people had trouble with the difference, so
it is
>   something hybridizers are trying to make a little more clear. It's still
>   Honor System, just a little more defined for those who need it. That was
our
>   fourth auction and it was Brian Skaggs who started it when he donated a
>   plant on those terms in our first auction three years ago. I think we've
had
>   at least one plant like that in each one.
>          Trying to make sure they're seldom seen? As in what -- that the
>   nursery folks are some sort of Robin Hoods robbing the rich to make sure
the
>   po' folks get to share in the wealth of those new hostas? Jeez, we're
>   reaching new heights of silliness now. Us hybridizers better get some
more
>   guards for the coach when we pass through Sherwood Forest.
>                                                  .........Bill Meyer
>
>     I know, I know.  I promised to shut up and here I go again.
>
>     I'm not going to argue with Bill again. He finally wrote a message
with
>     no name calling, no manifestos, and no inditements of a whole industry
>     because of the misdeads of a few, so I'm going to assume that's as
good
>     as it gets.  By the way, speaking of as good as it gets, Maryland won
in
>     the first round of March Madness today, not by much, but at least they
>     won.
>
>     I went to the FOoSF site after reading Charlie's book review posted
here
>     and found it very interesting.  Great pictures of some great plants
that
>     are on the way.  The thing I found interesting, that I also saw at the
>     First Look Auction, was the plants that were offered for sale with the
>     request that they not be propagated.  I don't have any problem with
>     that.  I guess it's up to the buyer whether he want's to buy the plant
on
>     those conditions.  But it is certainly a departure from the norm, and
one
>     that I would think will become more common if people find it
acceptable.
>
>     It may be an answer to Bill's lament, or it may be a way to make sure
>     that these plants are seldom seen.  I really don't know.
>
>     What do you think?
>
>     Chick
>
>     Bill Meyer wrote:
>
>       Hi Dan,
>              Funny thing is I heard from some privately that I was too
>
>   optimistic
>
>       in saying that I thought things were changing with regard to
business
>       dealings for the hybridizers. My opinion that I've stated here is
that
>       things seem to be improving, and I attributed it to more open
business
>       dealings and discussion about them. I'll stick with that, and hope
I'm
>
>   not
>
>       breeding discontent either way. I meant that in the past more seemed
to
>
>   have
>
>       been mistreated than not. I think that was clear. I think there is
less
>       happening now. I do feel optimistic, and I hope I'm right.
>              I think the best ways to make some profit from our plants is
>
>   still
>
>       discussed quite a bit. Of course the main concern remains whether a
>
>   nursery
>
>       gets one and puts it into TC without giving us anything in return
>       royalty-wise. The nurseries seem to be doing much less of this kind
of
>
>   thing
>
>       these days and I maintain that the climate seems to be noticeably
more
>       honest now. I see improvement, not a worsening situation. Hans
Hansen
>       voluntarily sent Mildred a royalty when he last TCed 'Spilt Milk'.
If
>
>   that's
>
>       not a good sign, what is? I actually thought it was improved enough
that
>
>   it
>
>       could be discussed without everybody heading for their shotguns.
>              As for suggesting there is big money at stake, I believe the
>
>   numbers
>
>       I talked about were in the $500 - $3000 range, which is appropriate,
I
>
>   think
>
>       for plants that are not mass-market types. That was why $5000 or so
for
>
>   a
>
>       patent seemed pointless. That much can be made if somebody else
doesn't
>       start setting up competition, selling your own plant for less than
you
>
>   are.
>
>              With the TC destroying the value thing, yes, I did mean the
>
>   monetary
>
>       value. It does do that. Websters again -- #2
>       1val.ue \"val-y|\ n 1 : a fair return or equivalent in money, goods,
or
>       services for something exchanged 2 : the monetary worth of a thing;
also
>
>   :
>
>       relative worth, utility, or importance <nothing of ~ to say>
>
>             This is really critical for the various societies whose
operating
>       revenues depend largely on auctions. This was becoming a real
concern
>
>   for a
>
>       while there as auction revenues were dropping rapidly each year.
When
>
>   'My
>
>       Child Insook' brought in $4100 the total AHS auction proceeds were
>
>   around
>
>       $27,000 that year. They've had more than one year since with total
>
>   proceeds
>
>       under $10,000, and no single plants over $1000. 'My Child Insook'
could
>
>   have
>
>       done well for a few years, but somebody TCed it right away, so that
was
>
>   the
>
>       end of its high value for the auctions. Of course private sales
follow
>
>   the
>
>       same rules. My talking about high-end plants losing their value is
>
>   mostly
>
>       the result of my working with the auctions. It's those plants that
are a
>
>   big
>
>       part of keeping the societies running. How long they hold their
value is
>       really no more than how long they can go without somebody TCing
them.
>
>   Once
>
>       they hit the lab, they won't bring in much for auctions anymore.
>
>   Likewise
>
>       for hybridizers selling their own plants. I don't expect to have
enough
>
>   to
>
>       buy a Ferrari someday, but I don't think they should stop making
them
>       because I can't afford one. I think having a few really high-end
plants
>
>   out
>
>       there is a positive thing for everyone. They generate more interest
in
>       hostas if nothing else. Give us all something to talk about.
>
>              I think the market is starting to stabilize some now, getting
>
>   over
>
>       the onslaught of TC. There are enough new plants becoming available
to
>
>   fill
>
>       all the different market niches. There's still no way to tell how
>
>   quickly a
>
>       plant will hold that high OS value (as you mentioned about before),
but
>
>   it
>
>       was starting to seem like once the last Benedict plants and a few
others
>       were down in the $40 range that the auctions might never again see a
>
>   plant
>
>       go over $1000.  I think this is a good trend, and should make the
whole
>       scene much more interesting. Optimism again there. I'm in favor of a
>
>   wide
>
>       and varied marketplace. I really don't think every plant should be
>
>   available
>
>       for $12 as Bob Solberg once discussed in a talk. That may be their
real
>       value in bottom line terms, but there is more to a plant than that.
>
>                                                    ......Bill Meyer
>
>         Bill
>
>         I believe as a spokesperson for the hybridizers you are doing them
a
>         disservice.
>
>         The correct steps to profit from hosta hybridizing are well known
>
>   among
>
>       the
>
>         crowd you and I hang with. Your insistence that most or all hosta
>
>       hybridizers
>
>         are being morally mistreated by the nursery industry is misleading
and
>
>       false.
>
>         You are breeding discontent and it is not a good thing.
>
>         Don't spoil the fun hosta hybridizers are having by constantly
>
>   suggesting
>
>       that
>
>         they should be making big money from their hobby. You are just
setting
>
>       them up
>
>         for a big let down. You and I know it has never been that way and
most
>
>       likely
>
>         never will.
>
>         You have mentioned several times that TC destroys the value of a
>
>   hosta.
>
>       The
>
>         value of a hosta should be measured by the enjoyment a gardener
gets
>
>   from
>
>         growing it, not it's cost. 'My Child Insook' at $100 is no more
>
>   valuable
>
>       than
>
>         'My Child Insook' at $20. Maybe you mean earning potential instead
of
>
>       value.
>
>         Dan and Lu
>
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