What I said was that
I've heard that from people. Recently I was at a friend's retail nursery and
this guy didn't know too much about hosta, especially the newer ones. He asked
me if I'd help him decide what to order from the wholesalers. He would get to
'Fire and Ice', say, and ask if that sounded good. I would tell him that he
already had 'Loyalist' and that it was the same plant. He scratched
his head. When this happened for the third time, he asked why they are selling
the same plant with so many different names. I told him I didn't know. So, I put
that question to you and Chick. You could buy some 'Satisfaction' in
wholesale, or you could have your admittedly similar plant TCed for about the
same price. Which do you choose and why? Both you and Chick know that some
people will buy it thinking it must be different somehow or you wouldn't have
given it it's own name. Some will do so because of your good reputations,
believing that you wouldn't try to fool them with a lookalike.
Then there's the
issue of price. If 'Satisfaction' is retailing for an average $20, would you
introduce yours at $50? $40? Or $15? Would the catalog description say
that the new plant is probably identical to 'Satisfaction'? Or would it say
that it's a spectacular gold-margined wonder that will be eveything a collector
could want and not mention the parentage? I've seen the latter, not from
either you or Chick, or I wouldn't be discussing it with you. I will say that it
is unethical to sell the same plant under a different name without making it
clear to the buyer that that's what you're offering. Remember the furor a few
years ago when a Dutch nursery put a different name on 'Halcyon' and offered it
at a higher price?
I've heard much of
this from people less knowledgable about the current market. They are out there
and they're not happy about buying 25 different new hosta and finding out that
they really only bought 15. OK they didn't do their homework. They are offended
and they feel they've been fooled. As retailers, you probably think about how
many new ones you'd like to offer next year vs. how many older ones. Why would
you decide to offer a lookalike if, as Chick says, there are plenty of really
good new plants easily available?
If your 'August
Moon' sports to a green center, your sieboldiana 'Elegans' a gold edge, and your
'Hyacinthina' a white edge, and these plants look, even to your own eye, very
similar to 'Abiqua Moonbeam', 'Frances Williams', and 'Francee', would you name
and sell them too? There has to be a point where you leave it in the garden and
sell something else.
Chick and Bill, I've been following your
discussion with sharp interest. You
see, I've been keeping an eye on
a green center/gold edged 'Piedmont Gold'
sport since '92.
Is it similar to 'Satisfaction' and 'Tyler's Treasure'? Yep.
But is it
identical? Beats me. And it's totally
impractical to purchase each to grow
side by side for another 8-10 years
to find out.
From what Bill is saying, if I name, register and
market it, I'm simply
trying to pull the wool over the public's eye by
trying to convince them this
is something "new"...a thought that could
easily be found offensive. (Bill,
I'm not picking on you or your
thoughts, I just don't know how you can second
guess the intentions behind
my actions) Are you suggesting I toss the plant
onto the compost
pile? Sorry, I don't see that happening. Or are you
I name it 'Satisfaction' or 'Tyler's Treasure' without being
certain it's identical? To do that would be rather unethical and
the potential of only adding more confusion down the road. But if so,
which would I name it? Perhaps I could name a third of them
another third 'Tyler's Treasure', and the last third
Naa, there would be no treasure to find
satisfaction with in that option
Instead, I think
I'll come up with my own name, register it, and yes, then
market it...and hope no one thinks I'm trying to pull a fast one.