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Re: Hosta Ramblings---and milking the AHS membership

Dan Nelson wrote:

> Thanks for your response. Below I quote one statement you have made and I
> will go on to explain my stand a little further.

I was hoping you would elaborate, because after reading your first message I was
wondering if you were just trying to start something, which was my fervent hope,
or if you had lost your mind.  I'm going to give you the benefit of a doubt and
assume that you are just trying to start an argument after several months of
nothing going on that was any fun.

> For instance someone that did not know better may think that they need all
> of the named sports of 'Sum and Substance'that are similar to 'Lady Isobel
> Barnett'. If you bought each these

If you bought each of these I would guess that you were either trying to do a
study comparing them for the good of hosta posterity and it was money well
spent, or you were not too bright and have more money than brains.  No
sympathy.  I understand that there are probably too many sports of S&S on the
market, but who gets to decide which one prevails unless it is the market?  Now
we growers could swap them back and forth and do comparisons and agree between
ourselves which one you guys can have.  Unfortunately, if we did that, it would
still be several years before any of you had a variegated S&S.  Maybe that
wouldn't be so bad, but if that's all you want, don't buy them as soon as they
are introduced.  Everyone knows the prices will come down in time.  I do not
know of one grower who has a rule that you have to buy a plant the year it's

> This is not an isolated example of how someone who collects "by name" gets a
> little less than they bargained for.

It's not an example unless someone actually did it.  The question is, did the
people who bought a different sport than the one you think is worth $50.00 get a
bad plant or spend their money foolishly.

> I am a firm believer in mass planting of hostas. When I see some of the
> hosta gardens on tour at the AHS national conventions that have one each of
> a thousand different named hostas I question what motivates the collector. I
> believe it is a game of collecting and counting names.

And what is wrong with that.  To me, your argument could also apply to
collecting stamps.  Why go to all the trouble and expense, when all you have to
do is go down to the post office and get a few pages of love stamps and paste
them in an album?  They sure are pretty.

Your garden should be planted primarily for you.  If you like mass plantings, so
much the better for you.  But if the attraction of hostas is their infinite
variety and if the fun of collecting is part of the hobby, just as it is in
stamps, coins, commemorative plates and beenie babies, then mass plantings are
not the objective any more that people collect stamps to make sure they can
always mail a letter.

> If the same money
> were spent on multiples of outstanding hostas that have proven garden
> performance there is no doubt in my mind that this "garden" would be much
> better looking.

If you are serious, then you are just no fun.  Are you really suggesting that we
would all enjoy hostas just as much if we all went down to Wal Mart and bought
10 each of a few good proven names.  Have you discussed this theory with Alex?
Cause I know he's a firm believer in limiting you hosta garden to the tried and
true.  Hell, we wouldn't even need a hosta society, any more than we need a
juniper society or a rudbeckia 'Goldstrum' society or a sedum 'Autumn Joy'
society.  I am totally convinced that you sat there writing this stuff with a
big grin on your face wondering who was going to be first to jump on you with
both feet.  Well, I wasn't first, but you can always count on me to pile on.

> This is just as well
> because in time at least 75% of these new introductions will disappear from
> the trade because they are not worth growing.

What makes them not worth growing?  If two hostas are similar, which one is not
worth growing?  Why do we need Paul's Glory and Inniswood when a mass of Gold
Standard is such a sight to behold.  If you are unwise enough to buy two similar
hostas because you didn't have sense to find out that they were similar before
you bought them, maybe you could just plant them together and pretend that they
were a mass planting.  Have you lost your mind?

> Daylilies have been down this
> path already

And it doesn't seem to me that the world is any worse off.  I'm not a big
daylily fan, but I can sure see that many of today's introductions are much more
interesting than the ones I bought ten years ago.

> I have to admit to not being very interested in "supporting the channel of
> distribution".

I doubt than any of my customers are interested in supporting me.  If I'm wrong,
please let me know and I will send you a thank you note with your next
extravagant purchase.  Most of my customers send me money because they want what
I have and have decided that it is worth what they have to send me in order to
get it.

Are some hostas overpriced.  Probably.  Just like some cars are overpriced, and
some shirts, and Diet Pepsi when it's not on sale, and everything in the Land's
End catalog.

> PS. I notice your point of view is that of someone who wants to make money
> selling hostas while mine is that of someone who wants to get the most
> hostas for their money. I have little desire to support "price skimmers".

I guess fair prices depend on your point of view.  I actually have lawyers come
in here wondering how a plant could cost twenty dollars.  How could a 6-pack of
Pepsi cost $4.69?  How the hell could lunch at Berger King cost six bucks? And
has anyone checked lately on what it costs to get a tree removed????!!!!!!  Holy
cripes?  You guys got a lot of nerve.

Well, you started it.  (I'd put one of those big smiley faces here but I can't
remember how to make them.)


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