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UNYHS Hosta Sitters Program

Also sent for the benefit of all Local Hosta societies...from the Upstate New
York Hosta Society
 << Who purchases the initial Hosta (For Your Hosta Sitter Program?), members
or the society?  If it is the members, do they sign up for different price
ranges? >> 
 At each of our summer meetings, members are encouraged to bring potted
divisions from their own collection to donate to the club for the club's
Auction.  The Hosta sitter program has first dibs on what is donated.  If the
variety isn't in the Hosta Sitter program yet, the plant is set aside for that
purpose.  Since we do the auctions regularly, there also are funds generated
to buy plants to put in the program from mail order wholesalers at cost or
from local growers at near wholesale.  We also have had donations from
individuals in the past from other clubs and due to a mix-up in shipping, we
also had a generous donation from Q&Z Wholesale nursery.  So...the plants are
obtained by an assortment of sources.
 <<Is there specific planting and care requirements such as soil amendments
and regular fertilizing?>>  
 No, we don't put any restrictions on it.  We ask that the "Sitter" simply use
their greenest thumb and lots of TLC...that's part of what makes the whole
thing more interesting...
 Distribution of plants is done via a raffle ticket system.  Members who
already have a sitter, are given a pink raffle ticket and members that who
have not been given the charge of a "Sitter Plant" get a green ticket.  We
first draw from the bowl of green tickets to make sure that everyone in that
bowl at a given meeting, goes home with a plant to care for.  We always have
had a few plants left after that, so then we go to the Pink Ticket bowl, and
it continues to be random to see who goes home with another "Sitter Plant".
Eventually we'll need a third bowl to get members a second plant that aren't
so lucky...Members select the variety they want off the table as their numbers
are drawn...its amazing to see what goes first...Last meeting many of the $5
plants were selected before varieties like Blue Ice and Aristocrat.  Beauty
really is in the eyes of the beholder...
 <<We would really like to get people more involved.  Any other ideas or
practices of your local that you would like to share would be great.>>  
 The whole thing really takes some time to get going.   I was encouraged to
form the group by a couple of our other Plant Societies, so I recruited my 17
year old son, we did all the preliminary work and became the Official
Cofounders, and our first meeting was held on September 21, 1996.  We are now
120 members strong and our committee system is just starting to work.  It
takes time and patience and a few of us have put a lot of time and commitment
into our success.  I'm a Horticulturist by education and practice working as a
Pesticide Specialist, but our members come from a diverse background.  Most
just like to be Gardeners, but of course we have a few dabbling at breeding
and then there are a few that are truly addicted...they have to get them all!!
 I hope this answers your basic questions...the info on our web page goes into
more detail (www.geocities.com/~Hosta2)...feel free to contact me again if you
have other specific questions.
 Best wishes,
 Dave Jennings, UNYHS
 Where some areas around us will see the 30's tonight!!
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