"We are Luddites" - Peter George's article in RGQ 70 #1

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Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14
RickR wrote:

I am happy to announce that our Minnesota Chapter now offers free membership to students.  I had picked up on the idea from a mention of same on the SRGC forum's counterpart to this thread.  When the idea was presented to our board, it was an easy sell.  Really, it's not like they could break the bank.  Most will want their newsletters sent through email, so there is no postage or printing.  That even a small percentage would become active members would be well worth it, in our opinion. 

Now we just have to find them...  We're working on that, too.  :)

That's awesome Rick, keep us posted if you get some traction with this new initiative.

Mark McDonough Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5 antennaria at aol.com  

Tim Ingram
Title: Member
Joined: 2011-04-27

I've been thinking about this more, and the ability to use the web to find information is truly awesome. There has always been that debate about how this might influence the writing of books, but the way information is presented in these is so much more 'complete' that I could never see this happening. And books slow you down where the internet speeds you up! A place for both. But as ways of introducing new gardeners to the great pleasures and skills of alpine gardening neither can hold a candle against films that really tell stories of these plants in wild places (some of us might have quite 'wild' gardens too!). I think this has to be the way of introducing a new generation to the ideas of studying these plants and gardening with them, because it would impress much more effectively than any other.

The next step then is is to work out how those who have highly creative film-making talents can be convinced to collaborate with equally creative plantspeople and botanists to make such films. The important thing is to believe that high quality films of this sort would have an audience, and one in addition to the relatively small memberships of the specialist plant societies. There seem very many ways that this could happen, most particularly the immense drama of the places where these plants grow, the sense of exploration and discovery, and the great skills and artistic talents of many who grow them. There are the stories of remarkable individuals like Claude Barr, and in Britain Jim Archibald, which show the wide connections between travelling, studying plants in the wild, collecting seed, growing them in the garden, distributing them and writing about them. The more I have read about such people the more I realise that they hark back to all those famous gardeners of the past and have a much greater importance in our understanding of the world than many others because of the personal connections they make with so many other like minds.

So this is a sort of attempt to use the internet to see if there are film-makers out there who could see possibilities in looking more to natural landscapes and their flora (perhaps with a bit of fauna thrown in!) for inspiration and subject matter. In Britain we do have a very strong tradition of Natural History film-making but even so plants rarely become the focus of attention, which seems an extraordinary oversight!

Dr. Timothy John Ingram Faversham, Kent, UK I garden in a relatively hot and dry region (for the UK!), with an annual rainfall of around 25", winter lows of -10°C and summer highs of 30°C.  

Gene Mirro
Title: Guest
Joined: 2010-02-25

I believe the seed distribution is both a big draw and a big turnoff for members.  On the plus side, growers like me tend to join plant societies that have big seed lists with lots of rare plants.  I don't join to socialize.  I guess that makes me a plant geek, right?  On the minus side, let's say I am trying to build up a stand of a certain rare species.  First, it is almost never offered.  Second, when it is offered, there may be four seeds in the packet, or the seeds may be dead or wrongly identified.  A lot of work goes into sowing these seeds before the problems are revealed.  Given those circumstances, can you see why it has taken me decades to get certain plants established?  Often, I have had to make an end run around the seed lists and find other sources.

I believe the solution is obvious.  If I were running NARGS, SRGC, NALS, etc., I would split off a small group of professional-level growers, and have them propagate rare and difficult plants from seed.  I would then sell the resulting seed at a premium in the distribution.  Advantages:1.  Very rare seed would not be wasted, and would likely result in plants and more seeds;2.  Very rare seed would become much more available to the membership;3.  Rare plants would be preserved;4.  Seeds from this program would be much more viable and true-to-type than seeds from the general membership, and you could put more seeds per packet, so growers like me would gladly pay a premium price;5.  The growers involved would have a sense of ownership and personal pride that would very likely strengthen their commitment to the club; 6.  The general membership will be much happier when they can actually germinate the seeds from the seedlist, especially when they find that the plants are correctly identified. 

This plan could also be extended to not-so-rare plants which are in high demand.  Just get a good grower to make a commitment to grow some specimens in a place where they won't cross with closely related species.  And give the grower credit for his "product".  Advantage list is the same.

I am becoming more and more convinced that preservation should be a serious goal of plant societies, and not just lip service.  You can't distribute rare seed to the general membership and expect to succeed.  Let the experts build up the stock.  The alternative is to watch these plants disappear.

SW Washington state, 600 ft. altitude

Gene Mirro
Title: Guest
Joined: 2010-02-25

I believe the seed distribution is both a big draw and a big turnoff for members.  On the plus side, growers like me tend to join plant societies that have big seed lists with lots of rare plants.  I don't join to socialize.  I guess that makes me a plant geek, right?  On the minus side, let's say I am trying to build up a stand of a certain rare species.  First, it is almost never offered.  Second, when it is offered, there may be four seeds in the packet, or the seeds may be dead or wrongly identified.  A lot of work goes into sowing these seeds before the problems are revealed.  Given those circumstances, can you see why it has taken me decades to get certain plants established?  Often, I have had to make an end run around the seed lists and find other sources.

I believe the solution is obvious.  If I were running NARGS, SRGC, NALS, etc., I would split off a small group of professional-level growers, and have them propagate rare and difficult plants from seed.  I would then sell the resulting seed at a premium in the distribution.  Advantages:1.  Very rare seed would not be wasted, and would likely result in plants and more seeds;2.  Very rare seed would become much more available to the membership;3.  Rare plants would be preserved;4.  Seeds from this program would be much more viable and true-to-type than seeds from the general membership, and you could put more seeds per packet, so growers like me would gladly pay a premium price;5.  The growers involved would have a sense of ownership and personal pride that would very likely strengthen their commitment to the club; 6.  The general membership will be much happier when they can actually germinate the seeds from the seedlist, especially when they find that the plants are correctly identified.  

This plan could also be extended to not-so-rare plants which are in high demand.  Just get a good grower to make a commitment to grow some specimens in a place where they won't cross with closely related species.  And give the grower credit for his "product".  Advantage list is the same.

I am becoming more and more convinced that preservation should be a serious goal of plant societies, and not just lip service.  You can't distribute rare seed to the general membership and expect to succeed.  Let the experts build up the stock.  The alternative is to watch these plants disappear.  Also, preservation and environmentalism are highly saleable among the millenial generation.

SW Washington state, 600 ft. altitude

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