Lee Poulsen wpoulsen@pacbell.net
Tue, 24 Apr 2007 11:57:30 PDT
Jim W,

Thank you for broaching this topic.

First off, I have to second him on his praise of Dell. I have no idea 
how Dell keeps this up and does it so well. One time way back when 
(probably pre-PBS), I, along with a number of others volunteered to 
help sort seeds into little envelopes. I ended up working against the 
clock trying to get my small part done in time, and I was still late as 
I remember it. And recently I was involved in getting some seeds to him 
for a BX from overseas and it still took me a couple of weeks to 
finally get my small part of the task done, and all I had to do was 
re-package and get to a post office to forward the seeds to him. And he 
has kept this up without fail, non-stop, like clockwork for the entire 
time the PBS has been in existence and even before that in a previous 
incarnation ever since he took over from Cathy Craig after she started 
the first BX. And he's done it all for free on a shoe-string budget. 

But secondly, I want to go out on a limb and expand on one of the 
things Jim W. talked about. Yes, I think more people should be donating 
excess seed to the BX, and as I well know, it is often very easy to 
procrastinate or have good intentions to collect some seeds, or collect 
them and send them on to Dell, and then just never get around to doing 
it. So I second Jim's exhortation for more people to get involved in 
doing this. (And I also want to mention my admiration of those who sell 
plants and seeds for a living who from time to time donate material to 
the BX that they could have sold for money themselves. That's so cool.)

But my peeve is, sometimes it seems that some of these seeds disappear 
into a black hole of sorts, especially the rarer species. For some 
extremely hard-to-obtain species, seeds get offered, they're all 
scooped up, and other than sometimes getting a repeat donation from the 
same person in subsequent years' offerings, we almost never see anyone 
donate seeds they got from the plants they grew from those seeds they 
themselves got in an earlier BX. I know Mary Sue has passed-along seeds 
or bulbs from seeds or bulbs she obtained a few years earlier. I know 
Dell has done so and a few others. But the rest seem to disappear into 
a black hole never to be seen again. Now in some cases (and I know this 
well) the seedlings die or never flower or take ages to come into 
maturity. That I understand. But you would think with the number of 
people getting these that at least one or two would be successful and 
be able to pass-along these rare items onto more people.

I guess I get annoyed about this because there are some very rare 
species that have been offered in the past even extending back into the 
pre-PBS days on the old IBS list, and even further back to when the IBS 
had their annual seed (-only) exchange. I've looked at some of the 
offerings they had from the 1990s. And I've never seen some of the rare 
species offered then or even more recently on the PBS, offered anywhere 
ever since then. Surely in all those years one or two people have 
successfully raised them to maturity and could have offered seeds again 
in turn.

Let me just throw out a possible future example. Rob Hamilton and Jim 
Lykos spent their own money and vacation time away from their families 
to fly to the Australian desert after a rare set of rainstorms 
triggered the two native yellow-flowered Crinums into flowering, and 
drove over 2500 km in the late summer heat looking for these 
populations and collecting a substantial amount of seeds which they 
then shared with all of us via the BX. These are two very rare species 
(and I believe the only yellow-flowered Crinums). Dell told us they 
were all snapped up in an instant. Now, yes, a number of us will 
eventually be unsuccessful with them and possibly lose all of the ones 
we try to grow. Even if we manage to get them to maturity, we might not 
be able to get them to bloom. But surely a few of us scattered about 
the world will be able to get some to bloom in some future year and 
even get seeds, enough to share. I would be very disappointed if no one 
in the future ever shares seeds of these rare species in some future 

So hopefully I haven't stepped over the line in my going out on a limb. 
Maybe I'm just being selfish in wanting some things that were offered 
in the past that someone else got and I didn't. But the whole venture 
depends on volunteers, and freely giving and receiving (what Dell 
charges barely covers postage and supplies plus a little extra for the 
organization, and is now the cheapest price for a package of seeds of 
any offered anywhere in the world), and if I made a few receivers feel 
just a tad bit guilty, then I think that's okay. (Besides Mary Sue will 
let me know not to ever do this again if I was wrong...)  ;-)

Anyway, that's my 2 additional cents to add to Jim's post.

--Lee Poulsen
Pasadena, California, USDA Zone 10a

On Apr 24, 2007, at 6:35 AM, James Waddick wrote:

> Dear PBSers -
> 	I was talking 'off-line' with a fellow group member about the
> bulb and seed program BX/ SX and how few people seem to donate and
> how many people seem to benefit from their offerings.
> 	Horticulture is not a big jump from Agriculture. Production
> and propagation are our life blood to an vibrant garden. Sharing this
> bounty is must or many reasons.
> 	I have no idea how many people make requests and benefit from
> the BX -Dell have any idea?
> 	I did wonder about the first sentence above so checked about
> dozen of the past BX offerings (but I don't keep all so this is
> hit-or-miss)
> Since 9/06 (PBX # 127 incomplete to PBX #142) -
> I found that 15 different people donated one time to the BX
> These 5 people donated twice:
> 	Dell S.
> 	Joyce M.
> 	Jim W,
> 	Robert W
> 	Tony A
> And these three donated three times
> 	Lee P
> 	Alberto C
> 	Alberto G
> 	Some of these are donations of one or two items, others have
> donated dozens of different and some quite rare and commercially
> unavailable materials.  It surprised me that there are as many
> different donors as there are. I have great admiration and thanks to
> all donors, but also urge all consumers of these donations to do
> their share and contribute seeds and bulbs in the future.
> 	These donations of seed and their payment helps to keep the
> PBS financially alive.
> 	So this is 1) a reminder of the value of the BX to the group
> and individually
> 	2) a big thanks to all donors
> 	3) a reminder for others to donate seeds and bulbs
> 	4) a gentle question to Dell asking how many people have
> received materials from the BX
> 	5) and mostly a very big THANK YOU to Dell for his work on
> making this service work so well.
> 		And appreciate any comments and thoughts.		Jim W.

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