Time travel and ancient plants

Jane McGary janemcgary@earthlink.net
Mon, 12 Nov 2007 09:54:38 PST
Bill (and we're all glad he escaped from his recent accident unharmed!) wrote:

>This can serve as a reminder to all present-day breeders, and collectors of
>rare plants, to make sure the fate of their collections is provided for in
>their Will, as so often family members have little appreciation of the 
>significance of what we do.   Also during one's life, try to distribute
>worthwhile plants as much as possible.

Although I don't hybridize plants, I do grow a lot of very scarce ones, and 
I've done both the things Bill suggests. Not all my plants make it onto my 
annual surplus list, but I try to send very special ones to people who live 
in more hospitable climate zones where the plants are in less danger from 
cold winters. In two cases, I found I was the only recipient of certain 
seed collections who was still growing the species, and I was glad to learn 
this so I could get them to specialists. I also have some mystery plants 
(iris, tulip) from Halda collections of some years ago that I wish would 
increase so I could split them up.

Another thing I'm planning to do is to transfer a lot of my stock to a 
younger friend who is a skilled professional grower building a nursery. 
Then when I finally abandon my rural lifestyle for a smaller place in the 
city, the bulbs will still be available to the public.

I can't understand why some gardeners are miserly with their plants. It 
seems to contradict the love of nature that brings us to gardening. It is 
sometimes anxiety-provoking to send off a bulb to an address where I think 
it won't prosper, but who knows? The recipient may be ten times the grower 
I am, and Calochortus may flourish in Michigan.

Jane McGary
Northwestern Oregon, USA

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