Bulb lists/forums

Jane McGary janemcgary@earthlink.net
Fri, 25 Sep 2009 11:12:04 PDT
Mary Sue wrote,
>When someone suggested changing this list to a forum earlier this
>year, it was pointed out that there is already an excellent  forum
>for bulbs sponsored by the Scottish Rock Garden club and expertly run
>by Maggi Young.

I participated in the SRGC forum for a while but quit because I felt 
there were too many posts that lacked content. The SRGC itself is a 
valuable organization to belong to because its journal (published 
twice a year) is sometimes of great interest, and it has a very good 
seed exchange if you're willing to jump through the seed-importing hoops.

I don't belong to any of the single-genus online discussion groups, 
but friends who do often report interesting information from them, 
and anyone can look at their archives.

Regarding regional vs. global discussion groups, I think there's a 
need for both. Moreover, we should not jump to the conclusion that 
the North Atlantic rim is a bad place to grow bulbs. Alpine and 
continental steppe species, bulbous and otherwise, often grow very 
well at high latitudes where they experience the solid winter 
dormancy for which they have evolved. The Rock Garden Quarterly 
(NARGS) has featured botanic gardens in such places as Newfoundland 
and Norway that host wonderful arrays of species, including some 
bulbs, and no one can be unaware of the success enjoyed by Janis 
Ruksans and his colleagues in Latvia (though he does grow many kinds 
in greenhouses).

As for language, English is, by default, the lingua franca of the 
Internet. As a linguist and native speaker of English I have to feel 
guilty about that, but it's a fait accompli. (Notice in the previous 
sentences how handy English is at absorbing useful phrases from other 
languages -- though unlike the British, we Americans generally 
pronounce them in "foreign.")  Nevertheless, I think people who have 
a passive ("reading") knowledge of English but feel uncomfortable 
trying to write it should be able to post their thoughts and 
information in the most broadly accessible language of which they 
have active command. I expect most of us can read Spanish and/or 
French, and many of us can read German; and if you know English and 
German you can probably read Dutch, or if you know SPanish and a 
little Latin you can read Italian. There are bilingual dictionaries 
online if you don't happen to have an 8-foot shelf of them near your 
computer (OK, I do, but I've always needed them). I admit these 
observations are Eurocentric and limited to languages using the roman 
alphabet, and I also feel guilty about not having learned Chinese 
when I was young enough to memorize their writing system. Who would 
have known, thirty years ago, that we would have an Internet with 
tempting Chinese pages -- some of them with pictures of plants?

Jane McGary
Northwestern Oregon, USA

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