RIP IBS - comments

Jane McGary
Sat, 27 Apr 2013 12:02:25 PDT
John Wickham wrote
>Horticultural and botanical organizations like IBS are facing 
>demographic changes that are proving difficult to address. 
>Diminishing membership is affecting lots of plant societies, garden 
>clubs, and botanic gardens. ...
>Are there any national gardening or botanical organizations that are 
>looking at this issue? It might be time for some coordinated efforts 
>to attract more interest.

For several years I urged and offered formal proposals to the North 
American Rock Garden Society to begin efforts to merge with some 
small, specialist plant groups that were moribund or already defunct, 
suggesting "interest groups" similar to those included in the Alpine 
Garden Society. There was never any action on these proposals, even 
though leading members of a couple of the small groups thought it was 
a good idea. Most specialist plant societies are experiencing decline 
as their membership ages and young people don't come in to replace 
those who depart (one way or another). The PBS is too small a group 
to organize separate subgroups, but this discussion list allows us to 
focus on topics of interest to us and quickly pass over those that are not.

Certainly the PBS's BX is a wonderful resource and the society owes 
Dell Sherk a tremendous debt of gratitude for his work on it. Those 
of us who grow most of our plants from seed have an easier (though 
slower) time acquiring new species, but many people don't have the 
patience to do this and can get a lot of interesting material from 
the BX at very reasonable cost.

I think one of the main reasons the IBS declined, aside from 
personalities, was that it focused on the publication of Herbertia, a 
scholarly journal that was, no doubt, troublesome to edit and 
expensive to print. Herbertia published much valuable material over 
the years and I treasure the few issues I acquired as a member of 
IBS. I quit because my high annual dues were not generating even 
annual issues of Herbertia.

Jane McGary
Portland, Oregon, USA

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