Luring in younger bulb growers

Ina Crossley
Fri, 18 Oct 2013 12:51:53 PDT
Thankyou Jane!  In all the discussions this point had not been 
mentioned. And great that membership is growing!!!!

You have put it all so well.


Ina Crossley
Auckland New Zealand zone 10a

On 19/10/2013 8:31 a.m., Jane McGary wrote:
> To answer Ina's question, PBS membership (the paid membership, not
> the much larger number who subscribe to this discussion list) has
> been increasing slowly for at least the past three years and
> presently stands at around 380. The number of new members slightly
> exceeds those who drop out annually. Most new members are recruited
> via the PBS website, often attracted by the archived BX offering
> lists. Sometimes they use the Contact feature to ask a question,
> specific or general. Most of these come first to me, and I answer
> them if I can, or I post them to this list so others can answer them.
> The inquirers often join PBS as a result.
> An aging demographic is a problem for almost all plant societies and
> is much discussed. There are many recognized causes. Young people
> today mostly move around a lot, especially the well-educated
> population who typically become interested in rare plants, so they
> may not garden. We have obvious exceptions, such as outgoing PBS
> president Nhu Nguyen, who has been maintaining a large collection in
> containers until his recent job-related move to Minneapolis, and
> indeed myself (I had a flower garden in the back yard of my appalling
> rental house when I was an undergraduate, and I built my first rock
> garden outside my utility-free Alaskan cabin with rocks stolen from a
> road construction site). If you love plants enough, you'll find a
> way. Then once people get a house, they may also acquire children,
> and the plant club loses them to Youth Soccer (football) for years
> and years. Finally, there are many very specialized groups focused on
> a single genus, and I think they're suffering most of all; PBS is
> wise to appeal to such a wide range of regions and specialties.
> I think the best solution to this problem is just to reach out in
> whatever way we, as individuals as well as organizations, can find.
> I'm plotting right now to influence the new garden writer for our
> metropolitan newspaper, who admits she doesn't know much but has to
> prepare features for novice gardeners. A few weeks ago the young
> woman who cut my hair was telling me about her cactus and succulent
> collection, grown on an apartment balcony, and I realized she had the
> right instincts and told her so. Our rock garden group has monthly
> meetings that are open to the public at no cost (unlike the upscale
> Hardy Plant Society), and we produce enough door prizes to make sure
> visitors usually get one. When I moved into my new home three years
> ago, one of the first things I did was build an instant rock garden
> and a bulb bed right along the street and fill them with plants I
> knew would perform reliably and attract the eyes of passers-by --
> something interesting every day of the year, and mostly plants that
> aren't well known. (The rare plants and the ones I suspect will die
> are in the tufa beds and covered Mediterranean house in the BACK
> yard.) I've even considered getting one of those brochure holders
> used at houses for sale and stocking it with recruiting brochures for
> our rock garden society. In fact, streetside "visual proselytizing"
> is a longstanding practice among rock gardeners, and bulb growers can
> use it too (it's harder to steal a bulb than a saxifrage, too).
> Jane McGary
> Portland, Oregon, USA
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