Bulbs for microcredit business - reinventing the wheel

Diane Whitehead voltaire@islandnet.com
Sun, 03 Dec 2006 13:41:13 PST
I don't consider the bubble has been burst by the knowledge that  
there are large wholesale bulb nurseries in India already. There have  
been for a long time.  (I remember buying from Darjeeling about 50  
years ago).

Just think about some of the plants here in North America that are  
not available commercially at all, or perhaps only from one specialty  
nursery.  I have an alphabetized book of wanted plants, and some have  
been on the list for many decades.

   I remember visiting a gardener in the U.S. who had a plant of  
Peony Joseph Rock.  That was a plant that had a wait-list, and cost  
almost $200 (half a month's takehome pay for me at the time.)

  Some plants don't propagate easily, but a careful grower can make a  
modest living growing one of them. Often those of us buying plants  
don't realize the source is only one person. When that grower dies,  
those plants are not available any more.  I can think of a number  
here in my city that used to be available and are no longer - things  
like double bloodroot, Shortia, Cassiope.

Plants that take a long time from seed and don't make offsets are  
difficult to buy - think of Erythroniums.  A slow-growing bulb might  
fit into a small vegetable garden, with food coming off the top while  
the bulbs increased in size below. I think slow-growing bulbs are  
more suited - fast-growing bulbs are probably grown in large fields  

So - find some wonderful plants that the big companies won't grow  
because they won't fit into their growing schedule, figure out how  
they can be grown on a smallholding, and set up your plan.  There  
will need to be research and training as the plants will be tricky to  

Diane Whitehead

Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

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