Loss of suppliers

Jane McGary janemcgary@earthlink.net
Sun, 19 Sep 2010 10:05:41 PDT
Robin Hansen wrote
>If you occasionally buy a large variety of seed, the search, 
>retrieve, decision, etc. process for using e-bay or whatever else is 
>out there becomes very very tedious.  If you have dial-up as I do, 
>the process is not meaningful in any way. ... Quite frankly, the 
>fastest search is paper at your fingertips, and the printed page 
>shows all sorts of relationships instantly, whereas paging through 
>one link after another is, too soon, incredibly tedious. If you have 
>a bum neck like me, sitting in front of a computer screen is  in no 
>way a necessity and quite often painful.
>Then there is the issue of reliably viable seed.  ...

I agree, and one great advantage of having moved into the city (or at 
least suburb) this past week (exhaustion) is access to a very fast 
internet connection (hope to get back to contributing to the wiki 
soon). I've used seed exchanges for over a quarter-century, and the 
results are indeed mixed. I've grown some great rarities that way, 
but also have been disappointed to receive seed so misnamed that the 
packager should have realized it, to say nothing of the grower. 
(There was somebody who had the habit of sending Nothoscordum 
inodorum to NARGS under the name Leucojum vernum, and last year I 
ordered Sternbergia seed and got what was very likely Habranthus 
tubispathus [well, they're both yellow and flower late...].) Our 
chapter member who packaged Eriogonum seed last fall is well-versed 
in that genus and reported that only one of the donations actually 
contained seed; the rest were all chaff, and if you've ever collected 
Eriogonum seed, you'll know how hard it is to identify the actual 
seeds. However, many of the society exchanges, including our own BX, 
identify the donors, so you can check that and prefer to order seeds 
sent in by names you know.

Robin's lament about tedious websites would be addressed by such 
vendors offering a quickly downloadable list in a format such as a 
Word document or NON-ILLUSTRATED pdf so that the bandwidth-challenged 
(of whom I was a member for as long as the internet existed, until 
this week) can print it if they wish. It's the photos that make 
internet shopping so tedious. And don't even THINK about adding animation.

Well, today I have to drive back out to the country place and bring 
back a carload of potted geophytes -- those that I knew would resent 
being lifted and stored -- nice and heavy now that they've been 
rained on. Then I need to plant the last 30 or 40 crocus species in 
the bulb house and think about completing it with some top dressing. 
Late yesterday I remembered a basket of Sternbergia bulbs that were 
sitting on the shelf; they were trying to flower, poor things, so I 
got them into a semblance of a proper planting site and propped up 
the floral tubes that had emerged with the soil. The fall bloomers 
that were planted 3 weeks ago are flowering nicely, including the 
first bloom of Colchicum longiflorum, which despite its name seems to 
be a tiny one.

Jane McGary
Portland, Oregon. USA

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