I'm a newbie, please bear with my note

Crystal Fisher crystalfisher912@gmail.com
Thu, 21 Feb 2019 17:12:09 PST

I knew when I joined that I wouldn’t recognize a lot of bulbs from the west coast. So, it didn’t come as any surprised. I only have a few that I watch very carefully here in Central Texas.

As a Bell County Master Garden who is in charge of and supervising the Seed Saving group - from which is springing forth from the 5,000 seeds that I’ve turned over to them (thank God they didn’t make be bring them home), I’ve come to learn quite a bit, up close and personal.

I’ll probably pay closer attention to all the emails once summer gets closer. And, likewise, this will probably be my only year to be included in your membership, which is not a problem. However, I’d like to make a suggestion. Of course, it’s probably something you already have in place and my few words of wisdom will lack the punch they need to be heard. But, here goes.

As I supervise our Newbies who graduated at the end of last Spring, I’m very away that they all left to go home and work in their own yard (which I co-chairing our large greenhouse). But, this year, being in charge of the seeds, I’m seeing that it’s only Newbies who volunteered. Many because they are still so intimidated by the more mature Master Gardeners that helping to stuff envelopes is probably something they felt very secure in doing. After watching and supervising, I’m personally taking it on to offer a tour through properties nearby for one reason or another… and they are jumping at it…. all 8 of them. And tomorrow, they’ll hear about the NPSOT meetings above the Temple Library. The Native Plant Society of Texas is a remarkable organization. Lo and behold, this month’s meeting is a Seed Swap. We have some awesome native seeds that many of us are unfamiliar with… which leads me to this note. 

I’d like to be able to tell them about you and all the marvelous bulbs that they are unaware even exist. So, here is my suggestion. As a means of increasing your membership, who don’t you offer a ONE month FREE subscription so the can come in and wander around your website and later… determine if they want to join for the year. I don’t mind tell telling them that our heat and yearly drought won’t even begun to be discussed by everyone till this summer. But, by then, I’ll be familiar enough which how this website works that I expect the be able to get my money’s worth for the year in all of 3-4 months. This is the challenge that I want you to consider.

Why not offer one FREE month, any month of anyone’s choosing, so that, like my self, they can get into and dig around to see what the possibilities are and see if they might want to join for the year. Being Newbies, they’d probably be so intimidated that they’d hesitate to even check out you out on the web. I did that before I joined. But, IF I could advise them to follow my path, become familiar with all the bulbs that the rest of you can grow and just wait till the heat arrives, just maybe they can figure out by then, that they’ll want to join to. Beyond my own experience I can’t tell them any more. But, I think it’s something to consider. I know they can get in and wander around, just like I did. But, until you have access to your whole website, no holes barred, then you can’t truly appreciate all the emails from people who “live on the other side of the US from Texas”.  After all, it wouldn’t be something you’d even have to repeat. Why not try it for a couple of years given it a little bit of press to read to familiarize themselves with how it will work… that you’ll never know whether you would have garnered a larger subscription base. After all, I have no idea how many you have now or how many are even from Texas.

All I’m suggesting is that you think about it. I’d sure love to be able to direct people to your site who would love to grow bulbs and get their feet wet. I found that my Newbies have no idea about the bulbs they can grow. I mentioned the Rain Lily, zephranthes, yesterday. One lady spoke up because she already has a yard of Rain Lies. And I stopped her right there because I knew she had no idea about what she was talking about. Yes, it was the natives with the very small blooms. But, then, they all started listening… and I told them that I’d give them each a couple of bulbs. Mine are so large, I’m stills search the internet to find out just how large Zephranthes Drumondii can/will grow. In the meantime, when they get their first two bulbs, I’ll be giving them all sorts of instructions. I’ve already mesmerized them because they thought it took rain to make them bloom. Bless their little hearts. 

So, I’ll help them grow their first real ones and mother hen till I know they’ve have blooms and how to start those seeds and what success they re having with their first Rain Lilies. Then, I’ll have to stop working on my yard that truly needs my help and lead them through a bulb chipping class. To see their first efforts of a chipped bulb setting forth life will introduce them to a whole new area that they knew nothing about. And then we’ll discuss Crinums and everything else that comes to mind part from the basic Paperwhite Narcissus, Oxbloods, long past the Grape Hyacinths into a much broader range of bulbs that they never knew existed… and this is when they need have joined months earlier so they can truly decide if they want to pursue the unknown.

And therein lies my humble suggestion… for what it’s worth. Thanks for listening. I missed the Bulb sale or swap or whatever it was. Wouldn’t it be nice if one of the old timers would take me under their wing and get me farther along than I am… much like what I’ll be doing for our Newbies. While I graduated in ’06, I can do my own research. But, sometimes nothing beats actually talking to someone mentoring my humble level.

Thanks for being so kind to read my note as you shake your head over my equally humble suggestions. And thanks for being there when I’m ready to come back in a few months and get serious about digging around in here when it’s so hot that only my salvias are growing that they’ll give me the needed break to spend the time on the internet. (BTW, I really do have more drought tolerant plants and varieties that just salvias… just a bit of garden humor there).

Thanks. I’ll see you guys again come summertime.
Crystal  Fisher
Temple, Texas
Bell County Master Gardener. Class of ‘06
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