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Do you care ?

Posted by roblksd (My Page) on
Tue, Aug 16, 11 at 15:13

Consumers always have to power to control the market for any product. Does it matter to you where your tc'd hostas come from ? Holland, India, China, Singapore. I know its legal but is it ok with you if a big grower just puts a plant into tc production without any concern for the hybridizer. Most hybridizers can't afford to put patents on plants. What if someone donated a plant to the AHS auction and the winner lived overseas and just bought it to put it in TC production. Would you still buy it ? I believe ther are simple solutions to protect the hybridizer and it starts with the consumer. I don't wonder why there are so many unemployed people in the U.S. I know why ! I would appreciate your comments. Rob


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Do you care ?

Hi Rob. Yes, it does matter to me. I buy from only a few, although I didn't buy any this spring. Hope to get more this fall, though! You are (if I am guessing right) one of those from whom I buy.

I am not the most knowledgeable of gardeners, so I need to be able to trust those from whom I buy. It seems to me to be a little like repecting the artistic creations of writers, composers, etc., but for some reason, hybridizers' new plants are not considered in the same way. I did not realize it was expensive to obtain a patent. I do not buy from large growers/box stores.

Thanks for the heads up on TC. Basically, even if someone buys something for TC production, I wouldn't be buying from them anyway.

I wish I had unlimited funds to spend on the hostas you offer. I know most people on this forum want you and the other small operations to flourish and grow. Hope you can hang in there until things turn around. Hasn't been an easy year, but I do hope it gets much, much better.

Cynthia


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That's actually a big, big question. Where does you car come from? Your TV, your computer? Are you eating food imported from China? Are your clothes made in Pakistan?

We all need to start looking at the labels on everything and chose items made in the USA and food grown closest to home. I would rather pay my neighboring farm for veggies than a multinational conglomerate. I would rather a cotton shirt from a product grown down south and put together in NYC than one made by near slave labor in some far away land.

As for tissue cultures I have not knowingly bought any. I do have some box store plants that I bought over 20 years ago. I shy away from that stuff now. I can't afford the prices of the latest and greatest anyway. I have to wait a few years. Just the same as I wait for the DVD to come out instead of going to the movies. Just can't justify the cost.

I like hostas but I'm not a hosta nut. I have a ton of daylilies but I haven't spent a small fortune for one plant. I do admit to paying $5 a seed from time to time but that's rare too.

Read the labels. Buy American. It will help with jobs and the deficit. And remember to vote! Best way to get rid of those arguing fools.

Back to lurking....


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RE: Do you care ?

My TC's are from Walters and Q&Z. I do not like the fact that people patent hostas that are not their own creations. Proven Winners is doing it on Empress Wu which was created by Skaggs. The creator should keep the rights to their creation.

What it comes down to is who has the money and the lawyers to take credit for something someone else did.


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RE: Do you care ?

  • Posted by hey_j 6 Dayton Oh. (My Page) on
    Tue, Aug 16, 11 at 17:26

The American soul has been sold abroad by those who have made that decision for us obviously poor stupid creatures who cannot make such decisions for ourselves and having trusted they have our best interest in mind. Dare we question such decisions, we find out quickly that they are NOT working for us but rather we are their subjects and as such we are to accept all they do without question or qualm or be called extremists and radicals.

I believe it is too late to turn things around. I believe we are just beginning to pay for taking our freedoms too much for granted and being too uninformed and too trusting that those who are in the place of making such decisions have our best interest at heart--they OBVIOUSLY, do not!

I do care and I'd much prefer to buy American-made and that includes hybridized and tc'd hosta! Unfortunately, our funds are being sapped and that sapping will undoubtedly be beyond our ability to stop as it ramps up and the hard-earned money we worked for, to provide for ourselves and our own and those we have personally chosen to help will be handed out willy nilly to any and all standing with their hands out, demanding it and offering nothing in return. Not that it's not already that way--I've stood behind too many who are much better dressed than I, with a cartload of foods we buy sparingly and swiping government cards to pay for it all! Then, I've watched as one in particular, strode out and climbed into a black Mercedes and drove off with me standing with my mouth open!!

Am I bitter--maybe a bit, but I am not surprised these days have come!

I suspect this thread won't last long here, as even the on-topic question may hit a nerve of many of us on all basis with the idea of all things *American* becoming a rare commodity and in all ways anathema!


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Hi Rob,sounds like someone got burned by donating a plant to a good cause.
As far as buying hostas from overseas,I would not do it.You hear to many stories about lack of testing for the virus.But when you buy a hosta ,how do you know where it came from.Most have a plant tag and that is it.I see that a lot of plants at auctions require that the plant not be TC'd.Is this paperwork basically worthless and or does it not apply outside of U.S?
With a lot of people wanting the newest and latest plant I can see how a big grower would not hesitate to put it into TC process.It is sad to see that big growers are not respecting the rights of hybridizers.
I was not aware of this being a problem.Too bad because hybridizing is a slow process and you hate to think that somebody can just take your plant and start TCing it.Phil


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hey frank

Proven Winners is doing it on Empress Wu which was created by Skaggs. The creator should keep the rights to their creation.

===>>>>
i happen to know walters pays big money to the developers [but i dont know on this one]... are you suggesting that walters did NOT pay brian or virginia????

or are you just, off the cuff, bashing big-hort corp????

i dont know .. i am simply asking ....

ken

ps: hey rob.. did you ever write down your lakeside adventure.. driving 800 miles with her plants in a trailer .. WITH NO BRAKES on either vehicle ... in a hurricane????? lol ... he had us in stitches at hosta college one year ...


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  • Posted by babka 8b Northern CA (My Page) on
    Tue, Aug 16, 11 at 18:44

I suppose the only choices the hybridizer has is to pay to get a patent, or pay to get the plant tc'd, or to share the plant only with trusted friends.

As a consumer, I have no way of knowing who sent a hosta to a tc lab to be chopped up, or where the lab is located. If a hosta is registered and in the database, I can see who the hybridizer is, but not any farther down the chain. Do even retailers know where the tc labs get their plants?

As far as coming from outside the US...Some varieties are only available from labs overseas. As long as they are putting out clean, virus free plants, I don't have a problem. Some labs are better than others, (and that includes ones here in the US)and I trust that my retailers know what they are getting.

-Babka


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I only know that Proven Winners is doing it. I do not know if they paid anyone. When I buy TC's we have to pay the royalty fee if it applies. With Proven Winners we also have to pay extra for their PW tag and PW pot in addition to the royalty fee.

Not bashing, just stating what I do know. I bought my Empress Wu pre-patent.


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The problem(s) are much bigger than just TC hostas.

On another large forum, I am the soils and composting moderator. I can't begin to tell you how many times I suggest that someone get a certain nutrient or supply, and it may not be something that is mass-market. 80% of the time I get back a new posting: "I can't find it". I ask where they went to get it, and the answer is almost always the big-box stores. "Did you check the garden centers in your area, and ask them to get it for you, if it's not in stock?" is my reply. The percentage of people that don't even know where the garden centers in their own town are is shocking. Some people are even indignant that we would suggest something that they can't get at a big-box store.

Buying locally or from independent web suppliers keeps our neighbors employed, offers access to things that aren't mass-market, and offers suppliers that care more about quality than "new low, low price".


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It is a very big question that I know can be very emotional. I lurk often here and say little because I have upset people with my comments in the past.I am being careful with my words so I do not cross any real or imaginary lines. Phil, I did not get burned but a friend of mine did and it is very easy to trace the source. It has stopped me from making some donations. I have made it a point to do all my current and future production in the U.S. It does cost more. Percentage wise it is a big difference. In reality it is a small amount. Our economy is very simple. The more one dollars exchanges hands the greater the economy and the less hand outs will be required.I have had some long conversations about this with other hybridizers. Some are not looking for compensation. I think most just gave up trying and settled to just know their plant made someone happy.It is just not right the way hybridizers are robbed in the current system. Most are forced to accept whatever one of the growers will give them there are no negotiations. Mary told me how she would grow a plant, evaluate it, divide it all over an 8-10 year period then start selling it. A year or two later it is being sold by one of the wholesalers and it would kill her business for the plant. Who would do this ? This was being done by people that are we all know or know of. I have been told by some of the growers that they can do whatever they want. My point is that legally they can without the patent but should any of us as consumers support what is a moral theft. I am not crying over sour grapes but with everything the way it is in this country we have to start caring and stop supporting greed. I think the AHGA should have a voluntary moratorium to protect hybridizers for a period of 10 years. I think the AHS should have a list of plants that are "hybridizer approved" to certify that they were not "stolen". I think the AHGA should require a place of origin notification just like everything else sold. The big grower in Michigan has most of their plants started overseas. It is similar to a soda / soft drink maker using corn syrup instead of sugar to save 1/2 a cent per can. Ask your retailer where the plant came from. Ask if the hybridizer is being compensated. If you don't support the source they will go extinct. Rob


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I think the problem is in your last sentence...how do we,as customers with no knowledge of the business end of this, buy plants we SHOULD buy? And you speak of greed as being the motivating factor, if a retailer is involved in shady practices, how can we trust him to be honest as to where he got the plant?

I always try to buy American but darn it, sometimes you just can't find it! This is what our American companies have done to us.

chris


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Rob,

Thanks for the great LS plants, BTW. Feel free to add some pics to the Lakeside thread while you are here.

I have asked my local retailers, some don't know (I don't buy from them) some tell me Walters, or Q and Z. AFAIK, Walters and Q&Z do their TC here in this country. I don't want to buy plants that are growing in the fields in Holland. Nothing against the Dutch, but the likelihood of HVX goes up if they are in those fields.

Many people put disclaimers such as "No propagation or distribution of this plant is allowed without permission of the donator" in their Auction listings. Is that disclaimer being dishonored? If so, then perhaps it is a violation of a contract.

As for patents, I know those are expensive, but I don't see the law changing anytime soon or the AHS taking any action. I must say I was very surprised to find out that hybridizers get little or no money for introductions that have not been patented. I do think that it's wrong that someone could TC a plant without the hybridizer's permission. That should not be allowed. But I don't know who can prevent it or enforce it.

Steve


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Chris, I think the ideas in my follow up could help the hosta consumer make good choices. The AHGA includes the three biggest producers in the country.If they improved their moral standing then when it comes to hosta the consumer could make informed decisions, and hybridizer would not be rolled over by big business. The bottom line is the consumer has the power. If no one would have bought a tv made overseas while they were still being made in the US then they would have stopped sending TV's made overseas to the U.S. We have all been caught up in the "great deal". I was watching the news today and they were trying to suggest that because most of the money made on Chinese produced goods stays here that it is somehow a good thing. I read that the countrys largest employer Wal____t make's 90 cents on every dollar. We all should be ashamed that we for the sake of getting a "deal" that we allow poor impoverished people be treated like caged animals. We as consumers through our purchases condone the poor wages, work conditions and humans being treated as expendable parts on an assembly line. Wealth is being concentrated more and more. That is what is destroying our economy. We need dollars to exchange hands not just to go into a few pockets. This is the greatest country in the world and we should act like it. Your purchasing power drives the change.


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RE: Do you care ? Yes I Do

Steve, read my first follow up. The AHGA includes Walters, Q anz Z and most others. They have made the choice to do whatever they want. Walters has most of there TC work done overseas. They do very little in house. Q and Z I am not sure. Q and Z had 20-30 Lakesides in TC the last few years. I know Mary did not get anything. That was their business decision. The industry has very few major players so it would be very easy to inform the consumer via thier website, tags and point of sales marketing to let the consumer know the birth lineage of the plant and that the hybridizer's work rights were adhered to. It would be no different than the labeling on just about everything we buy. Just about everyone I have ever spoke to knows its wrong to take advantage of someone else's work. This is the industry norm. The hybridizer has been put in a position to take it or leave it when it comes to royalties and most of us can't afford the legal protection of a patent. If the AHS took a stand on this issue and the AHGA would conduct business more morally then the consumer could make informed choices and the hybridizer would be better protected.Rob


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  • Posted by kent z5 NY (My Page) on
    Tue, Aug 16, 11 at 23:23

Wow interesting thread going on here. Personally I have faith in a world market. Jobs have gone over seas due to unions and the greed of American workers. I bet not one of you would buy American made shoes if they were available. Why? because you complain about spending $50.00 on a pair and American made shoes would cost much more that that!
As far as Hybridisers rights, (yes I am one) I think we do OK, no it's not perfect. I have contracts with a few labs and do make money off my plants. And yes some of my plants have been sold in Europe without me making a cent off them but I'm not going to cry about it.
As for Patents, I do have one and it was expensive but you know what, Walters picked up the entire tab and I'm sure they did the same for Empress Wu. Also Brian & Virginia have done very well with Royalities on this plant so don't think we are all getting ripped off. As a matter of fact I don't know any hybridisers who haven't been paid for their work to some extent.
One other point, These labs produce more plants than I ever could at no cost to me and have large sales teams that sell my plants to a wholesale base that I don't have the time or desire to attract. So I'm good with what I get.
OK That's my two cents worth!

Garden on!
Kent


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RE: Do you care ? Even more now.

Kent, I like your response and am happy things have worked well for you. I think the issue I am raising is seperate than agreeing to a royality deal. I don't agree with everything you said but I truly respect your opinions. I grew up in Flint, MI. The origin of the UAW. My Grandfather was one of the original " Sit Downers" (for those who don't know what that is just Google it.)in 1937 that led to the formation of the UAW. I have seen both the good and bad from the unions but would not blame anyone for taking the pay and benefits negotiated and agreed upon by both the Company and the Union. Both sides were guilty of believing that they could pass everything on to the consumer. There is a wholesale/retailer in the south that I will omit the name. They go to the hybridizer or buy a plant on the open market. They send it to Guatemala or another country to have them tc'd then sell the plant all over the country. On ebay, HL auctions etc. and don't pay the hybridizer anything because its legal and they don't have to. Is that ok, Is that what we as consumers should support. It is very easy not to be concerned about it. Half the kids I now don't even know where hamburger comes from. If we continue to accept things like this we as a society and blame everyone but ourselves nothing will ever get better and we will get everything we deserve. I just think or wish that everyone would give this some thought. I think the problem is that we have become conditioned to accepting low standards. This is an example of how the business works. Most of the growers will want to produce a minimum 5000 plants. That is because that is the minimum number that some of the labs require. They may pay the hybridizer .15 to .50 cents for each plant but on average around .25 So the hybridizer makes $1250.00 @.25 each. The grower makes a profit that they choose by setting the price ( free market ) The retailer marks it up on average 3.5 times that and makes the most money out of everyone. I am sure that 100,000 Empress Wu's have been produced and the Skagg's I am sure were paid the royalty that they agreed to. Lets say and I am just guessing that they made $35,000. The total gross sales of the plant at retail is upward of 2 million at $20.00 a piece over its market life. So the hybridizer got 1.7% of the gross and maybe as much as 8% of the wholesale price. Once one plant has been sold on the open market it is " free legal game " to the growers. The list of plants being grown, sold without paying the hybridizer is far greater than the list of those who are getting something. My bottom line question is should the AHGA continue this practice or should they voluntarily put in place a system that give's fair protection to the hybridizer. I think the hybridizer should have a window of opportunity for them to explore without having to spend $3500.00 to $5000.00 on a patent. By the way my american made shoes were $45.00 at my local Meijer's store. That's the Michigan based store that Sam Walt_n modeled his little chain after. Rob


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It is interesting to find out how the industry works, and it does have an impact on how and when new plants become available to the public. If hybridizers are fairly compensated for their work, then it incentivizes them to produce more and better plants.

Bob Solberg told me that a hybridizer has one year from the point of a plant's introduction to apply for a patent. Perhaps that time period needs to be extended. In any case, it is clearly wrong for someone to profit from someone else's work without compensating them for it. That's piracy, IMO, whether or not it is allowed by law.

Kent, I agree that a global market is inevitable given the improvements in communication and transportation worldwide. However, that transition to such a market is fraught with problems and inequities. Plant hybridizing is just a small one. Exploitation or abuse of overseas workers is not an acceptable condition of a free world market. Clearly there are cultural and economic differences between countries that make this situation complicated. But acceptable working conditions and compensation need to be agreed upon by everyone.

Right now things that are made in America are usually made here because the market demands the quality and precision that our workers produce. For example, producing plants that are virus and nematode free. I like to buy American goods because of that. It seems to me that we should be able to fairly compete in a global marketplace, and at the same time fairly compensate both those who produce ideas and new products, as well as those who make them. This will take regulation. Leaving every problem to be solved the "the invisible hand" of the market is not only foolish, it's mythical. Every market is regulated to one extent or another.

Steve


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Back in "the day" America was made up of boutique stores where regional folks sold their wares. "Big box" didn't exist. In fact, that's a fairly new concept, brought on by the industrial age and technology age.

International Free Trade really got a big boost in the early 1990's. This paved the way for big box even further. I can remember when America's largest retailer used to advertise how they sold everything "American Made". Most people cannot remember this. This retailer and other retailers have conditioned most of America to be not only be ok with lower quality, but to seek it out in effort to get lower prices.

With regard to hostas.... at this point in time, my thinking is that I first want to support the local business owner... not necessarily a private grower, but an actual nursery business. I happen to live in an area where there are some good nursery businesses... well respected businesses that are large. 1 of them has several metro locations, another has a flagship store and does lots of those temporary greenhouse setups in the early summer and the third is a HUGE operation with just 1 location. While I do like these locations, I would prefer to keep my hosta dollars with hosta specialists. There are a couple local venues for that, but most of them are around the country.

This winter, when doing my first-ever winter ordering, I looked at cost, sure. But I also looked at reputation for sending quality plants. If I had for-sure confirmation on where the plants I bought were TC'd, that would also affect my ordering.

All that said, I think it's CRAP that a hybridizer can be screwed over like this. I do not think it's right. However, this is how our country has always been. My uncle, for instance, was the engineer behind the design of the bottom of plastic soda bottles... that 5-point sort of thing.... he was unable to get the big soda companies to bite on it. He sold the design to a German company who patented it and WAS able to sell it to the soda companies. Uncle Stan perhaps didn't have the connections to make the deal, but the German company did. Isn't that free enterprise? If you ever watch the show "Shark Tank", just about every pitchman that comes on the show does so looking for the sharks connections.

I guess what I'm getting at is that yes, it sucks that a hybridizer can get screwed. But unless he has the connections to partner with someone who can afford to share in the cost of the patent, I think he has to be willing to accept that there are people out there who WILL screw him over.

And to address the last thing you said, Rob, one could also argue that it's not fair that the wholesaler only made 10-20% of the retail sale. I understand that the retailer is out to make money. And if the hybridizer were to expect to make much more money per plant, then the plant's retail cost is going to go way up and the plant will no longer be acceptably priced to most of the consumers.

I know PLENTY of people, myself included, who refuse to pay more than XX dollars for a hosta.... even if it's new or even if it's huge. That XX might be $15, might be $20, $30 or whatever. There is one local hybridizer, a big name, who I generally do not buy his stuff cuz I find that it's priced a significant amount higher than other plants. Unfortunately, that means that his stuff is not likely selling as well.

I don't know that a voluntary moratorium is the answer either. There are enough people that will not participate that it won't have any affect. And fact is, there are many hosta retailers who make too much of their yearly revenue off the collector who is seeking the next newest thing.

Bottom line: I dunno ::shrug::


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Rob,

By chance, is G.R. the plant?

Who is responsible for the purchase, patent and introduction in Europe? Just purchaser and their initials are fine too.

Later,
Rick


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http://www.americanmadematters.com/


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Rob, I agree with what you are saying. I wish everything I buy could come from America whether it be a hosta or a car!


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I don't have much to say regarding the hosta situation...however, you may all find it interesting that the company I work for wanted to manufacture a traction splint in the USA, however, the cost would have been tripple what the oversees manufacturers can do it for, making the item a difficult sell against it's competion. We all want high wages here in the USA but never want to shell out the cash for domestic goods. The way it works is we earn good money here, while folks in other countries work for pennies so we can buy cheaper goods and thusly stay rich. Is it right? No. But that is the way it is I guess.

If we all want to have quality goods made here in the USA, then we all have to expect lower wages also. Material costs are relativeley the same here or oversees, it is the labor cost that drives up the cost of domestic goods (or drives down the cost of oversees goods).

Anyway, with inflation, that's my 12 cents worth.

Ryan


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Free Trade? What a misnomer. The others have permission to sell all their wares here. US exports are curtailed by the laws of Asian and other countries. Having traveled to Asia 15 times on business, I saw it in Korea, where only Korean cars were on the roads, but they were permitted to FREEly export to us here their cars. We should have Fair trade, that is only the exact $ value may be imported into the US as we are permitted to export, why can Congress not create such a common sense law?
Have a good one! Bernd


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RE: Do you care ? I will never quit

Melissa. The wholesaler chooses what they think fair market for the plant is and that is usually determined by demand. They always try to get the most that they can. I have a good friend that is from China he has given me great insight to life in China. I have no problem with the people from China. It is truly American big busineess that is exploiting their people and we as consumers should take responsibility and not blame everyone else or just give up and say nothing can be done. I do not blame the business but I do blame the government for not protecting the people. Once one business left and our government did nothing that one had a huge competitive advantage and it started the mass exodus. I read Apple has 50,000 employees in the U.S. and 1 million in China. It is time to start making peaceful protests with our buying power and redefined what is a need and a want. I hold my representatives at all levels of government responsible and vote for and against them accordingly. I was asked in another response to post some pictures. Unfortunatly I am too stupid to do it. I will ask Don to give me a lesson. Rob


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  • Posted by babka 8b Northern CA (My Page) on
    Wed, Aug 17, 11 at 23:21

Rob, I don't mean to be a party pooper here, but you are in the business of selling hostas. And posting all your Lakesides on this forum would amount to advertising, IMHO.

Other sellers post here often answering questions, and I am closely following this thread because it opens up a part of the hosta business that I was totally unaware of. Thank you for that.

I searched all around for a website to see what you have and couldn't find one. Can you provide a link? Do you only sell them locally? I purchased a few hostas from Mary Chastain several years ago, and, other than those now being available from other sources, I'd like to see what else you have... but since you are a seller, this isn't the place to post the photos of what you are selling, IN MY HUMBLE OPINION.

-Babka


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I appreciate the differentiation between personal and business motivation. However, Rob is also an individual and if he has hosta growing at his person residence (and assuming these aren't clumps that he digs to sell divisions)then IMO he absolutely should be able to post pictures of those hosta just like the rest of us.
Cj


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Babka, I have no intentions of using this forum to post picturs of plants I am selling. I do not even post how to get a hold of me here. I do not mention my business name or anything else. I am a very poor self promoter. If you want to get a hold of me it is pretty easy. Goo__-e is amazing. I am even in the phone book. If I manage to post pictures it is just to share my love and passion with everyone here. If you have not picked up on it I am filled with passion. I hope I did nothing wrong mentioning I got a great plant fron Hallson's. It's a little blurry on what is considered advertising. I would probably particapate more on this forum if i wasn't worried about those accusations. I am hopeful this discussion will give everyone thought on how they have influence on how everything works. It is time to quit blaming everyone else and take responsibility for your role. Together we can make a difference a little at a time. Spending a dollar is like casting a vote. Rob


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  • Posted by hey_j 6 Dayton Oh. (My Page) on
    Thu, Aug 18, 11 at 11:52

Rob--I'm just doing my popping in and out, as I rush to make a dr. appt. but I just have to say that you ARE a man of integrity (in my experience) and you've neither said or done anything that is out of line with your posting on this forum. I think Babka is only concerned that you show pix in a way that will not be interpreted by GW as advertising. I, personally do not feel, that is your intent--to advertise and I have appreciated this thread as something of more depth and an attempt to help us better understand the industry at large and to be able to make the choices that better serve those at the seemingly bottom rung of this business. You deserve your fair share of that pot and I hope you get it!!!

It is commonly known that Chris has a hosta business (and there are others) and we talk about him all the time (in a good way) and he posts here, as well, and we're glad he does! So, jump in and we will all be the better for your contributions, as well!

Now, off I go--I can use up so much time, more quickly than anyone I know--I just lose all sense of time when I'm on the computer and this forum!!! :^/


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I don't post much here any more for that very reason Rob, some are just to quick to jump you for saying something They do not like.The address I posted above, is for all American made products,it is a good start.I agree with Janice, why can we mention Chris, and not others????This is a very good thread, so many things I have not even thought about, or even knew.I hope it keeps going,we need this information.
cAROL


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Yes I do care.

  • Posted by babka 8b Northern CA (My Page) on
    Thu, Aug 18, 11 at 13:16

I NEVER SAID THAT ROB SHOULDN'T POST HERE!!! I love to hear advise from people who have had the most experience growing/selling hostas. I especially like to hear his info regarding what's involved in the tc process.

I guess I wasn't specific enough. I was referring to a request that he post photos of his Lakeside hostas within the Hosta Alphabet series thread, which (it is my understanding) is for people to show plants growing in gardens. That part would be self promoting.

Hey-j put my thoughts into words (above) better than I did. Thanks!

-Babka


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Babka,
If you email me, I can give you Rob's contact info. Okay, Rob?

Cynthia


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Googling 'Robs Lakeside Hostas' gives some contact information, but there does not seem to be a web page. A simple web page with contact info and a hosta/ price list without pictures and inter-activity should not be difficult to make.


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Bernd

Rob has a facebook page for those of you on FB. Link below.

Here is a link that might be useful: Lakeside Acres


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RE: Do you care ?

I think everyone cares where our products come from. However, I think you are asking too much. For instance, I have bought from AAhostas. I have no idea where Denny gets his TC's. I have bought from a local nursery chain. The employees there have no idea where Monrovia gets their TC's (could it be Costa Rica?). Their job is to keep the store looking nice, be polite to customers and sell merchandise. Who provided the tissue culture is not in their job description. They have hundreds of different plants. They can't be expected to know that. I didn't even know until this year that most all hosta came from TC - so do ferns, by the way.

Asking sellers where the TC came from is kind of like asking a baker where the seeds of the wheat in his flour came from. The flour came from the bakery supply, that's all he knows. His job is to make good bread.

Bernd is also right. We don't have real free trade. Our costs of manufacturing are higher than others because we have more regulations. We have a minimum of 10% tax on labor (social security, medicare and unemployment ins.). They don't have that expense in Mexico. They also don't have OSHA and EEOC and the EPA. Businesses also pay high property taxes. In Texas, businesses that are not big enough to negotiate special deals pay higher electricity rates than residents. Businesses pay fees to the cities and states to be "inspoected" by bureaucrats, most of whom can't get a job in the real world. I have a friend who has a USDA inspected food production plant. The inspector is a real a__. If he's in a bad mood, he's been known tag a machine and not come back for days. Once a machine is tagged, you can't use it until that inspector checks the machine and makes sure it's in compliance and removes the tag. So the company is stuck with a piece of machinery that can't be used until that inspector comes back.

However, he could move his plant to Mexico and manufacture his food products and they can be imported without that USDA inspection. Also, that food product can go across state lines. Whereas here, if he lets his USDA license go and goes with state inspection only, he can't ship outside of Texas.

Businesses are abusive, too. Stanley tool works packed up their manufacturing and moved out of the states. They were a profitable company here, but not enough. Soon thereafter, they moved their corporate headquarters out of the US so they wouldn't have to pay taxes. Now, we all think Stanley tools are American products or at least an American company. Not so - but I wouldn't have know that except a guy told the story on the radio. Now, I don't buy Stanley Tools, but the same thing might be true of Craftsman tools and I wouldn't know it.

Most of us don't have a clue as to what is going on outside our little world. We're too busy working, gardening, taking care of the kids and making dinner to know much that's happening around us and to us. The people who are moving their manufacturing to China don't send out press releases. The senators who get special tax deals for someone doing TC's in Costa Rica don't put it in their monthly newsletters.

I'm not sure what the answer is, but at least people are starting to talk about it. Maybe that's progress.

bkay


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RE: Do you care ?

  • Posted by babka 8b Northern CA (My Page) on
    Fri, Aug 19, 11 at 23:18

Thank you, Bkay.

-Babka


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RE: Do you care ? sure do

Those are great comments ! I think you are right that most people do not know what is going on outside their own little world and also feel that they can do nothing to change anything. I think we can change things. If not our standard of living will here will eventually be balanced with the rest of the world. I have been trying to stay on subject in my responses and am surprised nobody has not commented on my suggestions regarding the AHGA and the AHS. I really have no problem with free trade or growing anything out of the country. I have met Gerard Heemskirk from Holland and he told me the extreme lengths that he goes thru to see that his products are HVX free and I believe he is a quality producer that has standards second to none. I just think that it would not be too much to ask plant producers to label their products where they are produced just like everything else is. I have made a personal choice to grow my plants here. I could go to China and have them grown for a fraction of the cost and make a few more dollars but at what cost to our society. All you here anymore is "why isn't the government creating jobs", "why do we let business move overseas and out of the country " Why do big business pay no tax and get tax breaks " IT is because WE do not take the time to "know" and care enough to do anything about it. It is only hopeless if no one cares. Rob


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RE: Do you care ?

  • Posted by hey_j 6 Dayton Oh. (My Page) on
    Sat, Aug 20, 11 at 11:42

Really good thoughts and discussion going on here!

Rob, I don't think of myself as a *doom-and-gloom* sort of person but I am not an idealist either! My husband says I'm a realist at my core and you are so right about why we are where we are as a country and I feel a big part of that cause is the loss of our core values and moral compass! We are several generations away from when those values were held dear, IMO. I feel we've been spoiled by our liberties and 'rights' believing we are somehow entitled to them and now they appear to be potentially going down the drain very quickly, as we've taken them for granted, forgetting why we EVER had them.

We HAVE to care--about so many things that are being taken from us and we have to be willing to be proactive about those things! We are so materialistic, and I've become one of those who love my 'stuff' i.e. hosta and gardens and remodeled home, decorating and the like and I'm quite the bargain hunter and none of that is bad if kept in a reasonable perspective!

But, in my efforts to get the *most-for-the-least*, I've been lulled into thinking the bargain is the end all--and have forgotten at what cost is that 'bargain'!

In the end, someone IS paying a BIG price for it, here and abroad!

I think the frustration I feel and as others have stated, is WHAT DO WE DO now and HOW can we turn things around--if we can??

One of the things we do, as a couple making purchase decisions, is we buy from the small businesses when possible. We recently purchased a love seat and chair for a sitting area and we didn't go to the BIG furniture store chain, we went to a local family-owned company. We may have paid a bit more but we feel better about it and the line we chose was manufactured and built in Indiana and they make very good products! When we purchased our large dining table, we went to a local place that gets their items made by an Amish industry--again, solid wood, pricey but we don't regret spending what we had to for the quality and the American made ethic!!

So--Rob, can you give us any more practical tips about the hosta industry and how we can protect and benefit the American grower more?


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RE: Do you care ?

Rob,

I know that Naylor Creek carries plants from newer hybridizers like Rick Goodenough, Kathie Sisson, Ron Livingston and Don Dean. I assume they have contracts with these people to carry their plants. Does Naylor do its own TC? Do they contract the TC out to other companies? Who are the big TC companies that produce Hosta besides Walters and Q and Z?

Steve


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RE: Do you care ?

There's one hole in this labeling idea. We're talking about TC's done outside the US. The vast majority of us aren't buying TC's. We're buying hosta plants. For instance, Hallson's buys TC's somewhere, plants them out and raises them for X amount of years. That plant is now "grown in the USA", regardless of origin of the TC.

If all the pieces are made in Mexico, but the product is assembled in the USA, it can be labeled "made in the USA". That's the way it's been explained to me, anyway.

We need to be talking to our legislators. They are the ones who signed or ratified these treaties that aren't in our best interests. I don't know how many of you remember Ross Perot's speech in 1992 on the "great sucking sound" we were hearing - our jobs leaving when NAFTA was ratified. He was right. Actually, we got all the bad stuff that was promised as a result of NAFTA and none of the good. It was supposed to help Mexico's economy and stop the flood of illegal aliens into our country. Others were sure we would lose all our jobs. Turns out we lost the jobs and Mexico didn't gain them - and we still got the flood of illegal aliens.

All of us need to keep talking about these things.

bkay


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RE: Do you care ?

bkay, good posting! I believed Ross Perot, he had the understanding how it works. Others are only politicians who do whatever they have to do and say to get reelected within the 4 years, so it seems. Also many business leaders are worried about the short term to keep their jobs. They all exported the jobs, but forgot that they still have to take care of the people they laid off, and did not realize that business, income and Social Security taxes were also lost.
Bernd


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RE: Do you care ? need more feedback

Naylor Creek usually makes an agreement with the hybridizer and contracts out the TC production to a grower. I am a little uncomfortable talking about how they do things. I wish you would ask them for details. I will say it is a short term deal for the hybridizer and the TC growers after that term have an opportunity to add them to their catalog without paying a royalty. The initial term is in my opinion rather short and the bulk of the sales volume will occur after the royality period is over, simply due to the fact it takes a couple of years to build up enough cultures to produce big numbers. A few of the other TC producers are Silvers, Shady Oaks, AG-3, Terra Nova. When you buy a car it says what % content is American parts,Final Assembly etc. A label that says its origination and where it was grown on would suffice. Most TC plants that are imported are small just out of rooting phase and grown on into larger plugs and finished plants. I read that if everyone just bought 1% more made in the U.S. goods that it would create 200,000 jobs. Unfortunately at that rate we would all need to spend 20 % more of our dollars to put everyone back to work. That might be too hard for people to do. What can we do to help ? My list is very long. Start by paying closer attention to your food. Buy as local as you can. I saw a bag of frozen Talipia at my grocery store. The label caught my eye. American Fish Co. I read closer to read it was a product of China both processed and frozen there and shipped to the U.S. Support your farmers markets. I am changing my eating habits to consume more fresh in season products to support them more. When strawberries, blueberries, cherrys, apples are in season in Michigan I try to go right to a U-pick farm or farm store. Organize your week to avoid wasting gas taking additional trips.We import enough oil every 10 years to fill up all of the Great Lakes from the bottom up. That is 4 quadrillion gallons. We need an energy policy in this country. You have to write, call your elected officials and get them off the payrolls of big oil. The difference of $1.00 dollar in gas price sends an additional 800 billion to one trillion dollars out of the country. We can't have that and ever expect our economy to grow. There is not enough oil in our country to replace our demand no matter how much they drill here. Support renewable energy projects, Wind, Solar, Hydrogen, Geothermal. In most places the biggest enery use is from business and homes heating and cooling. Do whatever you can to cut your bills, extra insulation, caulking does wonders to stop air leaks. Support changes in your local building codes to get all new construction done so buildings today are not energy pigs in the future. In Midland Mi, Dow Chemical, Hemlock Semi conductor built a house of the future that utilizes their technology that is can produce as much energy as it uses every year. Price $250,000. A lot but a good role model for the future. How much money would you have to put into the economy if you did not have utility bills ? I hope everyone can imagine me talking at my local township and school board meetings. I am usually the only one there and I seldom feel the love. Rob


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RE: Do you care ?

Ido not think the glory days are coming back. We are in a "world" economy and stuck with it. Like one poster said, don't blame the chinese. Blame the big corporations for selling us down the river. It basically started in the 50s when RCA started building TVs in Japan.The jobs have been slowly trickling away since then.We barely noticed during the 60s,70s,and 80s. Now we are saying "What happened",as we look at the devastation. What a Shame.


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RE: Do you care ?

This has been an interesting discussion but I admit that I'm really ready to talk about hostas again...sorry, just being honest. However, I do want to say that I agree that the "designer" should be compensated for their efforts. I know it isn't the same legally but to me it is ethically the same as an artist or writer's ability to copyright their creation. They don't have to go through and expensive copyright process so a patent should be more comparable. I'm glad you've made me aware of the problem so that I can make more informed decisions in the future. I want to also say that I don't blame big corporations (or growers, in this case). We are just different spokes of the same wheel. We all make decisions we believe will help us reach our goals. We all pay the price and/or reap the reward for those decisions. There is a lot I can say about that but this isn't the appropriate place.
Cj


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RE: Do you care ?

  • Posted by babka 8b Northern CA (My Page) on
    Mon, Aug 22, 11 at 0:40

Cindyj- Yes, this is a hosta forum. There is a WHOLE LOT I could say about this, but I am so glad that you reminded everyone that this is indeed a "hosta" forum, not an economics or political forum.

Unless a hybridizer watches closely over his babies, someone else might grab them and make a profit. It is up to the hybridizer, not the consumer to determine what happens to his plant. Once it is out there, if we comsumers) like it, we'll buy it, and the profits will go to the fellow who did the marketing to tell us about it.

--Rob, I'm sorry for your friend who sold a hosta at auction and then was unhappy with what the buyer did with it. I guess, he shouldn't have put it into a public auction in the first place. If you wish that the AHGA or the AHS would take a stance on this, go directly to them. We can only express our opinions, whereas they might have some bite.

-Babka


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RE: Do you care ?

I think this post exemplifies how we are touched by economics and politics in our gardens as well as everywhere else.


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RE: Do you care ? Sorry

Babka, Sorry I got off subject. I turn the channel when I don't like whats on. I appreciate everyone's comments. Everyday is a good day that I learn something new.


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RE: Do you care ?

Ninamarie, who I assume is Canadian, has broken the ice by venturing into a discussion that up to now has been confined to Americans. Her intervention reminds us that the Hosta Forum is read worldwide, and we have contributors from several countries.

That said, I want to congratulate Rob for starting what has been a fascinating discussion and for daring to "speak up." Rob, you have what I call a civic conscience, and I for one would applaud your willingness to express your opinion in town meetings, school board, or wherever. The world needs more people like you. Your list of things to do in order to take more direct control over our lives could apply anywhere, and I endorse it enthusiastically.

What hasn't been said here is that we are all in this together, and the globalization of the economy is something we all are struggling with. In 1988, when Ronald Reagan and his Canadian and Mexican counterparts put North American Freed Trade on the table, I was opposed. We got it anyway. Americans may feel that they got the short end of the deal, but, as a Canadian, I think we did (ask our softwood lumber producers). A good many companies that made products in Canada simply folded, and the jobs moved to the USA (and maybe they kept on moving after that).

But that was then. Free trade is now a fact of life, with all its flaws, and nobody is going to put the genie back in the bottle. What we can do is what Rob suggests. Buy local for whatever you can, especially farm produce and plants like hostas. Support farmers' markets. While the latter have increased greatly in number, the New York Times tells us that some are not doing well - the supply exceeds the demand. But we should buy local for all kinds of reasons, not just the economic ones. The environment benefits when food comes to us from nearby sources, rather than being hauled thousands of miles. The food is fresher and nutritionally better. And the original producer gets rewarded, which is what Rob was promoting in his first post.

Thanks Rob for educating us about the process of producing hostas. The lesson has wide application, and I hope all your readers will remember that we're all in this together.

Steve


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RE: Do you care ?

Thank you Steve, and Rob , this really has been a good thread,MO, we can not hear these things to often,we are loosing controle of so much.I grow and sell hosta,but this has been news to me,and I really appreciate it, it all goes hand in hand,each element in life, touches another,you can not divide them.When I visit a Local farmers market, I only buy from local vendors,no one from another state,all you need to do is ask if they are local.It is so easy to not read what does not interest you,we have the privilage of,changing channels,so to speak.
cAROL


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On a lighter note..

  • Posted by hey_j 6 Dayton Oh. (My Page) on
    Mon, Aug 22, 11 at 20:34

Friends of ours took a vacation to Amish country (Ohio) and stopped at a roadside produce stand being operated by an Amish family!
Our friends excitedly started filling bags with veggies and fruits when a big produce truck pulled up and started unloading crates of
fruits and vegetables.

So much for buying *Amish* home-grown produce! LOL


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RE: Do you care ?

Janet...hearing stories like that is what makes it confusing. You think you're doing the right thing, and BAM, you find out you've been duped. Great thread.


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RE: Do you care ?

Janet, don't let that discourage you,just ask them if they are local, ask where their farm is, can you visit, you may not want to visit, but at least you will know what their answer is.Every one is trying yo make a few $$ these days,it would be a shame, if you lost out on a good vendor, just ask a few questions.Good luck, farmers need you. :0)
cAROL


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RE: Do you care ?

I stumbled on to this thread and thought was a good discussion. With so many new people on the board I thought maybe it might not be too bad to bump it up. I think there are a lot of good points and a lot of ideas that have certainly made me think twice who and where I buy from.


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RE: Do you care ?, yes but know I don't understand all the ramifi

See my addition to the subject line.

I'm glad that so many of us are interested in a topic such as this, and willing to discuss it.

Since someone else found this thread, and thought it worthwhile to bump it up to the current status, I'll make just a small comment.

The whole 'local' thing is much like the whole 'green' thing. Both are being abused for sales purposes.

What's more 'catchy' these days than claiming to be 'green' and/or 'local'.

As many prior posts have pointed out or alluded to, there are certainly 'charlatans' abusing these current fads, as has always been the case.

At least one of our local 'farm markets' is extremely strict, in this case that's good. One of them has a 'local' produce 'cop' who actually comes out to your garden to ensure that you are producing at your place what you're selling at the market. Very cool!

What's that old Latin saying about 'let the buyer beware'?

Of course, the best 'local' is the stuff you do, indeed, grow yourself, for yourself, huh?

fwiw,

hh


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