Seed from Jim and Jenny Archibald

Ellen Hornig hornig at OSWEGO.EDU
Fri Jun 29 01:30:14 CEST 2001

Let me come to the Archibalds' defense on two points.  First, I think it's
fair to say their seed quality is variable; I've had perfectly good
germination from many batches, none from some, poor but positive from
others.  I can say the same thing of every single dealer in wild-collected
seed from whom I buy, including Berkutenko, Silverhill, Euroseeds,
Holubec, Karmic, Phedar, and Jurasek.  As far as I know, none of these
dealers tests for viablity or germination rates. They all, however, offer
species that simply can't be found elsewhere, and for this reason I find
it worth taking a chance.  I know I've disposed of many hundreds of
dollars buying seeds that didn't germinate.  It's part of the
business.  Because I prefer friendly relations to refunds, I don't
complain.  Occasionally I pass along information about things I think
might be changed, but on the whole I assume that the collectors are doing
their best, and that conditions encountered in the process of collecting
(heat, humidity, less-than-ripe seed when you happen to be on the
spot) explain the highly variable quality of all their products.  OK,
there's one person on my list I won't buy from again....but I prefer not
to trash individuals publicly.

The second thing to keep in mind is that these people offer unique access
to some species.  Like normal mortals, they make some mistakes in
identification, but I think they're far more reliable than any seed
exchange.  They collect in places I can't always find on maps, under
conditions most of us might find romantic at a distance but probably more
than a bit hard to take in reality.  As far as I know, none of them is
getting rich doing this.

The bottom line, for me, is that I would rather support their efforts than
hound them for their shortcomings.  Certainly there is no harm whatsoever
in letting them know which of their seeds do badly, but I would do this
kindly and judiciously, and without expectation of reimbursement.

Off my soapbox now....


Ellen Hornig
Seneca Hill Perennials
3712 County Route 57
Oswego, New York 13126 USA
USDA zone 5B (mintemps -10 to -20F)
Phone:(315) 342-5915
Fax: (315) 342-5573

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