Seed Exchange - International
Mrs. Robert Berry, Aberdeen, Wash.
Order emerges from chaos! The 1967 Seed Exchange List is ready and it is the best ever!
Our seed list has become quite international in its scope. Two world famous gardens: Exbury of England and Brodick Castle of Scotland are sending us a fine selection of seed. Mr. K. Wada, Dr. Tsuneshige Rokujo, Mr. Teruo Takeuchi and Dr. Schichi Hirao have all sent seed from Japan. Johannes Hedegaard has supplied seed of the hardy sorts that he grows in Denmark and the Belgian Experiment Station for Ornamental Plants has contributed azalea seed.
There is also a marked increase in the number of items collected in the wild. The mountains of Austria, Spain, Japan, and New Guinea are all represented. Of particular interest are the Malaysian (Javanicum) species which have come to us from Dr. H. Sleumer as a gift of the Lae Botanic Garden and from Mr. P. G. Valder of the University of Sydney. We have a number of different kinds so it seemed worthwhile to put them in a separate section.
We also have many new and interesting things from our regular contributors; the rare R. sanctum from David Leach, R. alutaceum from the Portland Test Garden, R. taronense from the Bowmans and many exciting things, both species and hybrid crosses using plants from the Rock collection, sent in by Dr. Carl Phetteplace and Cecil Smith.
Spring frosts on the west coast and summer drought on the east coast have taken a toll for there are more items on our list, of which we have a very small supply, than at any time previously. For this reason, it is especially important for seed applicants to list alternate choices. A few items of which we have only two or three packets have not been listed at all, we will use these for substitutions. We have no wish to be arbitrary in doing this, we are only trying to give the best service that we can. When there are only one or two packets and perhaps thirty requests, the business of refunding money or making reasonable substitutions is very time consuming.
This seems a good time to make a plea for hand pollinated seed for next year's list. It is our goal to offer hand-pollinated seed of good forms of all the species now in cultivation so we still have quite a distance to go.
Ideally the director of the seed exchange should have a comprehensive file of good species from which seed could be requested. This would avoid duplication of effort and provide a more constant supply. We should also give consideration to the possibility that the weather will sometimes give us some rather lean years, so it would be good insurance to plan for a two-year supply whenever the resource is available. All seed is kept under refrigeration with little if any loss in viability. I have had excellent germination from seed that is three years old, although sometimes it has been a little slower. Usually unless seed is of special value, we discard it after the second year. If fresh supplies are available, it is discarded after the first year. It is important to remember that our membership is large and the demand for seed is great.
With the hybrid crosses, it is less important to have a large supply but there should be enough seed for at least 15 packages (about 30 seeds per packet) whenever possible. It is curious to note that many hybrid crosses have been as popular the second year as in the first, a few more so. Interest in this part of our program has been very keen; it has made it possible for many amateurs to have the fun of growing their own hybrids from seed, who had neither the knowledge or the resources to do so before.