J. L. HUDSON, SEEDSMAN, BOX 337, LA HONDA, CALIFORNIA 94020-0337 USA
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About the Reserved Access Collection
Why have we instituted the Reserved Access collection?
Because it is the only way we see that we can continue to distribute certain seeds. We want these seeds to get into the hands of competent, serious growers. A number of our seeds may be easy to germinate, but are simply too rare to distribute to those who will not take the care needed to be successful with them. Other seeds may not be rare, but may be very temperamental or exacting in germination requirements, and may disappoint those not willing to provide correct conditions.
We had considered restricting them to only professional nurserymen, or creating a paid membership with special access privileges, but felt that these were too restrictive, and contrary to our ethic of unrestricted distribution.
Primarily, we need to weed out "consumer" types - those who feel they should be guaranteed success with every seed, and if they are not able to germinate something, will demand a refund or replacement. With species that have exacting germination requirements or have prolonged germination times, dealing with this type of person greatly increases the costs of distributing these seeds - then, if we were to raise the price to reflect these costs, this would increase the complaints - "I paid $8.00 for a packet of such-and-such, it darned well better germinate!" - turning into an endless round of hassles. Requests for replacement deplete already short supplies. Simply answering questions about why the seed did not germinate, and the back-and-forth of determining if the person gave the recommended pre-treatment and conditions, taxes our limited time resources.
This type of person is never satisfied, and should not be requesting seeds from a seed bank.
If you would like an example of the kind of things we have to deal with from this type of client, and get an understanding of the drain on our limited time resources this can be, see our listing at the Garden Watchdog, http://gardenwatchdog.com/ and scroll down to the "rheimler" listing.
Of course we are always glad to help clients with technical information and suggestions where we can, but we feel that the Reserved Access program will help the seeds reach thoughtful, careful, attentive people, on whom our suggestions will not be wasted - rather than on the deaf ears of "consumers".
Experienced growers do not rush to blame the seed for failure - we know that difficult germinators are, well, difficult, and that even with common, easy items, unexplained failures happen. For example, a few seasons ago I sowed 12 varieties of a common, easily grown garden annual in pots - just a small trial of the varieties to be sure they were true to type. All were sown on the same day, in the same soil, and every one had been recently tested in our lab - the lowest germination among them was 87%, and all were vigorous. Of the 12 pots, two gave zero germination, and one gave very low germination. Why? Who knows? As we professionals say, "Go figure."
With more difficult seeds (or "more interesting seeds" as I think of them), the unexplained successes or failures are much more common. These species constantly surprise me - one season they fail, the next they give great success. Uncovering the quirks and peculiarities of what makes these seeds "tick" can take many years of work in the lab, and is some of the most interesting work I do.
If we limited our distribution to only those species for which I have developed reliable methods, this would deny you access to many interesting and valuable species. There are many species that I am currently studying with the aim to develop consistent, reliable germination methods. This type of work can take years. They are difficult, and somewhat unknown quantities - but we know that the serious growers among you are more than willing to "take a chance" on them.
I assure every one of you that seeds are my life, and that I spare no effort or expense to distribute only live, viable, high-quality seeds. The small compost pile pictured below contains somewhere around ten thousand dollars worth of seed which I discarded in order to maintain high seed quality.
Unfortunately, the internet seems to have spawned quite a few impatient "consumers", perhaps because of the instant-gratification, point-and-click environment. We can't let the selfish few spoil it for the rest of us. If you are an "I want a money-back guarantee" consumer, we invite you to purchase seeds from any one of the many fine corporate consumer seed companies that are to be found on the internet. Their economy of scale, and the nature of their offerings allow them to offer such guarantees. You will be much happier in that environment. If you are an experienced grower, of even just an adventurous beginner, we welcome you to participate in the endeavor of this seed bank - "Preservation Through Dissemination".