Posted on

Beauty by the Bay

Our local daylily club – Bay Area Daylily Buds (BAD Buds) is hosting the Region 2 regional meeting in 2014.  I volunteered (again) to be chairman of the meeting.  Our club did this in 2004 and enjoyed it so we are doing it again. 

Luel and I considered introducing a flower that would have the same name as our theme for the regional meeting.  We hope to be able to grow enough to have every family attending get a fan as a gift plant.  We identified a seedling last year that was excellent quality.   It had 8 fans.  We hope to double it every year as follows:

2010 – 8 fans

2011 – 16 fans

2012 – 32 fans

2013 – 64 fans

2014 – 128 fans

This will be just about enough for most people to get a plant at our regional meeting.  If it grows faster, great.  Duane and Barbara Nickel from our Milwaukee connection are growing it for me and hopefully it will multiply faster way down south.  I kept one fan in garden and the scape looks great although it will not bloom for another 10 days or so.  The parentage is (August Wedding x JT Davis) x Heir to the Throne.  We counted 30 inches high, 24 buds, 5.5 inches in diameter.  Foliage is hard dormant.  Picture is below:

Beauty by the Bay

Posted on

Bird of Prey

Bird of Prey (2011 introduction – Heavens Proclaim x (Monterrey Jack x Clarification) started blooming in the warm microclimate next to our house on the south side.  This is a much better garden plant than its parent – Heavens Proclaim.  Bird of Prey is taller, better branched, a hardy dormant, and more vigorous.   We will see our first seedlings from it this year but intend to hybridize with it again this year.  The picture does not do it justice – the flower is 7″ in size and quite showy as a clump. 

The pollen parent of Bird of Prey was a dormant seedling out of Monterrey Jack x Clarification.  The seedling flower was large but not fancy so we used it as a bridge plant.  In addition to Bird of Prey, we will likely introduce seedling 719-4 this  year which is Jamaican Love x (Monterrey Jack x Clarification).  Seedling 719-4 is also dormant with the same tall well branched scape.  I think the scapes are coming from the Monterrey Jack x Clarification seedling.  Photos of Bird of Prey, 719-4 and scapes from both are shown below.

Bird of Prey
Bird of Prey scapes
719-4 scapes
Posted on

Flowers – 7-3

Today was the real start of the daylily season for us.  We had our first seedlings open yesterday but today we had a seedling that was nice enough to mark as a keeper.  When we mark them, we give it a number, photograph the seedling, and put a flexible plastic around the scape with the number on it and the cross.  This years seedling crop will start with the number 100 so this first seedling is 100-1.  The pod parent is a seedling that first bloomeed in 2007 – that has a number of 715-1 ((Monterrey Jack x Cherokee Pass) x (Unending Melody x Sabine Baur)).  This is a nice dormant seedling but was not fancy enough to be a registration.  However, we expect several introductions out of it based on seedlings from last year and the large number of seedlings we will see this year.  Seedling 100-1 is (715-1 x New Paradigm).  We like the round form and fat sepals.

We also had an older named daylily bloom called Zoe Josephine.  It also is out of Monterrey Jack with Dan Mahony being the pod parent.  It has an especially nice edge on it. 



Zoe Josephine
Posted on

First Flowers

As of today – July 1, we have not had any plants that overwintered 2 years here bloom.  We did get some bloom from a new Florida plant (Ted’s Tribute to Linda) and from seedling 990-2 that was in the basement in 2009-2010.  Our basement plants typically do not bloom the summer after they bloomed in winter.  But we often get an early bloom the following year.  That is what happened with 990-2.  This seedling is a cross of Petit’s “April LaQuinta” by our 2011 introduction “Blown Away”.  It is a large polychrome and was lavishly ruffled the last couple days. 

We expect our first year seedlings to start this weekend and peak garden bloom in late July. 

Posted on

Dormants and Evergreens

Our northern hybridizing program focuses on breeding hardy plants that will survive winters here.  For us that means dormant foliage.  We often hear that dormant and hardy are not the same.  Our experience with northern dormant plants is that they are absolutely hardy.  Some evergreens are hardy here but many are not.  Some daylilies from down south are listed as dormant but do not perform as dormants here.   These have not all been hardy.  An example is Stamile’s Nordic Mist.  This plant was introduced a long time ago (1999) but I remembered buying it because it was dormant.  It never behaved as a dormant and died during one of our harsh winters.  I think that is why we hear people saying not all dormants are hardy.  We have never seen any hardiness issues with our own dormant plants. 

Luel and I check plant habit every spring.  Each numbered seedling is evaluated each spring.  We do this in April when the foliage is just emerging.  Most plants are easily identified as dormant or evergreen.  A few are somewhere in between and we will list them as semi-evergreen.  Even dormant plants behave differently.  August Bride goes completely underground and emerges in spring.  August Wedding always has one leaf that stays above ground but the new growth comes from a dormant bud under the ground.

Melanie Mason once told me that many plants are now difficult to tell if they are dormant or not.  I think she is right because of the genetics of evergreens and dormants are mixed together.  Regardless, we will continue to hybridize using one of our basic rules – “At least one parent should be dormant”. 

The photos below show 2010 seedlings we are evaluating.  Seedling 832-2 is a complex seedling involving Magic Amethyst, Tupac Amaru, Filled to Overflowing, and Heartbeat of Heaven.  The foliage is evergreen.  We crossed it with our 2011 dormant introduction – One Foundation.  Seedling 14-4 is listed as dormant and seedling 14-1 is listed as evergreen.  This is clear in the April photo but hard to distinguish in June.  Both plants are 3 fans but the dormant plant is a little more vigorous. 

Posted on

Shipping Plants – Size

Growing daylilies in northeast Wisconsin and shipping around the country is a constant challenge.  We started our business of selling our introductions in 2005.  That year we sold our first introductions  in late summer.  The plants were large and as big as the ones we got in spring from Florida.  However, most customers prefer their plants in spring. 

In 2006, we began shipping our introductions in spring.  We would select plants for introduction in the previous summer, divide the plants and line them out as single fans.  We shipped the largest plants we could but new introductions were often single fans. 

As our hybridizing program became more mature, we had more seedlings to select from for potential introduction.  In 2009, we lined out potential introductions in fall and evaluated them in 2010.  The plants we ended up introducing had many plants lined out to be large plants in spring 2011.  As a result, we were able to ship almost all of our introductions as double fans. 

In summer of 2010, we again lined out potential introductions.  With our high moisture spring, the plants are growing well and will be large plants when we select for introductions and get ready to ship in spring 2012. 

We are excited about sending out larger plants and our customers have indicated their pleasure with the plants we shipped this spring.  The photo below shows plants ready for shipment this spring.  Althout the foliage is immature, the roots are large and the daylilies should adapt well and be ready to grow well this year. 

Plants ready for shipping

Posted on

Spring Weather

As we move into early summer, we have looked back at a wild spring weather.  It began in late March with a 15 inch snow storm followed by a cold spell.  The snow melted in April along with more than 8.5 inches of precipitation (rain and snow combined).  We had water standing in areas that never had water before.  The weather was also cool and windy.

May was cool but normal precipitation.  June started nice but we got into another rainy spell with 9.0 inches of rain from June 15 through June 23.  Another stretch of standing water in the yard.   The temperatures in that period were in the 60’s for high temperatures.  We refused to put the heat on in the house even though it was quite cool.  Daylilies are way behind in bloom season but the wet weather should make them grow well.  Below are pictures from April snow storms and the result of June rains:

June 23 flooded garden bed.

April 3 snow cover

April 19 snow

Posted on

Winter Hybridizing Plants

Each  year we have several plants from other hybridizers that we purchase for adding different genetics to our hybridizing program.  In the last 2 years we bought 6 – 10 plants each year for  hybridizing.  Some of the plants are:

Fringy, Shamrock Dew, Kings Solomon’s Treasure, Magical Marrakesh  – Stamile

Dovealicious and Force to be Reckoned With – Nicole Harry

Velvet Throne – Petit

Venus Fly Trap – Gossard

Kings Solomons Treasure – Holmes

Briar Patch – Grace

This winter, Magical Marrakesh, Shamrock Dew, and Dovealicious did well in the basement.  Briar Patch grew OK but was typically blotchy.  Velvet Throne was new this fall and did send up a scape – the first two flowers so far have been narrow without an edge.  I hope the flowers look better when the plant is bigger.  Below is a picture seedling 78-1, Magical Marrakesh, and 23-3.  The two seedlings are at least as nice as Magical Marrakesh. 

Just as I do not judge seedlings in the basement, the same is true for named cultivars.  Some plants struggle with the bloom cycle in the basement and don’t bloom in the basement or the following summer.  Some look different until the plants get larger and bloom outside. 


Posted on

How we number seedlings

We are often asked how we come up with the numbers for our seedlings.  Numbering seedlings is probably different for each hybridizer.  There is no official way to number seedlings and AHS offers no guidelines. 

Here is what we do.  We start our numbering process over each year.  We only number first year bloom seedlings that we mark to keep a second year.  We start the numbering each year with the last number of the year.  For this  year that would be “1”.  We add 2 digits to the series to get up to 100 numbers.  The first number identifies the pod parent.  For example, if the first flower in the summer of 2011 has August Wedding as a pod parent, that flower will be 100-1.  The second flower we mark as a keeper that has August Wedding as a pod parent will be 100-2.  Every following flower with August Wedding as a pod parent will be 100-3, 100-4 and so on.  The pollen parent could be different in each flower and we write down both parents for each flower. 

The second pod parent would have a starting number of 101-1.  Every new pod parent will get a new number followed by a series of numbers for every pod parent. 

Typically, we will have 300 to 400 first year seedlings we mark.  Our numbering system works well with that number of seedlings.  If we go beyond 100 unique pod parents, we start with 4 digits with the first one being 1000-1. 

This system works well for us.  Every hybridizer should develop their own.  Anyone is welcome to use our system or modify what we do.

Posted on

March 6, 2011

We will quit hybridizing in the basement tomorrow.  We usually figure at least 6 weeks from pollen dabbing to pods are ripe.  Quitting on March 7 gives us around third week of April for pods to ripen.  We then refrigerate seeds at least a couple weeks then can plant seeds by mid May.  Sprouted seedlings can go outside in garden in mid June and hopefully bloom in 2012.  We get better germination on seeds that are refrigerated longer. 

Our highlighted seedling today is 78-1.  The parentage on this one is all our own introductions.  Pod parent is (Hello Darkness x  Ancient of Days) x Song of the Redeemed.  78-1 first bloomed in 2010 and based on basement growth is dormant.  The color is rich dark red and has a heavy gold edge.  It opened well outside and in basement.  It has been a smaller flower (around 5 inch) and is smaller than any of its parents.  The color is so nice we are using it in basement and will spread pollen on some of our plants next summer as well. 


We brought a few named plants in the basement from other hybridizers to work with our own seedlings.  In purples, we have Magical Marrakesh (Stamile) and Briar Patch (Grace).   Magical Marrakesh has nice color and a nice edge.  Briar Patch is quite toothy but is consistently blotchy.  Many of our seedlings are consistently unblemished so using them with Briar Patch may breed out the blotchy look.  Seedling 78-1 is one of the seedlings we have used with Magical Marrakesh and Briar Patch.