Sunday, March 29, 2020

New Page Layout for Breeding Program

New Page Layout for Breeding Program

Reorganization of Breeding Program Pages and Layout

I wanted to make a short post to announce that I have begun to restructure the main page for my breeding program. The diploid pages, which had already been posted, will remain the same and will be accessed through the new main Overview of Breeding Program page. I will be adding a section on my tetraploid program throughout this year. For now, the main tetraploid page is available, and new pages will be posted soon. The new main page can be found in the pages links at the top of the site, or by clicking below.

Diploid Program Main Page

Diploid Program Main Page

Enjoy my Diploid Breeding Program presentation.
Remember to click on any slide in the presentation to see an enlarged version.

Click here to begin.

Or scroll on down to the listing of presentation segments below.

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Tetraploid Program Main Page

Tetraploid Program Main Page

Enjoy my Tetraploid Breeding Program presentation.
Remember to click on any slide in the presentation to see an enlarged version.

Coming Soon

Click here to begin.

Or scroll on down to the listing of presentation segments below.

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Pages Here

Coming Soon

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Looking Back and Looking Forward… 2019 and 2020

Looking Back and Looking Forward… 
2019 and 2020

Seeing the Vision Become Reality
February 26, 2020

Today was a beautiful day, and so I spent some time in the garden. I have had three previous nice days since 2020 started, and have used all of those catching up on garden work. I had planned to take some pictures in the garden today, but I had forgotten the camera on and the battery had run down, so once I got that hooked to the charger, I was left with a beautiful day and no scheduled activities, so I decided to take some time to walk through the garden and just make some observations. That turned out to be a wonderful thing, as it gave me a chance to not only see how things were looking, but, being in an introspective state lately, it gave me a chance to think about my longterm goals.

2020 marks the tenth year since I bought the first new daylilies to start my breeding program. Of course, I had already been growing daylilies for over three decades at that time, but from 2008 I had begun planning a breeding program and there were plants I knew I would need to start that program that I didn't already have, and so those plants I bought in 2010 were the first plants I brought in specifically for breeding purposes. I also bought seeds on the Lily Auction in 2010, and those were the first seedlings I grew. Some of those are now introductions, and a few more will come out in the future. 2011 was the first year I made my own crosses, so 2020 is the tenth year since I started my program and the ninth year since I began hybridizing in my own garden.

H. fulva var. Korean

From 2008 I was planning a very specific program, and along with that I had created a timeline to guide the process of developing my own lines. The program outline spanned a twenty-year period, broken up into four five-year segments.

Ancient Elf

The first five-year segment was to test cultivars and species clones to find individual plants that met my criteria for a wide range of traits and to make crosses amongst the select cultivars and species clones to create a first round of seedlings that would also receive the full range of testing to form the base plants for my breeding program. Another aspect of this period was to make 'salvage crosses', where a plant with a very advanced flower, but lacking in plant traits, was crossed with a select, superior plant, regardless of its flower traits, in order to 'salvage' the flower trait genes onto superior plants so that in later generations the advanced and interesting flower traits could be brought back out on plants with superior traits. Salvage crosses can't be expected to produce their magic in one generation and require at least two generations to start to shine, sometimes more, and to reveal the wonder of wide-crosses and weaving disparate lines to bring distant traits together into one line. Salvage crossing is not for the impatient. In the second and later generations, you may be looking for only a tiny percentage of individual plants that show the combination of traits you desire, and you may need to be able to recognize very minute expressions of traits, because it is more likely that you won't get any plants in the second generation that show all the traits you want, but you will need to recognize individual plants that show some of the traits and then perhaps do a sibling mating or backcross to an ancestor to further concentrate the traits. The more traits you are trying to combine, the longer it is likely to take, unless you are selecting through massive numbers of seedlings, and even then it may take a few generations.

Solaris Symmetry

The second five-year period was to cross select F1 seedlings in a variety of directions including backcrossing to select parents, to select unrelated hybrid cultivars and for use in salvage crossing. Much of this period involved backcrossing to select parents, as well as crossing select cultivars with each other to make a new round of first generation seedlings, many of those focused on flower traits along with desirable plant traits. Another aspect of this period was to continue with any salvage crosses that were of interest. This period should have seen the majority of the major salvage crossing work. Now, at the end of this period, I can say it has been successful and that I have achieved the objectives I had proposed for this period.

Ancient Elf x Solaris Symmetry
First generation select base seedling

The third and fourth five-year segments will involve concentrating the traits I have saturated my lines with, both in terms of plant traits and flower traits. Because many of my initial crosses involved crossing fancy, modern cultivars back to species clones or to older hybrid cultivars, many of the first or second generation plants don't show the extreme flower traits I hope to reach in the future, but the genes are there, and I have begun seeing second and third generation seedlings in the last couple of years where many of those traits are starting to reemerge. So the next decade will be the period where I concentrate the genes of both plant and flower, producing the kind of flowers I want to look at on the kind of plants I want to grow.

Through the winter, as I prepared my 2020 Monday Night Lights Facebook presentation, I have had the opportunity to look through my 2019 seedling pictures very closely, and through that to appreciate a lot of things about where my program is at this time, and how it is meeting the expectations I had at the beginning a decade ago. I am now entering a very exciting phase of my program where the genes for the flower traits and plants traits are all in place and I have proven to my own satisfaction that the ideas I had early on are going to work out, so now it is just a matter of braiding the base lines I have made into complex and concentrated lineages. Honestly, my program is just now, at ten years in, at the point most people would be within two or three years. While most people can simply go out and buy some fancy flowers and start breeding from there, focusing solely on making more extreme flowers, I couldn't simply buy-in my base program, because the kind of flowers I want were not available to me on the kind of plants I want to grow, so my first decade has been spent in making the breeding base from which I can now develop a visually unique flower program, but with those superior plant traits.  

2020 Monday Night Lights introductory slide
click for larger image

2019 was an interesting year. I saw some amazing first-year-of-flower seedlings in the seedling bed, and I was finally able to make the last series of salvage crosses using introductions from Tet Rose F Kennedy. I have been braiding together cultivars and seedlings for nearly a decade to have a strong base to take the RFK lineage over at the tet level. While I may bring in the occasional new plant to cross into my lines in the future, 2019 was the last year where the majority of pollinations for an entire breeding season will revolve around producing a large number of seedlings from one line in order to salvage the good traits, while combining them with improved and desirable plant traits for my environment and breeding goals. In the late summer I eliminated the majority of cultivars from other hybridizers from my hybridizing garden, keeping only about 100 cultivars from other programs, and opening up space for the biggest move of select seedlings into the hybridizing garden that I have done since the program started. 2015 saw a large move of select seedling into the hybridizing garden and I again moved a fair number in 2018, but 2019 was massive. This now makes the majority of my hybridizing garden my own seedlings and introductions, and mainly tetraploid.

Second generation (Backcross - BC1) Seedlings
-(Ancient Elf x Solaris Symmetry) x Solaris Symmetry-
The Ancient Elf x Solaris Symmetry seedling pictured above is the pollen parent of these seedlings.
Click picture for larger image

So today, as I had time to just walk through the beds, I was able to make some important observations about the progress of foliage habit of my program. Because so much of my first five years focused on incorporating rust resistance, I initially had a lot of evergreen foliage amongst my seedlings, even though I am more focused on dormant foliage habit, but to get a trait like rust resistance, you have to go where it exists to get it, and it was far easier to find in tetraploids amongst evergreen and semi-evergreen types. As the genes involved in the evergreen foliage behaviors are quite dominant, that made a lot of my initial work seem to skew that direction. Further, many of the flower traits I love are also predominantly found on evergreen foliage type plants, so this further skewed things. 

However, now that I am a few generations in, I am seeing those dormant foliage behavior genes reemerge and each generation of seedlings is showing less and less evergreen foliage traits. I haven't really paid that much attention to the foliage behavior other than to cull out extremely tender evergreen in the seedlings from the last three or four years, as that is something I typically only start to pay close attention to once I have selected a seedling and moved it into final testing in the hybridizing garden. Today I was pleasantly surprised to note that a lot of the seedlings I had moved in late 2019 are either nearly-dormant or strongly dormant. Of course, some are semi-evergreen and a few are fully evergreen behavior, but the vast majority of my selects that were moved in late 2019 are in the dormant range, and a surprising number are strongly dormant. Further, most of those that are not dormant carry dormant genetics in a heterozygous state.

The Spice Must Flow
(Implausibility x Bali Watercolor)

Today in the seedling beds, I noted that certain later-generation seedlings are showing a significant level of dormancy. For instance, seedlings from the Ancient Elf x Solaris Symmetry F1 seedlings, when crossed to either other dormants (even those less dormant than the AEXSS seedlings are), or to seedlings that show evergreen to semi-evergreen foliage, but that themselves have a dormant parent (i.e., recessive for dormancy genes), show a very significant level of dormant offsprings. It is very gratifying to see these recessive genes reemerge. Base F1 seedlings such as my 2019 introduction The Spice Must Flow, which is a very hardy plant that shows semi-evergreen foliage, but has a dormant parent, is throwing some significantly dormant seedlings, especially when crossed back to very dormant partners. 

The Spice Must Flow x Pacific Rainbow seedling

Seedlings descending from my 2019 introduction Korean Queen, which is very dormant, also tend to show significant dormancy. It is really gratifying to see the recessive genes reemerging, both in the flower and in the plant traits. While I knew this was how things worked, from a lifetime of working with genetics, it is still a marvelous thing to watch happen. What I realized today is that I have actually made a great deal of progress and am right where I had hoped to be at by this point. That gave me a great deal of excitement and gratitude today, and was a lift I needed as the winter slowly draws to its close and a new season is nearing its beginning. It confirms that I just need to continue on with the plan I have laid out, focus on my own select seedlings and begin to braid things together in unique ways to concentrate the strengths and desirable traits.

Korean Queen
H. fulva var. Korean x Queen's Circle

The observations of today further galvanize the plans I have for my 2020 breeding season. First, each year since 2016 I have been reducing the number of seeds I have produced each year. In 2016, I produced over 500,000 seeds. In 2019 I produced about 15,000 - 20,000 seeds. As the genes get blended, and I am working with plants rich in the genes I want to work with, and with proven breeders to backcross to, I no longer have to produce the huge numbers of seeds I needed in the earlier days of the program. Last year would have seen an even smaller seed production, but I did one last major salvage project, and even though I made those crosses to a limited number of individual select seedlings and cultivars of known quantity and proven breeding ability, I still felt it best to make as many seeds in each of those crosses as I could to have a wide margin for selection. 2020 will see a smaller number of seeds, hopefully around 5,000 - 7,500, as there will be no large salvage crosses and should be little to no small salvage crossings either. This year, I will be focusing on a very small number of pollen parents chosen from my select, tested F1 seedlings from the 2011 and 2012 seasons and for pod parents, the focus will be on select seedlings from the 2013, 2014 and 2015 seasons. I will also make a few crosses to younger seedlings just to begin testing fertility in a few of the most interesting later-generation seedlings, and a few crosses made to select cultivars from other hybridizer's programs. 

Because some family events will require a lot of my attention this year, I plan for this to be a slower season, where most of my focus will be on just keeping the weeds beat back, making a few select crosses and not much else. I will mark select seedlings, but many of those will not get moved in 2020. With the way I mark select seedlings by tying flagging tape around the base of the clump, I will begin tagging a few years before I make final selection in the seedling beds. In that way, a select seedling that is ready to be moved to the hybridizing garden for the final round of testing may end up with two, three or four tags at the base of the clump. I know that the more ties at the base, the longer that plant has been under observation, and I can be more sure of its select status. So the select tagging for this year will most likely just be a step in the journey, though most select seedlings are unlikely to get moved until at least 2021. Another things this season will allow me to do, and something I am really looking forward to, is to have more time for simply making observations, and last but not least, to just enjoy the fruits of a decade of intensive labor and effort.

To close out, I would like to offer you the closing thoughts from my 2020 Monday Night Lights Facebook presentation...

Click for larger image

Sunday, January 5, 2020

2020 Introductions

Sun Dragon Daylilies 
Spring 2020 Introductions

For a complete list of available daylilies and pricing, click here.

I am very proud of this new group of 2020 introductions. All thirteen introductions for this year are diploids and all have been screened through multiple years of testing in my garden. They are a bright and bold collection of great plants both for the garden and for use in breeding programs. I hope you enjoy growing and breeding from them as much as I have!

For more information on any of these daylilies, just click on the name below the picture to go to the individual information page for that cultivar. Be sure to read the whole page, as they are fairly long with multiple pictures, and I give a lot of information on each cultivar. I also show seedlings for many of them on the information page. Enjoy!

For a complete list of available daylilies and pricing, click here.

Substantial Angel

Substantial Angel
(Sdlg# SEHAI1)

2020 - Reeder - Diploid - 
Substantial Evidence x Heavenly Angel Ice - 
28" scape - 6" flower - 3 branches - 12 buds - Midseason - Rebloom - Dormant

Flat flower with prominent ruffling, extremely pale, icy lavender-pink above large green throat blending into chartreuse extending far onto petals and sepals.

For a complete list of available daylilies and pricing, click here.

Substantial Angel is a soft, sweet touch of pastel glory in the garden. With the flat form of Substantial Evidence and the pastel clarity of Heavenly Angel Ice, this is one flower filled with celestial beauty, but it is more than just a pretty face. Deriving from my 2012 breeding season, Substantial Angel went through the last four years of my rust resistance screening program rating A+ consistently in each year. The plant is one of the so-called "hard" dormant types that goes underground in the winter and forms a bud that doesn't emerge until fairly late in the spring. In spite of the strong dormancy, I have never seen it show summer dormancy.

The foliage is a nice medium green and the flower and buds show moderately high resistance to thrips. The plant shows fairly high resistance to late spring freezes and there is excellent increase, with the plant recovering well from division. There is rebloom in my garden each year. The fertility is very high both ways.

The color of Substantial Angel is very interesting. I consider it a pale, icy pink when viewed in person, but it always seems to photograph as a near-white or a pale lavender. Some people upon viewing it in person call it a near-white, while some call it pale pink and yet others call it pale lavender. The eye of the beholder... I registered it as a lavender-pink, sort of as a compromise. I have rarely seen it be what I would call a near-white, but I have seen that on rare occasions. The throat though is always huge and very bright green moving out to chartreuse, with a lot of chartreuse shaded throughout the flower as an undertone to the petals and sepals.

The picture above shows Substantial Angel's baby picture from its first year of flowering. I was simply blown away when it first flowered. I had made the cross to combine the flat form, high rust resistance and great plant traits of Substantial Evidence with the great color dilution and clarity, as well as the extremely high rust resistance, of Heavenly Angel Ice, while hoping to also improve the plant traits of HAI, which is not the best plant ever in my garden. I expected to get some advances from the cross, but I didn't expect to get this great flower, and certainly not to get it on a really good plant as well. 

Substantial Angel shows very good breeding value for all its many desirable traits. It is very fertile both ways and has good breeding value for its many gorgeous flower traits and its many excellent plant traits. I have produced a good number of seedlings that show "hard" dormancy, extremely high rust resistance, very clear colored flat flowers and rebloom, some just showing one or two of these traits and a few showing all of them combined as in the parent. Substantial Angel is an excellent garden plant and is a great breeder for a wide range of traits that are important to many modern diploid programs.

Feathered Dragon

Feathered Dragon
(Sdlg# TFFTCLF19)

2020 - Reeder - Diploid - 
(Texas Feathered Fancy x Tanimbar Cockatoo) x Lavender Feathers - 
28" scape - 6.5" flower - 5 branches - 25 buds - Midseason - Rebloom - Dormant - Unusual Form (crispate/pinched) - Cristate

Medium lavender petals with blue-lavender eye above green throat becoming chartreuse as it merges into the eye, cristations showing very bluish tips.

For a complete list of available daylilies and pricing, click here.

Feathered Dragon is a beautiful and exotic flower, combining the pinched crispate unusual form with the sculpted cristation trait. The lovely bright lavender color with bluish tones, especially in the eye and at the ends of the cristations, all above the big green and chartreuse throat, is extremely striking. Combining the lineage of Texas Feathered Fancy through both parents with Brian Mahieu's lovely Tanimbar Cockatoo on the pod parent side, Feathered Dragon brings new possibility to the cristate style, especially for those who wish to take the trait in the direction of unusual forms and spider type. The pollen parent, Lavender Feathers, which I introduced in 2016, is a great plant with extremely high rust resistance. The pod parent also showed this same extremely high rust resistance, and Feathered Dragon shows this as well.

2015 first year of flower baby picture

Feathered Dragon derives from my 2013 breeding season and so went through three years of rust resistance screening (2014, 2015 and 2016), rating the highest rating (A+) all three years. From the first flower, this one was a standout. As you can see in the picture above it was gorgeous from its first year. Like its pollen parent, Lavender Feathers, it shows cristation 100% of the time, though as with all cristate types, the exact size of the cristation can vary somewhat. At times, it honestly has a few more lines of cristation than I prefer, but it has so many other good traits, I can look over that. Of course, that will appeal to a lot of other people.

2016, second year of flowering - closeup of cristations. Here, photographed near sunset, the bluish coloring is accentuated by the lighting, but there is considerable bluish coloring to the lavender-purple flower, especially in the eye, regardless of lighting or time of day.

Feathered Dragon isn't just a beautiful flower though. The plant is also beautiful and shows great, dark green foliage along with very good increase. Combined with the extremely high rust resistance, this makes for a really stunning plant for the home garden or collector's garden. In test mating, I have seen many seedlings from Feathered Dragon showing the same fine plant traits. The foliage is dormant and displays the desirable trait of going into dormancy and staying dormant until fairly late in the spring, however, it doesn't show any summer dormancy. It shows moderately high resistance to late spring freezes. The plant also shows rebloom every year in my garden, which is another advancement over both of its parents.

2017, third year of flowering, showing the very high thrip resistance. If you look closely at this picture enlarged, you can see a few thrips on the petals, but there is almost no damage to the flower. This picture is in full sun in mid-evening.

Feathered Dragon shows very high resistance to thrips, showing little thrips damage even when they are heavily present. There is very little damage to the buds and very little bud drop when the thrips are heavy. The flower can show some mild spotting from heavy rains, but the flower has good substance and holds up well to sun and rain. Of great importance too, is that Feathered Dragon is very fertile both ways, setting pods easily and displaying very fertile pollen. This has allowed me to use it widely in my own breeding work and makes it an easy and generous parent.

2018, fourth year of flowering,  after a full day in 100 degree weather, showing the resilience of the flower to high heat and sun. While the color has faded slightly, it is still strongly pigmented, showing the strong bluish color in the eye and retaining a good deal of green in the chartreuse throat.

Feathered Dragon shows consistently excellent branching, both in my poor soil conditions and in the richer conditions of my mother's garden, and this is a big advance over both of its parents. It shows this excellent branching on its rebloom scapes here in my garden, as well. The picture below shows line-out double or triple fans in 2019 that had been divided and lined out in the fall of 2018. I had been seeing this incredible branching since the first flowering in 2015, but I was prepared for the branching to be greatly reduced on the first-year line outs after I divided the original clump, which is usual for most daylilies. However, I was simply blown away when every division of the line outs produced the normal five to six-way branched scapes in their first year, and went on to produce rebloom scapes, as well! That is unusual and exceptional, and very exciting! The bud count is high, and was on the first-year line outs, as well. With the high resistance to thrips, the large number of buds hold on well without bud drop, don't show enations and display beautiful flowers.

2019 the amazing scapes on first-year line out divisions

Feathered Dragon shows excellent breeding value for all of its good traits, producing a high number of seedlings combining many of its excellent traits. Both of its parents have been excellent plants, so it is not too surprising to me that Feathered Dragon has many good traits. However, it exceeds both of its parents for the number of good traits in one plant and shows some advancements over both of its parents, such as its rebloom and high branch and bud counts. In this regard, it is a combination of the best traits of both parents concentrated into one plant, and showing advancements. With that concentration of traits and advancements, Feathered Dragon can produce significant progress as a breeder in a wide range of programs.

Pod parent (Tanimbar Cockatoo x Texas Feathered Fancy)

Pollen parent - My 2016 introduction Lavender Feathers

Feathered Dragon's parents are both beautiful flowers with excellent plants, but Feathered Dragon takes their many good traits to a new level, with a more advanced plant and flower, combined with the high resistance to rust of both parents and better thrips resistance than either parent. I can't say enough good things about Feathered Dragon, and I honestly considered not introducing it, to keep it as my own secret breeder, but it is too good not to share. In the picture below, you can see that the flowers are large, unusual and striking. This picture was taken late in the afternoon on a day when there had been heavy rain in the morning and hot sun throughout the afternoon. You can see that the flower holds up well and still looks good. I think Feathered Dragon will be both popular and an important parent for years to come.

2019 flowers after a morning of hard rain on first-year line outs

Click here to go back to introductions page

Feathered Flamingo

Feathered Flamingo
(Sdlg# TFFTCLF23)

2020 - Reeder - Diploid - 
(Texas Feathered Fancy x Tanimbar Cockatoo) x Lavender Feathers - 
29" scape - 6" flower - 2 branches - 9 buds - Midseason - Rebloom - Dormant - Unusual Form (crispate/pinched) - Cristate

Light pink with lighter, near white midribs above green to chartreuse throat, cristations chartreuse with pink on tips.

For a complete list of available daylilies and pricing, click here.

Feathered Flamingo is a full sibling to Feathered Dragon, and is a gorgeous flower of stunning clear pink, with both lighter and darker tones combined with cream highlights. The parents are both excellent plants with gorgeous flowers and both show extremely high rust resistance, as does Feathered Flamingo. From my 2013 breeding season, I saw the first flower on Feathered Flamingo in 2015 and knew it was a standout from the start. Like its sibling Feathered Dragon, Feathered Flamingo was tested through the last three years of my rust resistance screening program, showing the highest rating each year (A+).

2015 first year of flowering baby picture

Feathered Flamingo is a lovely pinched, crispate unusual form, giving it great interest in the garden. The cristation is a nice added bonus, and it is consistently cristate on 90%+ of the flowers. In the picture below you can see it on a day with the lowest expression, and even though I would say it isn't cristate that day, you can still see the raised areas on both sides of the midrib where the cristations emerge. One of my favorite traits about this plant is the heavy ruffling on the edges of the petals. It has shown this consistently since its first flower. I think that the heavy ruffling is a real bonus on such an interesting flower.

2017 showing lowest level of cristation that I have seen, but still a stunning flower.

Feathered Flamingo has been very rust resistant with good resistance to thrips. It is fertile both ways, with excellent pollen allowing it to be used far and wide in a breeding program, but it does have a couple of drawbacks that almost kept me from introducing it, even though I have used it a lot as a breeder. Over time I came to realize that the branching and bud counts are low, the foliage is not as gorgeous as its parents or impressive sibling, Feathered Dragon, and the increase is poor. Not enough to knock it out of breeding in my program, but it made it questionable for introduction. However, everyone who has seen it in my garden has flipped out over it and asked me to introduce it, so for all those who have asked, here it is! In fact, so many people want it, I suspect it is already sold out before I can even get it listed. I am planning to keep one fan for my own breeding, and with the slow increase, it may be a long time before I have any more to offer, though I may well have some better increasing seedlings to introduce on down the line. It will be interesting to see if Feathered Flamingo shows better increase in other gardens, and I look forward to hearing how it does in other garden environments.

With the negatives out of the way, now let's talk about the wonderful breeding traits of Feathered Flamingo. The flower is stunning, and the plant shows high rust and thrips resistance, as well as rebloom. Even though the increase is slow, it is very hardy and resilient and went through five years in an extremely crowded seedling row where it showed no problem competing with larger, stronger, faster increasing plants. The foliage is dormant and fully rests in the winter, only emerging fairly late in the spring, and shows no summer dormancy. I have seen rebloom most years since it first flowered. Those are all very valuable traits, and as both of its parents show better increase, I suspected I could get seedlings from it that showed better increase combined with its many good traits, and on a prettier plant with better branching/bud count. 

Pod parent (Tanimbar Cockatoo x Texas Feathered Fancy)

Pollen parent - My 2016 introduction Lavender Feathers

In practice, I have found Feathered Flamingo to be very fertile both ways and so have been able to test it for breeding value. It passes its many good traits easily, and while you see some seedlings with its negative traits, you also see seedlings that show improvements in those traits. Feathered Flamingo has produced seedlings in my program that show very attractive foliage, higher branching/bud count and good increase, in addition to showing the good traits such as bright, clear coloring, high rust and thrips resistance and rebloom. I think Feathered Flamingo will be a valuable breeder for those who get a chance to use it.

Click here to go back to introductions page