Sunday, July 13, 2014

A Trip To Thoroughbred Daylilies...

The Region Ten Regional

Friday July 4th, 2014

As those of you who know me realize, I am an introverted homebody, so I nearly have to be pulled out of my house and gardens kicking and screaming. Therefore, I hadn't planned to attend the region ten regional being held by the Bluegrass Hemerocallis Society. I had my reasons! After the long spring recovery from my shoulder injury, I could easily justify not going by having so much work to catch up on, by having 45 new baby bantam chicks that I ordered to get restarted with chickens after my fall weasel-hit to care for and by the fact that my garden was in peak bloom and I would miss a couple of days of hybridizing if I went. However, Annette Rice, who is just simply a lovely person and one of my email buddies, contacted me to see if I would be willing to help out during their garden tour on Friday July 4th and I felt like I needed to go, so I said yes. The chance to see John and Annette's garden and the fact that Curt Hanson would be there were big selling points. To complete the package, I received an email from Elizabeth Trotter (BGHS President) letting the membership know that we could pay a nominal fee to attend either of the banquets without attending the full regional event, and Curt Hanson and Dan Hansen were the scheduled speakers for Friday night.

Since I am not a morning person and don't really like traveling, especially when I am sleepy, the only sensible thing was to go to Lexington on the 3rd and get a room for the night so I could get up early and be out to Thoroughbred Daylilies without have to spend a lot of time driving. So on Thursday the 3rd, I got up early, got all my hybridizing done, fed the chickens well and got on the road so I could be at the room by check-in and then spent the rest of the evening with friends in Lexington. On Friday the 4th, I got up early and was at Thoroughbred Daylilies by 8:30 a.m. Annette was busy deadheading and John was getting the tables set up for the lunches. I helped get the tables prepped and then had some time to walk the gardens and take photos, and just drink in the daylilies, before the buses arrived.

It was a perfect day, with cool temperatures and lots of sunshine. John's grow-out beds are very well arranged and his plants are just beautiful. In addition to the many beautiful flowers, most of which are John and Annette's introductions, the foliage and scapes are also beautiful and show a keen eye for fine plant selection. I could write a lot of words to describe it, but a picture is worth a thousand words, after all, so let's just look at some pictures. And please be aware, these pictures were taken with my Galaxy Tab rather than my professional camera, so they aren't the clearest on detail and the bright light blurred out some details too, but they still show the lovely and high quality of the plants and the flowers.

Rice - 2009

Rice - 2007

Rice - 2006

Rice - 2010

Rice - 2011

Rice - 2012

Rice - 2007

Rice - 2012

Rice - 2010

Rice - 2013

Rice - 2010

As you can see from the above pictures, Thoroughbred Gardens has some truly lovely introductions. By the time that I had walked all the beds and taken lots of photos, the first bus arrived and the day was underway.

With the beautiful weather and the wonderful flowers, it was a very successful event. Once both buses arrived, there were over 70 people present in the garden and I had the chance to speak to a great many of them, both in the garden and when I helped to serve the lunches and drinks. It was a great group of people and I had many enjoyable conversations. The day was a success and I was very glad to attend and help John and Annette to have a successful garden tour.

After the buses had departed and the event was done, I stayed and helped with digging the plants that had been sold so that the divisions could be delivered on Saturday the 5th at the second banquet. It was wonderful to watch the digging and dividing and to talk with John about his techniques and methods. Then, once the digging was nearly finished, Curt Hanson arrived. I have emailed back and forth with Curt for a while now and in addition to daylilies, we share an interest in many other types of garden plants as well as chickens. It was nice to finally meet Curt in the flesh and have the opportunity to talk. Once the dug plants were tucked in the barn, I then had the opportunity to walk through the garden beds with John and Curt. This was very educational and a great opportunity for a new hybridizer to learn from two true masters. I then went back to my room to rest and shower and get ready for the banquet that night.

The banquet began at 6:30 p. m. and the dinner was very nice with pasta and salad and a lovely array of deserts. The keynote speaker was Curt Hanson. His talk was very inspirational as he discussed the new sculpted form daylilies and his breeding efforts with them. He stressed his influences drawn from nature and art and peppered his slide show with magnificent photos of his travels around the globe that stressed the sculptural designs of nature and many unusual and interesting botanical specimens, both domestic hybrids and wild-growing specimens, from which he draws inspiration in his hybridizing work. As I work with several of Curt's and other hybridizers sculpted cultivars, I was extremely excited by the information in his presentation and the chance to understand more about Curt's own inspirations in his approach to hybridizing. He is a true master breeder who is pushing the genus Hemerocallis forward into new and exciting places through his unique and artistic vision.

Curt Hanson giving his presentation 
(illuminated by a ray of light as he shares his wisdom)

Dan Hansen was the second speaker and his presentation was also very impressive. By working in Florida, Dan is able to make very fast advances and his program is extraordinary. I am working with his introductions LOVE COMFORTS THE SOUL and WHALE TAILS, and can attest to their fine qualities. Like Curt's presentation, Dan focused on the sculptural forms and his presentation also left me very inspired and energized.

The BGHS Region Ten Regional was a big success. I heard later that the next day was also a wonderful experience and I hated that I had to miss it, especially the tour of Daylily World and David Kirchhoff's presentation at that night's banquet, but I had to get back home, as hungry chickens and unpollinated daylilies awaited. It was great to meet so many wonderful people and I am very glad I went, even though I couldn't attend the whole event. I came home very energized and inspired and ready to work hard with my own program. My thanks to John and Annette Rice, Elizabeth Trotter, Curt Hanson and Sunny Caldwell, Dan Hansen and all the great people who attended and the BGHS members who made the day a great success. In all, I only missed one day of pollinating and the chickens all still had food and clean water when I got back, so in spite of my introversion, I am so glad I attended. A special thanks to Annette Rice for coaxing me out of my lair! :-)