Thursday, March 31, 2016

Looking Back - Statement of Intent


The Statement of Intent

I was reading over the Statement of Intent page here at my blog today. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was all still applicable. As I am beginning the next cycle of my breeding program, I thought a good point to start out with, to close out the fifth year and start my sixth year and next cycle, would be to post this page as a blogpost - a reminder of where my focus has been and remains.


This blog, all of its posts and its permanent pages are to be seen only as my own personal musings and thoughts on daylilies. I love to grow daylilies, but I have very specific standards for what I expect from a daylily. No one should ever feel I am suggesting that they should share my feelings or opinions. I think there needs to be a lot of diverse people doing very different things with daylilies, as this can assure diversity in the genus and lead to truly unique cultivars and lineages. In this way, breeders can explore the outer limits of the daylily genome. I can only say to anyone reading these pages or posts, take what works for you and chuck the rest.

You might think of this blog as a diary that I am using to help me define and refine my breeding aims. These pages are not instructional. Think of them more as conversational. I am asking questions here and discussing my own experiences, not providing answers. My intention for this blog is to write about my own process of developing breeding lines of daylilies reflecting the traits I value. Those traits may vary widely from yours, or they may be identical.

I feel that in the process of developing base lines, I need to simply focus on what performs wonderfully for me, in my own conditions.  Much of my writing here will reflect my process of choosing the cultivars (and later seedlings) from which to build strains that reflect my ideas and ideal about what makes a good daylily. I will also share my experiences in breeding, strain development and in breeding and selecting for disease resistance.

All daylilies aren't created equal, and there are different types of daylilies. I generally work with three main categories of daylilies in my own gardening design, though there are many sub-categories and cross-overs, so I don't mean for these three broad categories to be seen as mutually exclusive.

Regardless of ploidy, the three major categories I utilize in my own garden for daylilies are:

1. Landscape/Borders/Background and Mid-range Fill - These tend to be medium to tall.

2. Specimen/Focal Point/Shock Value - The freaks - all the extremes of flower phenotype.

3. Border Fill or Specimen/Potted Plant - These tend to be very short/shorter to medium height.

Each of these categories generally utilize quite different daylily cultivars. While there is some cross-over, there may be instances where I find a given cultivar really only works in one of these categories. As an example, for me it is most common that those that belong to category 2 are the least likely to fall into category 1 or 3, but there are a few that do. Different family lines can be developed to fill each niche category, and thus different selection criteria could apply to each category.

Most of my writing will speak in terms of these three categories, though I will touch on selection for things such as disease resistance, vigor, fertility and/or rebloom in a more general way.

I have grown a lot of cultivars that for one reason or another, are not suited to one or two of my three categories. A few cultivars have a flaw or two that makes them unsuitable for any of these categories, in my own garden. Those cultivars (and later seedlings) are removed from my growing environment. I fervently believe that breeding from plants that show the traits you want, in terms of overall plant performance, is essential to producing lineages that reflect those desired traits. Others may choose to follow other criteria and a cultivar that is not suitable in my garden or my breeding program may work wonderfully for someone else in another environment. Never think I am suggesting otherwise.

I want to focus my discussion of cultivars to those that do well in my environment. Those that do not do well in my environment may do well in another environment or care regime. I do not want to seem as though I mean that a plant which has shown an elimination flaw in my garden is necessarily a "bad cultivar". Rather, they are simply not suited to my program. It is up to each individual to determine their own criteria of selection and their own tolerance-limits with any given flaw or problem. As well, each person must determine what cultivars will work for them, in their own site, for their own aims.