Friday, January 25, 2019

2018 - Looking Back

2018 - Looking Back

The Year in Review

With all my planned work for late 2018 and early 2019 finished, I can now take some time to reflect on the year that has just passed. 

An odd year with tremendous rain, the first thing that stands out in my memory is the advancements in flower phenotype I saw in the seedlings from the last three years of my rust resistance screening program. I have now seen each year that was screened in flower, including both F1 outcrosses and second generation seedlings from some of the oldest, five-year screened F1 seedlings, and I feel like I have an excellent, diverse base to select first level and secondary base plants. Some seedlings will undoubtedly be used in breeding, but only become tertiary, perhaps not even making the cut to stay in my program, with only some of their genes remaining in descendants. The process of selecting truly superior plants, both in terms of performance and breeding value, is to spend some time with them, observing through multiple years, and making selections over time based upon longterm performance, both in the garden and in the seedling bed. But I digress...

The winter of early 2018 was warm and rainy and then cold and rainy/snowy/frozen repeatedly, with the obligatory warm spells sprinkled in between. The cold lasted well into April here, and so all faster-growing daylilies (which emerge from winter rest after five seconds of warmish weather), and any plants that had the temerity to come out early, were repeatedly blasted. We lost many plants of many genera that appear to have simply rotted in the ground. I have never seen peony take such a hit! Both types were effected, with the herbaceous taking the most damage, but the woody types also sustained substantial damage, which I have never seen before. Tree peony usually show high frost tolerance here. I also lost more daylilies in the winter of 2018 than I have ever lost in winter before, however, that was only about 32 cultivars and no seedlings. While the cultivars that died did show some consistent features such as foliage behavior or frost susceptibility, the other points were rather random, covering plants that had been in the garden for over a decade through established plants to plants that had been here for only a year or two. There was not a significant loss of one or two year plants though, so it wasn't just new plants being lost. For instance, the remaining clumps of Nivia Guest, which I have been growing here since in mid-1990s, were decimated last spring. While the winters for the last four or five years have been gradually wearing it away, I don't think we have any of it left now.

However, that harsh, killing winter and spring were not just something to mourn! They also offered the opportunity to observe what survived, how well those survived and what their performance was. As one would expect, there were a lot of problems in the early/early group. The late freezes and cool, rainy late spring made the display poor on many early/early cultivars. However, as usual, Whooperee and Spider Man looked good. Solaris Symmetry gave its usual good performance. I was further able to observe the seedlings that I have been selecting for good performance in the early/early flowering season. I was very happy to see that the majority of the seedlings that have had three or more years of selection for good early/early performance continued to give excellent performance. Amongst those, the most note-worth is a seedling that has consistently been my earliest flowering tetraploid, always showing great performance here in this difficult season in my garden. It is a 2019 introduction - Eos At Dawn - and was germinated here in August 2011.

The 2018 spring shipping season was good for me, though I overdid myself several times. I was very happy to distribute some of my own introductions to several daylily breeders. I look forward to seeing how they use them in breeding, and hearing how they have done! My flower season begins about the time I finish shipping, with just a couple of weeks in between. Those are always busy with weeding! With all the rain, weeding was a major theme all year!

Solaris Symmetry 2018

The season itself was rainy and hot, much like a tropical rainforest.  Weed growth (as well as plant growth) was extreme. I had very good flowering on most things from the early season on. Early/early (as always) was the most damaged, with any sign of damage from the difficult spring showing less and less as each part of the season unfolded. I had to be very careful all summer, as my pinched nerve was in overdrive and everything I did irritated it and threatened 'an episode'. While most of my summer was spent battling a verdant display of weeds, I also took time to do a few pollinations that I thought were important. I did everything I could to take care of myself and not precipitate a physical injury and didn't end up with a full episode of pinched nerve, so that was great, and the breedings I accomplished this summer, I think, were very important for the future of my program. Even though the year was productive, it was painful, my shoulder was frozen and every time I bent over T4 threatened to pop out of place. For whatever reason, typing caused me tremendous pain in my shoulders all summer and so unanswered emails have stacked up and multiple planned blog posts didn't get written. In spite of all that, it was a lovely year!

2018 Garden Images
(More text below the pictures)

I love the combination of the bright, hot, magenta coneflowers and the cool, pale yellow daylilies in this shot.

The cool blue-gray of the fescue grass combined with the hot coneflowers and neutral green of Sun-hosta makes a nice effect here. A rock garden border leading into a wildflower border, leading to a daylily bed.

Soft, lavender-pink coneflowers serve as a backdrop to daylily 'Orange Velvet'. 'Orange Velvet' usually blooms on taller scapes in this particular location.  Short scapes in my gardens seem to correlate with instances of late spring freezes. This one grows in a very open location and many things around it suffered from late spring freezes in 2018.

Tall, well-branched daylily seedlings in a border planting including Asclepias, Crocosmia, Echinacea and Solidago. These are select seedlings from my breeding program that are being tested for landscape applications in mixed perennial borders. The branching and bud count of the peach-orange seedling (center) is quite nice. 

Seedling Bed - 2018

Hybridizing Garden - 2018

During the spring it became obvious to me that I had to make a big shift in plantings in 2018. That was one reason I was disappointed that I couldn't do much in the summer, but I was able to make two donations of older cultivars, which freed up a great deal of space to rearrange many of my plants, especially in my line out bed. I was so grateful to the people from both clubs who came and dug the plants! You all did me a huge service there, and I hope the plants benefit the clubs!

Seedling Bed

By August I felt like I could dig again and I began moving things, digging plants to ship and digging seedlings for line out. It became clear to me through the season that some major changes had to happen in the large mixed flower gardens. I had begun removing old plantings that have been in place for a long time, many having proven to be lesser performers over the longterm. I started that work the previous summer (2017) and completed it (for the most part) this fall (2018). 

In the spaces where these plants were removed, select seedlings and my own introductions have gone back in their place. This is further testing, starting by putting in single, double or triple fans (depending on what was available) and seeing how they perform, in the process allowing them to become established display clumps. Three different major display beds have received this treatment. These daylily plantings will not really look great again until 2020 to 2021, but with a mixed flower garden, there will still be some flowers of other genera of plants, as well as the few established daylily clumps that were retained. Things planted last year will start to give a show this year, being full mature in 2020, while those planted in fall 2018 should be at peak by 2021.

One of the mixed flower beds that was overhauled in 2018. The addition of chainlink fencing has kept the deer out, and gave us the feeling of security to go ahead with this big garden overhaul.

Another large section of the garden was being grown as a perennial bed in the style of a prairie or field, but using plantings of native and garden perennials mixed together. In recent years, it has become hard to manage. A tiny piece of Houttuynia cordata 'Chameleon' made its way into this bed and is threatening to take the entire larger garden, while I made the mistake of leaving some native, volunteer Clematis virginiana in the bed (because it is lovely!) that had become gigantic and spread by seeds aggressively in the bed. A long border has been worked in behind this over the last three years and is now mature. So I have mowed off the part of the 'wildflower' bed where the Houttuynia and the Clematis are growing. 

A section of mixed border bed

This allowed me to reshape the entire layout of the large garden this wildflower bed is part of. I have removed some of the desirable plants from this bed last fall and have more to do in the spring. I also added a large number of new daylily plantings and will be adding more in the next year or two to bulk up certain of the background areas. Because I now want to accentuate the mowed area (which will be worked back into grass) between the two main sections of this garden, while letting the long, narrow border bed become the main backdrop, I will want to make some slight changes in where clumps of tall daylilies are worked into the back line of the front bed. I expect the back border bed (which due to its shape is very easy to weed) will give a good show, as much of it is mature. New daylily plantings added to the wider, eastern end of this border won't give a full show next year, and won't be fully mature until 2021, but gardens seem to be constantly evolving things, in my experience.

I would like to report that for the first year in several years, we have no deer damage in this garden. Tall chainlink fencing seems to do the trick! Notify Ground Crew here with 6' fencing. While deer can jump a 6' fence, the addition of rows of barbed wire at the top, slanting outward, makes the fence secure from deer, as they don't have good depth perception and won't attempt to jump because of the combined height and top strands of barbed wire.

With all the new room that I had opened up this year, I lined out over 100 seedlings from 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 for final testing. I culled out some things from the hybridizing garden, though less than usual. Many of the lined out seedlings also came from the hybridizing garden. I then replaced those seedlings in the hybridizing garden with new select seedlings from the seedling beds, allowing another cycle to start. There won't be much to see in the hybridizing garden this year, as so many things there are new plantings, with only about fifty older, established clumps of select cultivars from other hybridizers to give a good show. It will be a great year for evaluating division recovery, though!

Seedling bed

Even though I removed 100+ seedlings from the seedling bed last year to move to other locations for further testing, the seedling beds will still be quite full, and will probably be the only beds here where things will look full and mature. Most of the plants removed from the seedling beds went into the hybridizing garden, line out garden or one of the mixed flower gardens. All of those gardens were in one way or another overhauled and so the majority of daylily plantings are new and won't give a great show for a couple of years, but in the end, the show will be better, the weeds easier to control and I can continue testing my plants to select for excellent performers.

Hybridizing Garden

In November, after all the planting was finished, I had a chainlink fence added around my line out bed to make a more secure final testing field that is well-protected from deer. Most of the plants I donated to daylily clubs in 2018 came out of the line out bed and I  managed to refill all open slots, but there is still lots of room to expand over the next few years into this bed as new line outs are ready. I am in no rush to fill it up! Space, I am finding, is the most value thing possible in any breeding project!

New chainlink deer fence around line out bed.

Once the fencing was done, I then moved on to making 150 slides for a future presentation, preparing the new introductions for 2019 and updating my website. 2018 was gone, and it seemed like it had gone very quickly once I finished up all my work and gave it a moments thought. On to 2019, with high hopes for new seedlings and new breeding schemes! Best wishes for you and your garden in 2019! :-)

Friday, January 4, 2019

2019 Daylily Introductions Released!

2019 Daylily Introductions Released!

Announcing the release of 
13 new introductions for 2019, 
including 7 tetraploid introductions.

Scroll Down for a picture and the name of each new introduction and the link to its information page. 

Click the name with each picture below to go to the information page for that new introduction.

Read my new blog post - Rust Resistance: A Few Words

Read my new blog post - Rust Resistance: A Few Words

Korean Queen

Korean Queen
(Sdlg#  HFKQC3)

2019 - Reeder - Tetraploid - 
Hemerocallis fulva ex Korea, Seoul National University, NA 54920 x Queen’s Circle - 
32” scape - 4.5” flower - 4 branches - 15 buds - Midseason - Semi-evergreen

Bright, dark orange in morning fading to reverse bicolor of lighter, bright orange with lavender overlay on petals with darker orange band and sepals with a double edge of dark orange and a gold wire outer edge on the petals above a bright golden-yellow throat.

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

I love this little plant so much! It has far surpassed my idea of what such a cross could produce. The pod parent is the amazing Hemerocallis fulva 'Korean', imported to the US in 1984 by Darrel Apps and Barry Yinger. The pollen parent is the beautiful, but tender Queen's Circle which descends from the lovely Awesome Blossom and the tetraploid conversion of the wonderful Lavender Blue Baby. The pod parent is extremely rust resistant, and while the pollen parent wasn't, it does descend from LBB (which carries rust resistance genes, in my experience) and Awesome Blossom (which shows moderate rust resistance). The cross of HfK and QC really turned up the rust resistance, and this plant rated extremely resistant (A+) throughout all five years of my rust resistance screening program. That in-and-of itself would have made this one a useful breeder, but when it first flowered, I was really amazed to get a flower that looked so modern with ruffles, occasional small teeth, a light edge, a darker eye/edge and a lavender overlay. However, the greatest surprise only dawned on me as I watched this lovely flower over the years - it is a color-changer! It begins the day like the picture directly above, a dark orange with a slightly darker eye/edge and a lighter outer edge, but as the day progresses, the color in the center of the petal begins to fade. The picture directly below shows the flower midday, with the petal center just beginning to fade.

In the below picture, at about 5 pm in the afternoon, you can see the fading strongly, allowing the lighter orange base color to show through and the lavender overlay to begin to be visible, especially on the midrib.

The picture below shows the flower by 7-8 pm, with the fading completed and the amazing color combination it takes on showing strongly. The petal has faded out all the way to the outer dark edge, allowing the eye/edge to become very prominent and the lavender tones to really show strongly on the midrib and the petal edges just inside the darker edge. If you notice, it almost creates a third, lighter edge with the midrib lavender, the inner petal light orange, then the lavender layer on the petals, followed by the dark orange edge and finally the pale wire outer edge, all shot through with the lovely dark orange veins. The effect is very fancy, very unique and very pretty. The color-changing trait isn't just a fluke either, and this one has given me tetraploid color-changing seedlings already. I think Korean Queen will be a big boon to breeders on many levels, not least of which for this who want to work with hardy and genetically diverse color-changers at the tetraploid level.

I have registered this one as a tetraploid. I tried it repeatedly with diploids and never got one seed, and really did try it a lot over several years, as I was extremely excited at the thought of taking this plant's genetics into my diploid work. With its descent from tet. Lavender Blue Baby, I very much wanted to take it into my own Lavender Feathers (from Texas Feathered Fancy (which is from LBB) and LBB itself) family line, as I have occasionally seen extra tissue that is cristate-like on Korean Queen. However, that never panned out, as I never got one seed either direction. This and multiple other attempts with diploids strongly suggests to me that Korean Queen is a tetraploid.

Korean Queen is not just a nice flower though. It is also a very nice plant. In addition to the very high rust resistance, the plant is also attractive, making a very nice looking clump in the garden. The foliage is a medium green color and can have some spotting from late spring freezes. It shows much higher tolerance to late spring freezes than its half siblings (LMOPink and KMOPurple), but it can still get some slight damage. The scapes are nice, held above the foliage and with four branches on mature clumps. I have registered it as a semi-evergreen. I have sent it to a few southern gardens for testing, and they all confirm that (much as its pod parent and many fulva clones) it behaves as a semi-evergreen in warm-winter gardens. In my garden, it performs as a dormant, and is really close to the so-called "hard dormant". However, I chose to register it as a SEV because it does well in the south, where it is SEV and I want to get it into the warm-winter, evergreen programs where its tremendous genetic diversity, rust resistance and breeding value for rust resistance and color-changing trait can be put to good use. Korean Queen has been very hardy here in my zone 6 garden, and is currently growing in two gardens in zone 5 where it also has survived and thrived. I think this one will do well in much of the US. I have never seen it show any loss of fans or crown damage from even the harshest winters in my garden, and it increases well without fading away in warm-winter gardens. I think this one can be very valuable in many breeding programs.

In addition to all the good traits I have written about above, Korean Queen is an excellent breeder, not just for rust resistance, but also for the flower! 

Updated for 2022

Korean Queen seedlings from the 2020 and 2021 flower seasons. These show the advances in color, flower form and edges that is possible from Korean Queen in one generation. What is extremely nice is that now in 2022, I can say with high confidence that Korean Queen is a great breeder, not just for modern flower traits, but also for bringing in the vigorous plant traits that derive with the H. fulva Korean genetic package, as many of its seedlings also show those plant traits clearly.

The slide below is from my 2018 Monday Night Lights presentation in Facebook and shows some of the excellent (and amazingly well-colored) seedlings I have produced from Korean Queen. The seedlings pictured below are flowers from the 2017 flower season. I saw many more in 2018 and was completely blown away by the variation and wonderful flower traits I saw. 
(Click the slide below to see a larger version)

I think Korean Queen has so much potential as a breeder, in both southern and northern programs, as well as in a variety of programs for a range of different colors and styles. While Korean Queen has a yellow throat (which I think is perfect with the rest of its colors) you can see that it can produce green throats in its seedlings.

More pictures and information about Korean Queen below.

Another shot of the whole plant. I included this picture to show the plant in a year after a series of severe late spring freezes followed by an eight-week drought. You can see some of the leaves have had the tips frozen off when they were emerging and that then creates some browned tips and brown spots. Even at that, I have seen far worse foliage on other plants, and it still looks good in the landscape. The plant shows a good scape to fan ratio and the flowers make an attractive display, often with the bouquet effect you see above even in the very dry season (and I didn't water it) in this picture. You can see here that the plant forms a clump. As with its half-siblings through HfK, this one will show slight runners that emerge from the main clump once it is established. I have been growing it in containers now for a couple of years and it flourishes, so if you are worried about it potentially spreading, that is one way to use it and contain it.

An attractive shot showing the nice flower and the well-formed buds. You can see that there is not much thrip damage in terms of enations on the buds. It shows moderately high thrip resistance, and is far more thrip resistant than both parents. While I registered it with 15 buds, an established clump can show upwards of 20+.

This picture shows a very unusual day where every flower open was much more purple than normal. It still went through the color change routine, though as the color faded, the flowers were left with dark spots scattered over the petals. Interesting! No wonder it breeds good purple and lavender!

The pictures above and the below show the flower and the plant in 2018 after it was divided and lined-out in 2017. It takes division very well and thrives, increasing quickly. You can see the fading effect in the flower above, which was photographed near sunset. The picture below shows the plant in the afternoon, about 4 PM when the fading is in mid-phase. Look at the interesting effect that creates, and it makes the flower really glow, standout and create an eye-catching effect in the landscape! You can also see some damaged leaf ends from our late spring freezes. I am happy to say that by crossing Korean Queen with more freeze-tolerant plants, I have produced many seedlings from it that show much better freeze tolerance.

Temple Of Bacchus

Temple Of Bacchus
(Sdlg# HCITPS9)

2019 - Reeder - Unknown ploidy - 
Hemerocallis citrina x Papa Smurf - 
66” scape - 6” flower - 3-5 branches - 15-20 buds - Midseason - Semi-evergreen - Fragrant 

Bright, clear purple bicolor, sepals a paler purple with medium purple petals and a blue-purple band above bright green throat.

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

Named for the Roman temple dedicated to Bacchus, which sits upon a massive, mysterious, ancient platform in Lebanon. Bacchus was the deity of wine and revelry, drunkenness and madness. The beautiful, intense purple coloring of Temple Of Bacchus is like radiant grapes and wine. This cultivar's ability to create seeds with both ploidy levels and its own unknown ploidy make it as confusing and exciting as a bacchanalia.

Temple Of Bacchus has been striking from the first flower. Even before it flowered, I knew it was going to be something special. It was always head-and-shoulders above its siblings from the time it germinated. It was the largest seedling and always dark green with little damage or blemish to the foliage. It also turned out to be extremely rust resistant, the most resistant consistently of all its siblings. As the scapes emerged for the first time, I was very excited by the height and by nice branching. But when the flower opened for the first time, I thought I might cry! In my wildest dreams, I would have never imagined I would get such a rich, clear purple, with such a bluish eye, from the backcross to a yellow species clone - H. citrina (Halinar clone #2).

Most of the siblings were much more what I expected - most slightly muddy, lavender-ish with of dull eyes that were a darker purplish-wine color along with a couple of muddy, pinkish/darker-pink-eye seedlings. This one though was exceptionally pretty from the beginning. The mature clump is extremely pretty with scapes averaging 66", some will reach up to 72". Young divisions and young fans in mature clumps average 3 branches, with mature clumps showing mature fans with 5 to 7 branches. Bud counts average 15 - 18, but can go up to 30+ on the mature scapes. The gorgeous, dark green foliage is tall, but arches over gracefully and gives a beautiful display on its own and is a lovely anchor for the tall scapes. 

The slide below, from my 2018 Monday Night Lights presentation on Facebook, details how this cross was made. It was a very intense process, but I felt it was necessary to be as sure as possible about this cross. Do note that the registered branching and bud counts are lower than those mentioned in this MNL18 slide below. The registry data is the average I have seen over the time I have grown the plant. The data in the slide below is the high end that is sometimes seen on mature clumps, but even then may not be seen on every fan that produces a scape. 

(I register all of my introductions based upon average numbers, rather than either high or low extremes, so you will note different numbers based upon which count is being discussed throughout my writing about any given plant from my program).

Temple Of Bacchus is more than just an interesting and beautiful novelty - it is extremely fertile, working with diploids, known triploids (fulva clones) and tetraploids. Most of my work has been with crossing Temple Of Bacchus to registered tetraploids, but I have also crossed it with various clones of Hemerocallis fulva with success, and I have crossed with with multiple diploids with success. In diploids, the list I have successfully crossed it with include Hush Little Baby, Little Grapette, Zelazny, Galaxy Explosion, Volcan Fuego, Heavenly Angel Ice and several of my own seedlings. I made multiple attempts to cross this one to Substantial Evidence, going both ways, with no success. However, I did have success in crossing it with tetraploid offspring of tetra Substantial Evidence. It has been extremely fertile for me with tetraploids and I have crossed it with a large number of them from the mid to late part of the season, when Temple Of Bacchus flowers.

The slide below, from my 2018 Monday Night Light presentation, shows some of the seedlings that I particularly like from Temple Of Bacchus. I think it is going to be extremely good for both purple and spider types, in conjunction with high rust resistance and attractive foliage.

The seedling pictured below is a wonderful surprise from Temple of Bacchus. This one is consistently broken-patterned, and some of its siblings also show this look, with less rich coloring. I suspect there is a lot hidden in Temple Of Bacchus for breeders to exploit. I also think it has use to open more bottlenecked lines at various ploidy levels. My own focus has been with polypoid/tetraploid level plants. I hope others will also use it in this way, but some will also want to use it at the diploid level. I think Temple Of Bacchus has so much to offer!

The photo below shows Temple Of Bacchus after sunset with the new flowers open for the night. They first open at about three to four in the afternoon, being fully open by sunset. They remain open all night and being extended are open throughout the morning, beginning to close just before the next set begin to open in the afternoon. I gather pollen from the afternoon opening flowers, finish drying it in the house and then use it the next day on diurnal flowers. Since I have used it predominantly with diurnal flowers, most of its seedlings are diurnal in my program, but they must carry nocturnal genetics. When crossed with other nocturnals, I have seen predominantly nocturnal flowers. It should be useful in breeding both opening-time types.

Temple Of Bacchus through the years...
It was germinated in late 2012, going through the last four years of my rust screening with extremely high resistance. It is thus a four-year tested A+. 

Below you will find flower and clump shots, along with more information.

At sunset

The lovely, dark green foliage is semi-evergreen and the plant is very hardy here. Much like H. citrina, it is fairly dormant in a very cold winter here, but in warmer winters here, and when grown in a warmer climate, it performs as a semi-evergreen. I suspect Temple Of Bacchus will be hardy further north. I will be very interested to hear how it will do in colder climates. It does well in warmer-winter climates and I think that is very important, as it allows the species genetics and the rust resistance genetics of Temple Of Bacchus to be taken into warm-weather programs where endemic rust is a real problem.

Here on a rainy, gray afternoon, the old flowers are still open in the late evening while the next round of flowers are starting to open.

Freshly opened flower at sunset - above

The scapes hold up well. On young divisions, the scapes are shorter than on mature clumps, so hold up well, while on mature clumps, the taller scapes are also fairly strong, but they can lean with several wilted flowers from the previous day and benefit from deadheading. The high fertility can result in heavy pod-load and that will also cause the scapes to lean at times. What I have found to work well is to weave the leaning scapes into the firmer, mature scapes, creating sort-of an obelisk-like formation that holds up extremely well. If this were just a seedling from two hybrids, the scapes might have caused me not to introduce it because I am obsessed with strong scapes that don't fall over, but I think the multi-ploidy fertility, species parent and extremely high rust resistance along with breeding value for rust resistance in combination with warm-climate survivability make this one too valuable for breeders, and too unique for collectors, to not introduce it.

The flower is a narrow open form that shows moderate thrip resistance, but is not as strong in this trait as I would like, though it will produce improved resistance for thrips in its offspring when it is crossed with partners that are highly resistant to thrips. Even in a non-sprayed garden in the presence of thrips, though, it still looks very good for a flower of this color.

The picture above is from 2018 showing the flower on a division that was lined-out in the fall of 2017. The plant recovers quickly from division and the flowers were very nice the year after division.