Friday, January 3, 2020

Impressionist At Heart

Impressionist At Heart
(Sdlg# EHFH27)

2020 - Reeder - Diploid -
Endless Heart x Frans Hals - 
28" scape - 4.5" flower - 4 branches - 20 buds - Midseason - Rebloom - Dormant

Flat flower, bicolor of golden yellow sepals brushed red and petals rose red with a red band above green to chartreuse throat with white-yellow midribs and petal edges.

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Impressionist At Heart is a gorgeous flower showing influences from both parents, but exceeding them both in some important ways. With the look of the pollen parent and the form and rebloom of the pod parent, it combines the extremely high rust resistance of both parents with the thrips resistance of the pollen parent, as well as the pollen parent's strong dormancy. The flower is really pretty, bright and eye-catching in the landscape and the plant is attractive and tough. It is extremely fertile both ways and has been a stellar breeder in my program. You can see some of its seedlings toward the end of this page. Impressionist At Heart derives from the very end of the 2012 breeding season and was made in October on the fall rebloom scapes of a potted clump of Endless Heart that I brought into the house to mature the pods, with pollen furnished by a rare fall rebloom scape of Frans Hals. The cross was made because those were the two parents available, just an afterthought. While I love both parents, the cross wasn't part of any plan - pure randomness. The seeds were germinated in the house over the winter of 2013 and so went through the last four years of my rust resistance screening (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016).

The name 'Impressionist At Heart' is to honor both the wonderful pod parent by Darrel Apps, 'Endless Heart', and the illustrious, tried-and-true pollen parent, 'Frans Hals' (Flory - 1955) . 'Frans Hals' is one of my favorite daylilies of all time, and Frans Hals is one of my favorite painters. Unless you have studied art history, you might not see the paintings of Frans Hals as revolutionary, but they were. Frans Hals is the bridge between my all-time-favorite painter, Caravaggio, and my favorite school of painters, the Impressionists. Hals was very influenced by the use of darkness and light to create mood by Caravaggio, and the later impressionists were deeply influenced by Hals' use of light and darkness, as well as his technique of painting. says about Hals, "Frans Hals was a revolutionary in the field of portraiture and used his color and paint brush to express ultimate freedom by breaking convention. Famed for his unique painting style and method of capturing light and atmosphere, he went on to influence many emerging artists and inspired the Impressionist movement some 200 years later...(increased) interest in Hals' work came about in the 19th century and his followers were mainly the Impressionists who regarded Hals as one of their predecessors. Van Gogh wrote to his brother, Theo, "What a joy it is to see a Frans Hals, how different it is from the paintings - so many of them - where everything is carefully smoothed out in the same manner.Hals was a unique artist because he did not give a smooth finish to his works as his peers did but instead portrayed the energy of his subject through the use of smears, lines, spots, large patches of color and few details. Hals' revolutionary technique and oeuvre inspired a new artistic style of Impressionism some two centuries later.
Truly, an Impressionist At Heart...

The flowers of Impressionist At Heart remind me of a Frans Hals painting, with the splashes, lines and large areas of light and dark colors. While it looks very similar to its illustrious pollen parent, Frans Hals, the colors tend to be more in line with the pod parent, Endless Heart. Rather than being orange, red and gold as in Frans Hals, the colors are variations of rose/pink/red/golden yellow/green/cream. The overall effect is similar to the pollen parent, but more refined and more toward a bright pastel palette. The throat starts out very green, fading some through the day, but keeping some green in the throat right to sunset. The flower has excellent texture, great resistance to sun and rain and holds up well in heat, but also opens well after cool nights.

A very pale look in the early morning after a very cool night. You can see the flower has opened well even after the cool night.

Impressionist At Heart has lovely, dark green, healthy foliage that is dormant and shows good resistance to late spring freezes, as well as rating A+ for rust resistance through the last four years of my screening program. The plant shows extremely good increase and is mildly rhizomatous, with fans spreading a few inches out from the main clump, but not getting rambunctious and taking over its neighbors. In spite of the strong winter dormancy, I have never seen summer dormancy, and Impressionist At Heart is flourishing in zone 8 and zone 9A gardens where I have tested it. It is also flourishing in zone 5. While I have not tested it further north, I suspect it will be quite hardy, as its pollen parent is extremely hardy throughout most of the continent, and the pollen parent is very hardy in the north, as well, in spite of its evergreen foliage.

Impressionist At Heart shows beautiful scapes with four to five branches and twenty or more buds, both on the first round of scapes and the rebloom scapes. I have seen both instant rebloom and late summer/fall rebloom on Impressionist At Heart. At times, it continues to bloom from the time it starts until the first hard freeze puts it down for the winter. Impressionist At Heart creates a strong impact in the garden for a long period.

Impressionist At Heart is not just a good garden plant, though. It is an outstanding breeder for a wide range of great traits. With the gorgeous, bright, open flower, the great plant traits and the very high resistance to both rust and thrips, it has a lot to offer. Impressionist At Heart is extremely fertile both ways, and fertile on each set of scapes. You can produce a large number of seeds on it without causing any negative impact to the plant, and with the many good traits and a large number of seedlings, you can see some really amazing recombination of traits amongst its seedlings. Here are a few examples. Click any picture to enlarge.

Impressionist At Heart x (Frans Hals x Pigment Of Imagination)

Impressionist At Heart x Substantial Princess

Impressionist At Heart x Kaleidoscopic Evidence

Impressionist At Heart x Wabi Sabi

Impressionist At Heart x Wabi Sabi

Impressionist At Heart x (Hint Of Blue x Kermit's Scream)

Impressionist At Heart x Wabi Sabi

The above examples are just a few samples of the amazing array of seedlings I have seen from Impressionist At Heart. I consider it one of the most valuable breeders I have ever produced at the diploid level. All of the seedlings above were tested for rust resistance during the last two years of my screening program and showed A+ ratings both years. In addition to its fine rust resistance and great range of flower traits, Impressionist At Heart also passes its many other fine plant traits - gorgeous foliage, good increase, rebloom, well-branched scapes and high bud counts - to many of it seedlings. Some of its seedlings even combine many or most of Impressionist At Heart's good traits, which has produced some real advances in my program.

The two pictures below are from Robert Anderson of Midnight Gardens Daylilies in Oregon. I sent Impressionist At Heart to Robert to test for me in 2017. The pictures below are from 2019, when it produced several rounds of rebloom and showed the flowers to open very well even after cool nights.

Impressionist At Heart was a real surprise, and a great example of what randomness - chance - can produce. Sometimes crosses you never suspect would make anything superb can be wildly surprising! A lot of those older cultivars still have a lot to offer. Impressionist At Heart is a great example of what is possible. And while it is lovely in the garden, Impressionist At Heart is pure magic in a breeding program.