Saturday, January 4, 2020

Misty Mountains Cold

Misty Mountains Cold
(Sdlg# EOAOD20)

2020 - Reeder - Diploid -
Early and Often x Army of Darkness - 
28" scape - 4" flower - 3 branches - 18 buds - Early-early season - Dormant

Cream-pink polychrome with yellow throat. Flowers show extremely high thrip resistance. Plant shows extremely high rust resistance.

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

Misty Mountains Cold is an extraordinary little plant and flower. Yes, you've seen flowers that look "just like" this one before, but there is so much more to this one than just the flower. The bloom is a lovely polychrome of cream and pink, which is similar to many well-known daylilies, but this allows it to combine very nicely with any of the anthocyanic colors such as pink, purple, lavender, red, etc. It is the plant though that is a massive leap forward. Misty Mountains Cold, and its full sibling, Samwise The Brave, both offer the highest resistance to thrips I have yet recorded in any daylily, diploid or tetraploid, and especially so in an early-early flowering type. In addition to the truly incredible resistance to thrips, both are also extremely rust resistant, and they both have high breeding value for both of these valuable traits. With the melon-based light colored flowers, these both easily breed a wide range of colors as you can see further down the page. If you want to make a leap in improving the resistance to rust and thrips at one time, these are the plants to use to do it!

Misty Mountains Cold is named for the range of mountains, the Misty Mountains (Hithaeglir in Sindarin Elvish), in the J.R.R. Tolkien books, The Hobbit and The Lord Of The Rings. It is these mountains where all the great dwarvish kingdoms were found and the Elvish kingdom of Rivendell was hidden in the foothills of the Misty Mountains at the western end of the High Pass. The dwarves were master craftsmen, mining their mountains and creating great works of art from simple stones and metals. The Misty Mountains included some of the highest mountains in Middle Earth, many topped with snow, white from a far distance. It was in the Misty Mountains that Bilbo Baggins found the One Ring, which the creature Gollum had lost. Much like the crafty little dwarves creating their treasures in the dark of their mountain halls, this deceptively simple little plant can build a great and magnificent program.

Misty Mountains Cold is a dormant plant that emerges late in the spring and has very strong resistance to late freezes. As an early-early bloomer, it is exceptional both for the late freeze resistance and the thrips resistance. Both Misty Mountains Cold and Samwise The Brave are the earliest blooming diploids in my program, with a few of their seedlings blooming as early, and blooming slightly earlier than Eos At Dawn, my earliest flowering tetraploid. Misty Mountains Cold shows excellent increase, has taller scapes than its sibling, though slightly fewer branches and good bud count. It produces a bouquet of flowers and a lovely display in the garden.

Misty Mountains Cold has very clear, bright flowers. It also throws this trait to many of its seedlings and produces lovely pale colors in its offspring. The flowers are larger than its sibling, Samwise The Brave, and produce an eye-catching display, making it a lovely garden plant for the early season in addition to being an excellent breeder as it is very fertile both ways.

Misty Mountains Cold has been a very consistent performer for me. Derived from seeds gifted to me by Mike Huben in 2011, and from his 2010 breeding work, I have grown this plant for nearly a decade and it has been a standout every year, whether there are late spring freezes or not, and whether the spring is cool or hot. The buds start to open in the evening and are fully open and smiling at you first thing in the morning, even when the weather is cold. 

Once the foliage of Misty Mountains Cold is killed off by winter freezes, the plant goes into dormancy and rest throughout the winter, emerging late in the spring. Once the flowering cycle has finished the foliage dies back and immediately regrows, looking beautiful throughout the rest of the summer and into the fall. I don't consider this regrowth of new foliage to be a summer dormancy, but others might. I don't consider it summer dormancy, because it doesn't go dormant. While the old foliage from spring is dying back after the flowers have finished, the new foliage is growing back, so there is no actual dormancy in this period. One thing I have learned to do to speed up the process and make the plant look cleaner during this period is to cut back the foliage and scapes as soon as the plant finishes flowering and before the new foliage is very advanced in height. Of course, when I am setting pods I don't do that, but clumps I have in display get this treatment and it works well.

Samwise is a stunning plant and a superlative breeder, but I do consider there to be two flaws that I work to compensate in breeding. One is the foliage die-back/regrowth immediately after flowering and the other is that because the flowers begin to open the night before, they will begin to diminish in the late afternoon. As the substance of the flower is not in the Substantial Evidence range of thickness, heavy rain can cause the flower to look ragged, and it will look somewhat melted by the end of the day if the weather has been hot. However, the very advanced rust and thrips resistance more than make up for these problems, and when mated to other plants that balance these flaws, they are easily rectified in the offspring. I have now produced thousands of seedlings from Samwise and I have been able to select a wide range without any of these issues.

Misty Mountains Cold is a great little flower on a wonderful plant that has so much to offer in breeding. The many seedlings I have produced from it has shown me that it is a great breeder for a surprisingly wide range of flower types, and so can work in many programs. I have produced several interesting mini flowered types from Misty Mountains Cold. It is also recessive for both rebloom traits and for dark scapes. While it doesn't show these traits, each parent was homozygous for one of those two traits, and it produces them in some of its seedlings. Here are several interesting seedlings from Misty Mountains Cold that I have produced in my program. Click any image for a larger version.

Endless Heart x Misty Mountains Cold

Kaleidoscopic Evidence x Misty Mountains Cold

(Lavender Feathers x Phoenician Royalty) x Misty Mountains Cold

(Endless Heart x Heavenly Angel Ice) x Misty Mountains Cold

Endless Heart x Misty Mountains Cold

Lavender Feathers x Misty Mountains Cold

A row of Endless Heart x Misty Mountain Cold seedlings

The pictures above show the wide array of seedlings you can produce from Misty Mountains Cold. What I want to stress is that all of the crosses I have made with Misty Mountains Cold have drastically improved the thrips resistance in the offspring, in comparison to the alternate parent. Even where those alternate parents showed better-than-average resistance to thrips, the cross to Misty Mountains Cold made it much better. In examples where it was crossed over plants with poor thrip resistance, to test its breeding value, the offspring showed far better thrips resistance, though not as high as in Misty Mountains Cold. However, in all instances there was improvement. One of the main improvements I also saw in the seedlings shown above is that none of them melt-down in rain or at the end of the day, and all show thicker substance to the petals. In 2016, Misty Mountains Cold and Samwise The Brave were the main pollen I used on all diploid crosses and I have since seen thousands of seedlings from both flower. I can attest that they are both truly outstanding for making lovely seedlings with improved resistance to thrips, and that is a very rare trait indeed.

Misty Mountains Cold may look like an average, boring little cream-colored flower, but it is so much more! In terms of breeding, it is one of the most valuable and accomplished breeders I have ever used at the diploid level. If you are tired of flowers showing spots and damaged petal surfaces, enations on the buds, bud drop or withering scapes, nothing can beat Misty Mountains Cold for correcting this all-too-common susceptibility to thrips. In addition, there are so many other fine traits including the extremely high rust resistance, rating A+ through all five years of rust resistance screening, fast increase, attractive foliage, high branching and bud count and the ability to breed some dazzling seedlings, Misty Mountains Cold is a marvel in the garden or in the breeding program.

Misty Mountains Cold (left) and Samwise The Brave (right) with Eos At Dawn in the background. Note the height difference in the siblings Misty and Samwise.