Saturday, January 4, 2020

Samwise The Brave


Samwise The Brave
(Sdlg# EOAOD13)


2020 - Reeder - Diploid - 
Early and Often x Army of Darkness -
24" scape - 3" flower - 5 branches - 28 buds - Early-early season - Dormant


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

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Samwise The Brave 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 than just the flower to this one. The flower is a lovely polychrome of cream, peach and pink, and it is a typical look, but it can combine very nicely with any of the anthocyanic colors such as pink, purple, lavender, red, etc, and the plant is a massive leap ahead. Samwise and its full sibling, Misty Mountains Cold, 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 valuable traits. With the melon-based light colored flowers, these both easily breed a wide range of colors as you can see near the bottom of this 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!


Samwise The Brave is named for a character from J.R.R. Tolkien's seminal Lord Of The Rings trilogy. Samwise Gamgee is the simple helper and gardener of the hero Frodo Baggins, who, though seeming simple and dull, in the end is Frodo's greatest support and the unsung hero of the story. Frodo refers to Sam as Samwise The Brave in a piece of dialog where Sam is musing on their quest.

“Sam: I wonder if we'll ever be put into songs or tales. Frodo: [turns around] What? Sam: I wonder if people will ever say, 'Let's hear about Frodo and the Ring.' And they'll say 'Yes, that's one of my favorite stories. Frodo was really courageous, wasn't he, Dad?' 'Yes, my boy, the most famousest of hobbits. And that's saying a lot.' Frodo: [continue walking] You've left out one of the chief characters - Samwise the Brave. I want to hear more about Sam. [stops and turns to Sam] Frodo: Frodo wouldn't have got far without Sam. Sam: Now Mr. Frodo, you shouldn't make fun; I was being serious. Frodo: So was I. [they continue to walk] Sam: Samwise the Brave...”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Two Towers


Much like the character in the story, this little flower seems simple, but can underpin a huge program, adding traits that are of great value and almost impossible to just order up (most people won't even know the rust or thrips resistance of their introductions). Being very fertile both ways, you can take Samwise The Brave in a number of directions easily and quickly.


Samwise The Brave 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 Samwise The Brave and Misty Mountains Cold 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. Samwise The Brave shows excellent increase, has wonderful branching and a lot of buds, producing a bouquet of flowers.


Samwise shows such an array of branches and buds. It also throws this trait to many of its seedlings. The flowers are small and plentiful 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.


Samwise The Brave 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 Samwise The Brave 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.


Samwise The Brave 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 including mini flowered types. Samwise is 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 Samwise The Brave that I have produced in my program. Click any image for a larger version.

Kaleidoscopic Evidence x Samwise The Brave

Kaleidoscopic Evidence x Samwise The Brave

Lavender Feathers x Samwise The Brave

Endless Heart x Samwise The Brave

Vorlon Encounter Suit x Samwise The Brave

Endless Heart x Samwise The Brave

Vorlon Encounter Suit x Samwise The Brave

Endless Heart x Samwise The Brave

A row of Endless Heart x Samwise The Brave seedlings

The pictures above show the wide array of seedlings you can produce from Samwise The Brave. What I want to stress is that all of the crosses I have made with Samwise 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 Samwise made it much better. In examples where Samwise 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 Samwise or 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, Samwise The Brave and Misty Mountains Cold 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.


Samwise The Brave may look like an average, boring little melon 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 Samwise The Brave 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, Samwise The Brave is a marvel in the garden or in the breeding program.



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