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Backyard adventures in hybridizing daylilies

 

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Goals and Progress

I began hybridizing diploid daylilies as a backyard hobby about 10 years ago with the encouragement of local mentors Bob McConnell, Lloyd Calvin, Blaise Brazos, Brian Mahieu and Jim Whitacre. Hybridizer Patti Waterman is an inspiring friend who gives me honest feedback and pushes me to continue to improve. I’ve also listened intently to presentations by regional or national hybridizers and have scoured internet forums and email groups for tips. You’ll find some great resources on the Links page.

One niche that I knew that I wanted to fill was to develop miniature to small crispate unusual forms. This has been a challenge, as there were few existing small "Unusual Forms" from which to build a program. Using the species Hemerocallis yezoensis, I have unlocked some favorable genes. I have also created my own bridge plants by crossing open miniatures with larger unusual form parents. It is taking many generations to see the results I desire, but flower arrangers in my local club have encouraged me. They feel smaller flowers with movement will add personality to daylily design entries in flower shows.

Bringing in the genetics for northern re-bloom, bud count, branching and bud-building have become increasingly important to me as well. Most of my plants are dormant and many have spent their first winter in crowded into quart size pots. I want the survivors to be hardy in mid-western zone 5b winter freeze-thaw cycles as well as extreme summer heat. Because I enjoy my flowers after work, I want extended or nocturnal bloomers that look fresh late in the day. Along the way, the traits for dark-colored scapes and for reverse bitone coloration and patterned eyes /throats have appeared and I encourage these in my lines as well. I am finally at the point of seeing good progress toward my goals and had the exciting experience of registering my first named cultivar in the fall of 2014!

For me, hybridizing is a way to participate in creation. I carry the pollen and pull the weeds; God packs the seeds with possibilities and draws forth from the soil an amazing palette of petals. Gardening connects me to the farmers in my past and fills me with hopeful anticipation every spring. Hybridizing is both a science and an art. My analytic side loves to keep spreadsheets of seedling data and anticipate genetic combinations. My artistic side loves to photograph and share the beautiful results. Glory Be - what a hobby!

I hope you will enjoy the photos as you wander through my virtual seedling beds.

 

(If any of the above terminology is new to you, check out the daylily dictionary on our Links page.)

 

   
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