The Happy Daylily Blog - daylily pictures and thoughts from my garden

February 16th, 2017

I had my first bloom for 2017 today which is the earliest bloom I've ever had. It was in the new seedling bed and no I'm not posting a picture. It was 41 F. this morning and it barely opened which was probably a good thing as it was an ugly color.

For those considering hybridizing, be aware that not all seedlings are potential future Stout Medal winners. The following is an estimate of what results you might get in a typical batch of seedlings where moderately decent parent plants were used:

  • The worst 2.5% are absolute dogs suitable for the compost heap.

  • The next 13.5% are a little better but may suffer from poor bloom color, poor form, very low bud count, poor growing habits, or other serious flaws. I also compost these.

  • The next 34% are what I would call "decent garden plants". The blooms may be attractive enough but not special and the plants are only average to mediocre performers. If you know someone who just can't understand why you would discard any daylily, they may be happy to get these. For some reason I have always had such a person and they look forward to getting these every year when I clean out my seedling beds.

  • The next 34% are what I call "nice garden plants". They are of good enough quality that they would be appreciated by the average gardener but probably not good enough to register. I typically give these away to friends and family members.

  • The next 13.5% are the "keepers". I would consider a seedling to be in this group if it was good enough for further evaluation based on bloom beauty, bud count, and plant performance. Only a few of these will eventually be considered good enough to register but I may continue to grow some of the others simply because I enjoy their beauty.

  • The last 2.5% are the "super stars". These are the seedlings that have something that sets them above most other seedlings. Usually it's a special bloom and good performance. It should also not have any major flaws.

This is my own evaluation scale based on my hobby hybridizing. A commercial hybridizer could have a totally different way of looking at his results. The top hybridizers probably consider the best 3-5% as worthy of registration and compost everything else unless they're using it in their hybridizing program.


Seedling 15-037

Today's seeding image is 15-037. Every daylily enthusiast has their preferences for daylily form and color and this is definitely one of my favorites. I like the pink-blushed cream color with the intense green throat. It is a very consistent bloomer. It comes from the cross MAY I HAVE THIS DANCE x HOG HEAVEN. I posted a yellow daylily from this same cross a couple of days ago and it's interesting to see the different colors that came from the same cross.


February 13th, 2017

Beautiful day in the garden today with temperatures in the low 70's. A nice change from the mid 80's. BTW, the normal high temperature for this time of year in Houston is the upper 60's so this is indeed an unusual weather year.

I ran out of compost today. I guess I'm going to have to make a trip to buy some more as my goal is to replenish the organic material in all my pots this spring and I still have quite a few pots left to do.


Cattail Toothpick Grasshopper

As a change of pace, I thought I'd post a picture of a recent visitor to my garden. It took a little googling but I've determined that this is a Cattail Toothpick Grasshopper. I've never seen one in the garden before but that doesn't mean they haven't been there. They are found from the southern United States through Central America.


February 11th, 2017

I am continuing my repotting project to add organic matter to the potting soil. Earlier I posted that I was mixing equal parts of coarse mix, fine mix, and compost. For the current batch of pots I have slightly adjusted the mix to 2-gal coarse mix, 1-gal fine mix, and 2-gal compost. Part of the enjoyment of gardening is experimenting to see what works best.


Seedling 14-073

Yes I know, another yellow seedling... I do like yellow daylilies. I'm not sure if it's a color preference or because they so often have great blooms. Seedling 14-073 has 6" blooms on 27" scapes. The bloom has a nice ruffled edge. It comes from the cross MAY I HAVE THIS DANCE x HOG HEAVEN.


February 7th, 2017

One of the questions I've heard is about the difference between bitone and bicolor daylilies. In both cases the color of the petals is not the same as the sepals. With a bitone the sepals are a noticably different SHADE of the petal color. Bicolors on the other hand have sepals that are a completely different COLOR than the petals.


Seedling 16-096

Seedling 16-096 above is an example of a bitone daylily. The petals are purple while the sepals are much lighter, almost a lavender in color. If the petals had been lighter than the sepals it would have been called a reverse bitone.


February 6th, 2017

Over the past few years I have experimented with various soil mixes to grow daylilies in large pots. In most cases they worked ok the first year but after that, not so much. One mix was designed to drain well with lots of sand and small rocks (most 1/4" and under). It drained a little too well and required constant watering. Also, it didn't have enough organic matter and nutrients leached out after about a year. Other mixes had plenty of organic matter and retained water fairly well but after a year or so the organic matter was completely broken down. The resulting fine grained soil retained too much water and the daylilies too often had wet feet for days. The daylilies did not like that and declined noticably.

While my overall goal is to eventually do away with growing in pots altogether, I'm revitalizing the potting soil for those I still have to grow in pots. I'm making a mix that includes 1/3 the mix that drained too well, 1/3 the fine soil that retains water, and 1/3 aged organic mulch. It may only be good for a year or two but by then I should decide where to plant them in the yard.


Seedling 14-061

The cross of SUNSHINE KISSES x SIR FRANCIS DRAKE did not produce the results that I'd hoped for but I did get seedling 14-061 which was worth evaluating further. I was looking for a bold red eye & edge on a flat yellow bloom. Instead I got a light rose eye on a recurve bloom. Nevertheless, I like the form and the wide green throat. It has 5.5" blooms on 27" scapes.


February 5th, 2017

Making observations is key in gardening. While transplanting daylilies from 7-gal pots I noticed that the potting mix I originally used has changed dramatically in the three years it has remained undisturbed in the pots. That original mix was high in fibrous material especially bark. It was now a homogeneous very fine soil with no sign of bark. It was apparent that all the original organic matter had been broken down. The resulting potting mix showed signs of poor drainage due to the small soil particle size. From this observation, I believe that I'll have to improve the potting soil at least every couple of years.


Seedling 12-050

Today's seedling is 12-050. It has 6" blooms on 30" scapes. It comes from the cross CIMMARON ROSE x PRISCILLA'S SMILE.


February 2nd, 2017

I got a big surprise while working in the garden yesterday. I discovered that I have about a 12" scape on one of my seedlings. This may be the earliest I've ever had a scape. While we had a hard freezes earlier in January overall the weather has been quite warm for January - the 8th warmest January on record so they say. That may be why the scape appeared so early.


Seedling 15-025

Today's image is seedling 15-025. It has 6" blooms on 28" scapes and comes from the cross (DRAGON KNIFE x BELLA VITA).


January 30th, 2017

Blue skies and mid 70's gave me another chance to play in the garden all day today. I finished transplanting daylilies from pots into the new bed in the front yard. Tomorrow I begin working on the existing beds. Currently all the daylilies have been removed. I potted them up last fall before treating the beds to get rid of the dreaded nut-grass. I think I may have knocked it back some but I'm afraid there will be a resurgence this summer. If so, I'll have to come up with a plan B.


Seedling 14-070

This is seedling 14-070. It has 5.5" blooms on 25" scapes. It comes from the cross SPRINGTIME ROMANCE x EMERALD BAY.


January 26th, 2017

One suggestion I make for anyone relatively new to hybridizing is to not be afraid to use your own seedlings when making crosses. For a long time I was under the impression that it was always better to use registered cultivars when making crosses because they were better overall daylilies than my seedlings. What I was missing was that my seedlings may have a mix of daylily traits that are unique. In other words, I would be using genes that nobody else had in their gene pool. The important thing to remember however is that any seedlings you use should have something to offer that you desire passed on to the next generation seedlings.

Care should be used to avoid selecting seedlings for crossing that have major faults as the faults will usually be passed on as well. Having said that I have to admit that I was never afraid to make crosses with seedlings that had a single major fault hoping that what I liked would be passed on and not the fault. I had both success and failure although fault transmission was higher than good trait transmission in most cases. I say all this because sometimes making a cross where expectations are low can result in something unique.


Seedling 10-074

Today's image of seedling 10-074 has some of my seedlings in it lineage but is certainly not particularly unique looking. In this cross I was not looking for unique but good performance. 10-074 can have up to 50 buds on 30" scapes. The 5.5" blooms typically open flat and often show knobs and teeth on the petal edges.


January 23rd, 2017

My current garden project is to populate the new bed by transplanting some of my seedlings from pots. Recently, it has rained every other day and that has kept the garden soil too wet to do any digging. Yesterday the wind blew 30 to 40 MPH all day and that coupled with relative low humidity dried the soil out enough so I could do some transplanting today. It was 72 F. this afternoon. Not bad for January (smile).


Seedling 10-002

Seedling 10-002 looks quite a bit like the seedling that was one of its parents. The edge is more pronounced and the scape is shorter but the bloom is quite similar. The bud count of 10-002 will probably never be high enough to register. Every year I say I'm going to give it away to make room for something else but I like the bloom and it always seems to make the cut. It comes from the cross [ROCK CANDY X {MASK OF ETERNITY x (ISLESWORTH x AWESOME BLOSSOM)}]


January 17th, 2016

Yesterday I updated my yard sale page to show the cultivars that will be in my annual spring sale. Over the years I've used the money from these sales to purchase new daylilies for my hybridizing program. A couple of years ago I stopped making new seeds so I no longer have a need to purchase a bunch of new daylilies each year. So I have decided that this will be my last sale.

You can find the sale info on my Hemerocallis The Daylily site (click on "My Daylily Yard Sale") .

No, I'm not going to stop growing daylilies. I still have a few years worth of seedlings to grow and evaluate for possible registration. After that, I'll just grow daylilies for my own enjoyment as long as my health allows. I guess this addictive hobby is in my veins.


Seedling 12-057

Today's image is seedling 12-057. It is a 6" near-white with 27" scapes and 5-way branching that hold up to 30 buds. It comes from the cross (PRINCE OF WALES x PRISCILLA'S SMILE).


January 16th, 2017

Today's image is seedling 10-072. I grew this seedling for a number of years. When it bloomed I always appreciated its nice form and bright color. Unfortunately the bud count is on the low side and it had tall 'top branched' scapes. Top branching can be ok sometimes if not too severe and the scapes are on the short side but with 30"+ scapes, seedling 10-072 just didn't look balanced. So I gave it away.


Seedling 10-072

When culling seedlings I always try and remember that the average gardener is not as critical as I am about how a daylily performs. I have often given away my culls only to hear a couple of years later that the recipient just can't believe how beautiful they are.


January 10th, 2017

Temps were back in the upper 70's today so I spent much of the day in the garden. One observation I made as I checked on how the daylilies had dealt with the recent hard freezes was that some cultivars are more 'tender' than others. Just about every cultivar had some damage to its foliage but some cultivars had more damage than others. My experience has always been that they will come back but those with more serious damage could be weakened which might affect this upcoming bloom season.


Seedling 13-025

This is the last of the multiple bloom images that I'll be posting at this time. Seedling 13-025 blooms are typically from 5.5 to 6 inches. Bud count was only around 15 so I gave it away this fall when I cleaned out the bed.


January 9th, 2017

The hard freeze of the past couple of nights has the daylilies looking pretty sad. I have found that daylily foliage is pretty much unaffected by temps as low as the upper 20's. When it falls to the mid 20's, the more tender cultivars may suffer, but when it falls to the low 20's like it did the other night, just about all daylily foliage will freeze.

I suspect that all the daylilies will come back especially given that we are about to experience a warm up that is forecast to hit 80 degrees later this week. Hopefully we won't have another freeze this year like the past few days.


Seedling 10-081

Today's multiple bloom image is seedling 10-081. It's a 5" bloom on 26" scapes. One year the bud count reached the lower 40's but it is typically lower than that.


January 7th, 2017

It was 21 F. this morning so I finished uploading pictures to my daylily photo gallery website. Almost all of the 1000+ cultivars I've grown over the years have now been uploaded. Here's a link: Photo Gallery


Seedling 08-020

Here's another multiple bloom picture to brighten up your winter day. I have been growing seedling 08-020 for about 8 years now. It is a marginal performer with a bud count that has approached 20 but never quite made it. Scapes are typically around 30" with blooms between 5.5 and 6 inches.


January 6th, 2017

Temperatures in the 30's today with rain... a good day to stay inside and work on posting pictures to my Photo Gallery.


Seedling 14-049

Today's multiple bloom image is seedling 14-049. Bright and cheery but less than spectacular bloom. What's unusual about this seedling is that not only is it a dormant but it also performs very well (dormants usually don't do well for me). This past year the bud count was 30 on 26" scapes with 6-way branching. The blooms are 5.5"


January 5th, 2017

Temps today were in the 50's and I worked in the garden for several hours. There was very little wind and it was actually quite pleasant. I had hoped to finish potting up for my spring daylily sale but it started sprinkling about mid afternoon.


Seedling 13-100

Continuing with my multiple bloom posts, this is seedling 13-100. It has 5.5" blooms on 25" scapes. It comes from the cross (MISSISSIPPI MEMENTO X Seedling). It has a decent bud count but I'm not all that happy with the foliage as the leaves are thin and tend to lay down as the season progresses. So many things to consider when evaluating a seedling (smile).


January 4th, 2017

Winter in Houston often means quick changes in the weather and this year is no exception. Recently we've been cycling between nice days, cold days, and rainy days and this has slowed the progress in the garden. Still, it's much nicer than what those in the 'tundra' have been experiencing this winter.

With most of the country experiencing snow and freezing weather, I thought I'd post a series of multiple bloom pictures to hopefully cheer everyone up.


Seeding 13-076

This is seedling 13-076. This comes from the cross (Seedling X LESLIE RENEE). Pretty but not a great bud count.


December 30th, 2016

Daylily blooms come in many different forms. My favorite is the single form especially full formed daylilies. I have always been partial to wide petals especially when they recurve. These are sometimes referred to a 'bagels'. Seedling 16-086 below is an example of a full formed recurve bloom. A down side to the recurve form is that it doesn't always show off special edges as well as a flat form does.

One other trait that I like is bloom symmetry. To me a perfect bloom is one where when you can draw an imaginary line through the bloom and what's on one side of the line is a mirror image of what's on the other side.


Seedling 16-086

Seedling 16-086 has 5.5" blooms on 24" scapes. I don't know the parentage. I had a number of crosses with only 1 or 2 seeds and I planted them together without parentage markers. Markers take up space in the row. It's not an issue when I plant a dozen seeds with a single marker but it seems like a waste of space to plant a dozen seeds with 8 or 9 markers.


December 29th, 2016

I finally finished the new bed yesterday. I was only able to find spaces for 21 plants. The oval shaped bed has been home to 3 huge pine trees over the years and while the stumps were ground out when the trees were removed, only the top few inches were removed. Everything lower including the large support roots remained about 6" down.

I dug the planting holes about 12" deep and 12-15" wide removing the soil to a wheelbarrow. It looked dreadful... a light brown sandy color with almost no organic matter. I mixed the soil with about 2-gal of compost before returning it to the hole and planting the daylily. In the spring I'll cover the entire bed with a good aged hardwood mulch which hopefully will encourage some earthworms to move into the bed. It may take a few years but I'm hoping the bed will eventually produce some nice blooms.


Seedling 16-118

This is seeding 16-118. It has a 5" bloom on 30" scapes. It resulted from the cross HAPPY HAPPY x SPACE WARP and it doesn't really look like either parent.


December 14th, 2016

I started working on my new bed today. It's been a long time since I started a bed from scratch. I had forgotten how much work it was digging up the unimproved soil and ammending it in preparation for planting. Much to my surprise the soil was full of nutgrass nuts. They must have been dormant as I don't remember any nutgrass in this area last year. To make things even more difficult, this area is where a couple of large pine trees grew before I removed them in 2015 and I have to work around the remnants of large roots still present in the soil.


Seedling 13-002

This is seedling 13-002. By the time this picture was taken (May 15th) daytime temperatures were already reaching the 90 degree mark. The red eye is typically darker than this when temperatures are a cooler. The scapes are only 20" which would make this a good candidate for the front of the bed.


December 8th, 2016

I spent some time today evaluating the planned changes to my evaluation beds. I had already widened one of the existing beds to accomodate additional plants. Today I decided to continue to use part of the bed I was decomissioning even though I'll have to fight the tree roots each year. There just wasn't room enough for all the seedlings I wanted to keep. I think they call this a 'daylily addiction'. (smile)


Seedling 14-084

Even with the additional bed space, I still have had to eliminate a number of seedlings. Seedling 14-084 was one of those that I gave away. I really liked the bloom but even with optimal growing conditions the bud count remained low. I gave it to my yard guy. He has lots of space at his place and his wife loves daylilies.


December 4th, 2016

This is seedling 16-018, new from this past season. The bloom colors of yellow with a dark purple eye always stand out well in the garden and this seedling is no exception. It has 6" blooms on a 40" scape. That makes the scapes on the tall side but I've always preferred tall daylilies.


Seedling 16-018

A cold rain has me staying inside today. No complaints as there's a football game on the tube this afternoon.


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