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

November 30th, 2016

I bought a yard of compost today. I haven't used this type of compost before but it seems like it should be an excellent addition to the garden soil. It's a 50-50 mix of leaf mold compost and fungal compost. Leaf mold compost is made from recycled leaves and horse manure while fungal compost is made from ground hardwoods that have been aged over a long period of time. It's a beautiful dark brown color and is supposed to have a nice balance of bacteria and fungi which will enhance the soil food web.

Seedling 15-097

Today's image is seedling 15-097. It has 5" blooms on 28" scapes. What immediately struck me about this seedling was the orchid edge color which is uncommon in my seedlings.

November 28th, 2016

This is seedling 08-029. It has 7" blooms on 29" scapes and reblooms well. So why after 8 years have I not registered it? Usually during the spring when it's in bloom I'll make a note to consider registering it because of the nice show it puts on. Unfortunately, by the time fall rolls around when I make my final registration selections, a flaw shows up that ends up ruling it out.

Seedling 08-029

One might think that after growing it for 8 years it would have multipled into many fans. While it does multiply fairly well, each year after blooming most of the fans become tiny and die. My guess is that the plant uses too much of its stored resources during the bloom process. In any case, it's fairly consistent in ending up with from one to 3 fans regardless of how many it had before blooming. I've seen this trait before and in almost every case I've eventually lost the entire seedling. I would not register anything with this flaw but I will enjoy it while it lasts.

November 26th, 2016

A minimum bud count of 20 has always been one of my selection criteria for registration. In reality however, there are lots of registered daylilies with a bud count of less than 20 and that's not always a negative. For example, if a cultivar with a bud count of only 15 normally puts up 3 sets of scapes (total 45 buds) it is at least as desirable as a cultivar with a bud count of 20 that only puts up 2 sets of scapes (total 40 buds). My plan going forward is to pay more attention to the number of scapes for some of the seedlings that couldn't quite reach the 20 bud count minimum.

Seedling 13-055

Today's seedling is 13-055. It has 5" blooms on 22" scapes. The red eye and veining are set off nicely by the creamy orange petal color. It absolutely glows when the early morning sunshine hits it.

November 24th, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving to all! I thought I'd make a quick post before the turkey is served.

I recently updated my "Healthy Soil" page on my main website. The post explains the soil food web, why it is important to good garden culture, and things you can do to improve it in your garden. Click on "Healthy Soil - the key to great daylilies" from the home page found here.

Seedling 14-039

A while back I posted that lavender daylilies with white edges were not one of my favorite color combinations. Seedling 14-039 above has been working hard to help me overcome this (smile). I guess it's the graceful form that is winning me over. It has 6" blooms on 30" scapes. The bud count hasn't been all that great but last year it sent up three sets of scapes which gives it a reasonable presence in the garden.

November 18th, 2016

I can't stress enough the importance of having a good system for evaluating your seedlings. For the first ten years or so my seedlings were relegated to various out-of-the-way places in my yard, crowded together in small beds with too much shade and unimproved soil. The results were about as one might expect... totally umimpressive. Eventually I started asking why few of my seedlings ever had decent bud counts and it didn't take too long for the reason to become apparent. With limited space, I had to cut back the number of cultivars I was growing so I could allocate some prime growing areas to seedling evaluation with good results.

Then starting around 2012, I started to see a decline in results from the evaluation beds. This time it was caused by a combination of tree related issues. The neighbor's oak trees and a couple of pine in my yard had become quite large and a good portion of the yard which included the evaluation beds was now in shade much of the day. In addition, my pine trees' roots were a constant problem stealing nutrients and water from the daylilies. I removed the two pine trees in early 2015 and the results from 2016 evaluations were very good in most of the beds. I still have one bed however that has too many roots from the oak trees and probably can't be salvaged.

Bottom line... have the best conditions possible for your evaluation beds if you want accurate results for your seedlings.

Seedling 14-044

Today's image is seedling 14-044. This color combination has been one of my favorites since I first saw PURPLE STORM back in 1990.

November 13th, 2016

Seedling 04-003 is another with an eye pattern that I like. This type of eye is called a halo because it is so narrow. While not as obvious as yesterday's post, you can still see the breaks in the eye pattern.

I keep this one basically for sentimental reasons. It was my first decent seedling with eye pattern breaks. Bud count has only been around 15 so it likely won't ever be registered.

Seedling 04-003

November 12th, 2016

One of the things that has to be learned when hybridizing is when to give up on a seedling even when you kind of like it. Such is the case with seedling 10-026 pictured here. I like the color breaks in the eye and it grows fairly well but the bud count tops out at about 10. I suppose I could fertilize the heck out of it and push the bud count higher but I really don't like to do that because the average daylily grower doesn't fertilize heavily. If I managed to get a bud count of 20 through heavy fertilization, the average grower would never get that kind of bud count and would be disappointed.

So after six years I have now given up on it and it will be given to my yard guy (he's not a stickler for bud count like I am).

Seedling 10-026

November 8th, 2016

My fourth registration for 2017 is VAUDEVILLE MAN. It has 6.0" blooms on 25" scapes with 3-way branching and 20 buds per scape. It comes from the cross (CIMARRON ROSE x SWEET TRANQUILITY).


I should probably remind everyone that I hybridize for my own enjoyment and don't sell other than my annual spring daylily yard sale. I'm hoping that I'll be able to include two or three of these new registrations in this spring's sale.

November 7th, 2016

My third registration for 2017 is TRANQUIL MASQUERADE. It has 5.0" blooms on 28" scapes with 4-way branching and 21 buds per scape. It comes from the cross (OPEN MY EYES X FACE PAINT).


After several weeks with almost no rain there was 4" in the rain guage this morning. The daylilies are really happy as they much prefer natural rainfall to city water.

November 6th, 2016

My second registration for 2017 is SERENGETI SUNRISE. It has 5.5" blooms on 23" scapes with 4-way branching and 20 buds per scape. It comes from the cross {[Exotic Treasure x (Hedwig's Eyes x Spacecoast Gold Bonanza)] X New Paradigm}.


November 5th, 2016

I am pleased to announce that I have registered four new daylilies for 2017. I just received the confirmation so the names are now official.

The first is MORNING RONDEZVOUS. It has 5.5" blooms on 26" scapes with 4-way branching and 21 buds per scape. It comes from the cross [Spacecoast Sea Shells X (Hedwig's Eyes x Spacecoast Gold Bonanza)].


November 4th, 2016

Tweaked my back the other day while expanding one of my front yard beds, so I've been unable to "play" in the yard. It's not a big time loss however as temperatures are still very warm (a record 88 F. yesterday). Hopefully I can get back in the garden next week.

Seedling 15-031


Dragon KnifeBella Vita

Today's image is seedling 15-031. It has 6" blooms on 27" scapes and is already showing signs of being a good performer with 4-way branching and 23 buds after being moved to the evaluation bed only last fall. I was actually hoping for a bright orange with a red eye and edge but I'm pleased with the results nevertheless.

November 2nd, 2016

Today's image is seedling 14-005. It has 6" blooms on 31" scapes and comes from the cross HEDWIG'S EYES x SHIPWRECK COVE. . It opens flat and symetrical almost every time which is a trait I like.

Seedling 14-005

October 24th, 2016

While removing plants from the 7-gal pots, I made an observation that confirms my thoughts on a lack of organic matter in the potting mix. As fall temperatures moderate, earthworms have made their way back into the pots. The summer heat had driven them out of the pots and deep into the surrounding soil. Earthworms won't stay in pots unless there's a reasonable food supply - ie: organic matter. Some of the pots had a decent earthworm population while others had no worms at all. Examining the soil shows the lack of earthworms corresponded with the soil that showed little organic matter.

Seedling 15-044


Celtic MoonglowShamrock Blush

Double edges without eyes became popular a few years back. While I haven't specifically bred for these, occasionally one will come up in the resulting seedlings such as seedling 15-044. The bloom did provide a little variety in the evaluation bed but unfortunately its performance has been disappointing.

October 22nd, 2016

Finally, a cool front went through the area yesterday. With lows in the upper 40's and highs in the mid 70's I was able to work in the garden all day today. My current project is to pot up daylilies for my spring daylily yard sale and I made good progress. Forecast is for similar weather for tomorrow. I love this time of year.

Seedling 12-066

This is seedling 12-066. It has performed fairly well and will be moved to the front yard this fall so I can get a better idea of what kind of bud count it will produce. Parentage is unknown as I seem to have messed up my records on this one.

I took the day off yesterday to go to the beach with my wife. It sure was nice!

Beach at Galveston, Texas

October 20th, 2016

I have been growing daylilies in 7-gal pots for several years now. I started doing this because I had developed a significant tree root problem in most of my beds. The problem is so significant that only a couple of years after digging and tilling the bed, the tree roots return to the extent where there is a detrimental effect on the daylilies. The daylily roots become completely entangled with tree feeder roots and the tree quickly sucks all the moisture from the soil. If left this way, less robust daylilies will often die from lack of water.

Result from the pot culture have been less than spectacular. One of the problems I've identified with pot culture is the difficulty in maintaining the level of organic matter in the potting soil. I have tried a couple of different soil mixes specifically designed for large outdoor containers and the plants do fairly well the first year but the second year the fans seldom look as healthy as they did the first year. When inspecting the soil after the second year I noticed that there was very little organic matter left. I also tried making my own soil mix with a higher initial amount of organic matter. This was a little better but came with drainage problems. Daylilies with large robust root systems seemed to do well while those with a more modest root system struggled as they were the ones with the most drainage problems. Apparently a large root mass helps the pot soil to spread evenly throughout the pot and prevents channels from developing that allow the water to quickly run out the pot drainage holes.

My plan for this fall is to remove each daylily from the pot, incorporate a generous amount of compost, and then replant the daylily. It will be a process to find the best type and ratio of compost to encourage good drainage. I expect I may have to replenish the organic matter every couple of years or so. It has been quite difficult to properly evaluate bud count and branching on pot grown plants. I'm hesitant to get rid of a seedling with a pretty face because I don't know it's true performance potential.

Seedling 15-028

Speaking of seedlings, this is seedling 15-028. It comes from the cross MISSISSIPPI MEMENTO x PARROT JUNGLE. It has 5.5" blooms on 22" scapes making it a good plant for the front border.

October 19th, 2016

I have now finished revising my plan to reorganize my front beds. One of my original goals was to move and enlarge the front yard beds and reduce the number of potted daylilies. That just isn't going to happen as I have to eliminate the bed with the heavy root infestation. I just can't keep completely digging the bed and tilling every couple of years. Effort aside, regular tilling would not allow the soil food web to completely reestablish itself and that doesn't allow for optimal growth of the daylilies.

So I guess I'll have to continue to grow a substantial number of seedlings in large pots. More on this topic in my next post.

Seedling 14-043

This is seedling 14-043. It comes from the cross PATSY CLINE x STEVE MARTIN. The form is very similar to Patsy Cline but the color is more gold whereas Patsy Cline is orange. Seedling 14-043 also has a gold edge but it isn't very apparent because the edge and petal colors are quite close.

October 14th, 2016

After a great deal of thought, I've decided that the bed I was planning to move will instead just have to be eliminated. There's just no practical place to move the bed without making my front yard look like a daylily nursery and the homeowners association certainly wouldn't approve of that (smile). The root infestation would require me to completely empty the bed every two or three years and deep till to eliminate the roots. Health issues makes it increasingly impractical to do this so the bed will have to go. I'm now planning my new strategy.

Seedling 12-087

Today's image is seedling 12-087. It has decent growing habits with 6" blooms on 25" scapes.

October 9th, 2016

They say the best laid plans oft go awry and that sure became true today. I was removing and potting up daylilies from one of my evaluation beds so I could move the bed about 8 feet to get it out from under the rain shadow of a neighbor's oak tree. What I found was a bed completely filled with oak tree roots and daylilies that were suffering because the oak was sucking up all the moisture from the soil. So now I have to start the planning process once again and find a new place for the bed.

Seedling 14-010

Today's image is seedling 14-010. It is a sib to seedling 14-033 that was posted back on September 27th. It doesn't perform as well as 14-033 but I think the bloom is a little more attractive.

October 5th, 2016

Lavender is my least favorite daylily color. So many lavender cultivars have either white or cream edges which don't excite me much. A lavender with a gold edge however is a different story. Seedling 14-047 is a lavender that I really like. Considering the parentage (Piping Rock X seedling 08-034), it was a bit of a surprise. I was expecting a darker petal color.

Seedling 14-047

Piping RockSeedling 08-034

Seedling 08-034 had a terrible petal color but I wanted to see what I could get from the heavy gold edge.

October 4th, 2016

My fall season finally got underway today. I brought in my first pickup load of potting mix for my front yard garden renovation. I'll be removing all the daylilies that are in the evaluation beds and temporarily potting them so I can relocate the beds.

Turkey Vulture

While I was unloading the pickup, I spotted a Turkey Vulture in the neighbor's front yard. In the 35 or so years I've lived in this house I've never seen a Vulture in this neighborhood. It's not that Turkey Vultures aren't common in Texas. A drive in the country will often find them scavenging carrion along the roadways. But I live in the middle of Houston, a huge city.

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