A well known hybridizer, while doing a presentation at a convention we attended a few years ago, said that there was no greater joy for him than seeing a flower for the very first time that no one else had ever seen before. I completely agree with that statement. I can hardly wait to get out to the seedling bed in the morning to see my daily new arrivals. There is also a true sense of wonder when I stand there and look at these seedlings for the very first time.
Hybridizing, for me, is also a real mental exercise, which is a good thing for any senior citizen. We need all the help we can get! I look at a plant, assess all its qualities, and try to imagine what other daylily in our garden could take it to a whole new level.
The ultimate goal in hybridizing is to improve the genus Hemerocallis; to take two plants and make a better and superior one. When I look back where the early hybridizers were 50 years ago, and see the accomplishments of each and every hybridizer through the years to this day, I am just amazed at what I see, and I am thrilled, in my own small way, to be a part of it all.
For those of you that want to try hybridizing for the first time, I wish you all the very best. Remember, the most important thing is to really have fun and enjoy what you’re doing. I guarantee that once you have seen the first bloom on your first daylily seedling, no matter how ugly it is, you will be “hooked”!