2004 Seedlings: The vast majority of my seedlings planted in the spring of 2004 “took off” with absolutely amazing vigour. Since my hybridizing goal from the beginning was to breed for vigour in the northern garden, for lush and disease free foliage, for multiple branching and high bud count, as well as beauty, I was really delighted to see the divisions double and some triple throughout that summer. I have never seen such healthy seedlings here in zone 4b, and I just knew that this crop of seedlings would likely bloom in two years rather than the usual three. I was right. These pictures (on the left) show some of the best of these crosses. These two year seedlings will continue to be assessed for future introductions.
Future Introductions: These seedlings (on the right) have been observed in our garden for the past three to four years. They have survived and thrived through extremely cold winter temperatures, and performed beautifully through the worst summer drought in 2005 that Don and I have ever experienced in the nine years we have lived in Pirates Glen. They have more than fulfilled the promise they had as young seedlings, and I am planning to register and introduce all of them over the next few years when we have sufficient divisions to do so.
In the "Links & Tips" section of this site we have illustrated the step-by-step process of hybridization of daylilies. We hope this proves to be helpful and informative to all who are or may be interested in this wonderful pastime. Here I'll share my expereinces...
Hybridizing should be FUN! I hybridize because I honestly feel that the biggest thrill from early July on is looking out at my garden from my bedroom window to see if one of my 2-3 year old seedlings is blooming for the very first time. When I see a “first time” bloom on a seedling, I grab a cup of coffee and my digital camera along the way, and walk very quickly to the seedling bed. It never ceases to excite and amaze me when I see one of my “babies” blooming for the first time. Just like children, no daylily is ever exactly like another. Of course, Don is called from wherever he happens to be to share in my excitement. (He must love this!)
Hybridizing should have some goals. Every hybridizer wants to improve and build on what has gone before. However, the first year I hybridized, I threw caution to the winds and crossed everything in sight, which is really quite normal. And this did produce some very interesting seedlings. Actually, a few were quite miraculously lovely! However, by year two I began to decide what qualities I was looking for in my new seedlings. To that end, I purchased particular plants because they happened to have certain qualities I wanted to have in my offspring. This is a very individual matter. What I am looking for may not be what someone else wants in their programme.
Hybridizing is a life long ongoing learning experience, so I have to constantly remind myself to be patient. I have enjoyed “sitting at the feet” of some of the worlds’ greatest hybridizers, at the Can-Am Daylily Meetings sponsored by the Ontario Daylily Society. These men and women are always very generous in sharing their experiences with the novice hybridizer. Much hybridizing information can be found in books on daylilies. Check your local book store. The American Hemerocallis Society’s booklet called An Illustrated Guide to Daylilies is terrific, as well as The Daylily Journal which is issued quarterly to all the membership.
Hybridizing also is an intellectual exercise deciding the attributes of my daylilies, and deciding which two I will choose as parents. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t! And then there is Pauline Henry, the famous hybridizer of all the Siloam Series of daylilies. She never kept a note as to what daylily crosses she made. To her it was very simple…..”Pretty x Pretty,” and from this motto she produced some absolutely fabulous daylilies, including the Stout Silver Medal winner Siloam Double Classic
I have a very tiny hybridizing program, compared to others, as I am limited by both space and energy level. I produce about 300-400 seedlings a year. The following are some of the best daylily seedlings I have produced thus far. I am still observing their growth. The attributes I have decided they must have are vigour, beauty, sun fastness if they are a dark colour, great foliage, good branching and bud count. That’s a tall order, and the jury is still out on some of them. However, I wish to share these pictures with you so you can see some of my new daylilies. Many of my very best have come from such daylily parents as English Cameo, Ida’s Magic, South Seas, Peggy Jeffcoat and Wineberry Candy.