Sunday, April 5, 2015

Frans Hals

Frans Hals

Flory - 1955 - Baggette x Cornell - Diploid - Dormant - 24" scape - Midseason-Late - Bright red-orange and gold bicolor

An Old Favorite. I know of no cultivar that can beat it for shear tenacity. I have grown this cultivar for nearly forty years. It is astoundingly tough. 

In the mid-1990's I made a few rows of daylilies, old tough cultivars to sell locally, of which Frans Hals was a full row. That plan never went anywhere and in time I let the field grow up. I left the daylilies. In time, a few years later at the end of the nineties, I fenced those grown-up fields and ran Highland cattle on them for two years, until they ate those grown up fields down to 2" graze. After that, the field grew up again for about three years. 

Again, in the early 2000's, I had the grown-up field cut, then disked under and later plowed and for three years I grew corn on this field. After that, about 2005, I stopped growing corn (huge flocks of red-winged black birds ate all my seed corn from my breeding projects) and let the field grow up again. The small picture below shows the field in the summer of 2010. 

Here is the interesting part. The Frans Hals daylilies that I had planted in that field in 1995 were still there, Surviving all these various conditions, and though not in a perfect row as originally planted, still in basically the same area and a slightly drunken row that was very close to the original. In summer 2010, I noticed that the field, deep under 8' tall golden rods and the 18' tall black walnut tree you can see in the picture below, had Frans Hals plants blooming! That fall I went in and dug those out and moved them into various areas within my gardens, as well as my mom and aunt's gardens, where there was already Frans Hals growing. From under the black walnut and the weeds, I extracted 11 clumps and a total of 127 double to triple fan divisions! No other daylily from my 1995 planting survived, let alone increased and bloomed after so many affronts to their dignity. Frans Hals has proven itself to me as a very strong, nearly indestructible cultivar that I greatly value. All of the pictures of this cultivar on this page are the clumps I made from dividing those plants growing under the weeds in this field.

Field 2010 - click image to see a larger version.

Bright with many buds and good branching on an established clump, I often see branching of 4 to 5 plus a top Y on clumps of two to three years or older. Frans Hals is a rugged plant and an excellent performer en masse, creating a stunning effect in the late summer garden. With the slightest of care, it will retain attractive foliage and excellent growth, often going from one fan to five or more fans in one year. With no care, it will survive and flourish in a wide range of settings, giving some performance even in moderately heavy shade. 

As a senescent "dormant", it goes nearly fully underground in my zone 6 garden. It is known to survive and flourish into Canada and is an excellent choice for areas with cold conditions.

In the deep south however, it seems to be less vigorous, eventually withering away. This seems to be the case most strongly in zones 9 through 10. Therefore, I recommend Frans Hals for zone 4 through 7, with a good possibility it will survive and do well in both zone 3 and 8. I would avoid Frans Hals in zones 9 and 10.

Frans Hals has shown very high rust resistance in my garden, and has shown breeding value for rust resistance, especially when bred to other cultivars with equal or higher rust resistance. However, some people in zones 9 to 10 have noted that Frans Hals can show rust in those zones, perhaps due to high stress from the poor performance it shows in those areas.

Wonderful branching on an established three year old clump.

This picture shows a clump that gets full day sun. This shot is at sunset in August, after a very hot, cloudless day during a drought. You can see some slight fading of tone and within the ridges of the petal, but the flower has not melted and is holding up well.

Here we see a clump at midday with the red eye showing as the petal color has faded slightly from its less contrasted morning look.

A clump in late morning showing the visible eye just beginning to emerge.

Another evening shot, just before sunset, after a hard rain, followed by late afternoon sun, followed by a late evening downpour. You can see the water drops still on the petals, but there is no spotting, blotching or damage from the rain.

Here we see a lovely early morning shot, with the petals showing very low contrast between the main petal color and the eye/band. One could almost say the petals are self China-red in this phase. Frans Hals is a beautiful old form that is a spider precursor with excellent seed production, very fertile pollen and vigorous seedlings. When combined with modern cultivars, you can get much more interesting and modern flowers from its offspring.

Water droplets in the late evening after a hard rain. The tree frogs enjoy them almost as much as I do.

Still looking good after a long, hot day in August, in this west facing location which receives abundant sunlight all day.