Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Substantial Returns

Substantial Returns
(Stella De Oro x Substantial Evidence) 

24” scapes - 4” flower - Diploid - Early Midseason - Diurnal - 2 branches - 10 buds - Dormant - Rebloom - Unusual Form - Spatulate

A very open, flat flower in bright cantaloupe melon, the color intensifying toward the center of the petals and sepals and becoming darker toward the small army green throat with rich cantaloupe stamens and pistil and strong rebloom.

I will discontinue carrying Substantial Returns as a regular stock item in 2022. For more information, see this post.

In this picture you can see the lovely spatulate form and the flat and open throat. The stamens were removed for pollination. There had been a very heavy rain storm a few hours before this picture was taken.

Substantial Returns grows well in my garden and in the other gardens where it has been grown. It has been a strong performer and has recurrently rebloomed between two or three cycles of scapes after the initial scapes in my garden. It is a fast increaser with nice, dark green foliage. It is a senescent (dormant) plant, going underground in the winter and forms a resting bud here in my garden in both very cold and very warm winters. The scapes only show moderate branching, but there is a high scape to fan ratio on established clumps in addition to the rebloom, so it gives a very good show in the garden.

Substantial Returns has shown no rust in my garden since its first exposure in 2012, even when completely surrounded by highly susceptible plants (which I have done on purpose to screen its resistance). Both of its parents have repeatedly shown resistance to rust in my garden. I have reports of Substantial Returns showing equally high resistance in other gardens where it has been grown and I look forward to hearing how it does in other areas of the country.

Substantial Returns good traits don't end with the fine plant traits, though. The flower was a revelation the moment I saw the first one. It is very flat and looks bigger than it actually is because of the flatness with little to no trumpet in the throat, especially on established clumps. New divisions can be less flat, but that passes as the plant establishes. The petals are thin and the form is spatulate. 

My favorite form is spatulate. I never expected to get one in the first generation cross. I expected to get a round, normal-formed Stella clone, hopefully in melon and with a little rebloom. I was amazed by this small, flat, open, unusual form flower in a beautifully clean, bright melon with strong rebloom in my garden. This was far more than I expected, and shows how much interesting breeding potential yet lies in Stella De Oro and how much modern, concentrated phenotype genetics Substantial Evidence can offer, even when crossed to older cultivars with more old-fashioned type.

The flowers of Substantial Returns open well and are beautifully ruffled on the petals. They are always more narrow in the throat closure area than they are at the ends for a consistent spatulate shape. The sepals open well and are occasionally quilled. They are always narrow. I suspect that Substantial Returns will be a valuable breeder for small Spiders and small Unusual Forms of all kinds. It should also breed well for reblooming traits.

Substantial Returns is very fertile both ways and I have used it heavily over the last couple of years (2014 and 2015) as a pollen parent. I also have hundreds of seedlings with Substantial Returns as the pod parent from several years (2012 - 2015). Its seedlings grow well, quickly and many show the beautiful dark green foliage of Substantial Returns. I saw the first flowers on some of these seedlings in 2015 and was very impressed by their potential. I am excited to see them as they mature and as more and more flower over the next couple of years. I have gotten some very pale melon, clean lavender and purple and some near white seedlings amongst the first round of flowers from Substantial Returns seedlings and I believe it will be a very usable cultivar to bring color clarity into unusual form, flat and small reblooming lines. Substantial Returns combines two very fine plants.

I have worked with Stella De Oro since the nineteen-nineties and have grown it since the early nineteen-eighties. I have produced a few melon flowers from Stella over the years. I have the original Stella De Oro that was purchased in the nineteen-eighties that I have grown in several gardens on the farm since and have been able to use it in breeding.

The original Stella De Oro clone (left - click pictures for larger examples), grown in a pot. This division was taken from one of the original clumps to be used for breeding in 2011 and is the pod parent clump of Substantial Returns. 

Darrel Apps has made good use of Stella and Mike Huben integrated Stella descendants into his lines at the beginning as well. Bob Sobek has used Stella to good effect, as have a few others. I already knew I would use Stella, but was very encouraged when Mike Huben told me that I should go to Stella to start a reblooming line. Mike also pointed out that Darrel Apps had advised him about Stella throwing melon offspring and that he had confirmed this as well. I too had witnessed these visually-melon seedlings, so this confirmed what I suspected about Stella - that it is a cultivar with a lot to offer that has to be used carefully, with well thought out crosses with advanced phenotypes. 

When I began seriously thinking about what I wanted to breed in daylilies, I knew Stella would be a parent, but I wanted to cast about and find new phenotypes, advanced gene combinations that are far beyond the simple, round Stella. One of the first amazing flowers I found was Substantial Evidence by Richard Norris. I was simply awed by the flower, but more so, Substantial Evidence turned out to be a good plant plant, in addition to being a great, advanced flower representing an actual line breeding for trait intensification. In addition, Substantial Evidence has proven to be an amazing breeder for me.

This amazing cold-weather shot of Substantial Evidence shows its amazing coloring. Substantial Evidence seems to be a color changer. This is often its morning look before it fades to a yellow/ gold edged in a touch of rose with a light polychrome rose overlay. This flower seemed to hold its fully rose color because of the unseasonably cold weather that day and no sunshine. It was quite amazing, but this is not typical of it later in the day in most instances. The photo below shows the typical afternoon look in my garden.

I suspect that Substantial Evidence (SE) is a melon carrier, though I can't be sure whether it is heterozygous or homozygous for this particular gene. (Melon is often meant to imply a genetic change so that carotene is changed to lycopene. I cannot say for certain, as I have done no lab-work on the pigments of SE. There are many ideas and some hard research about lycopene-changing genes. It seems that this trait that I am dealing with in Stella, Substantial Evidence and Substantial Returns is a simple recessive gene that makes the change from carotene to lycopene.)

I knew I wanted to combine Stella with Substantial Evidence, hoping to combine the many fine plant traits of both cultivars with the melon flower color that Stella can produce, the flat flower of Substantial Evidence and the rebloom that Stella is famous for with the rebloom that Substantial Evidence has been shown to carry (See Ashwood Wray of Sunshine). I made the first cross of these two cultivars in 2011. 

planted the seeds from the Stella De Oro (pod parent) x Substantial Evidence (pollen parent) cross outside in the spring of 2012 (March) and saw the first flower in the summer of 2012, when the seedling that would become Substantial Returns was only 4 months old and sent up a scape with four buds. When the first flower opened, I was just blown away. It was much more advanced in flower form than I had expected to see and it was a melon. You can see its first flower in the picture below. It gave two rebloom scapes in 2012, both with more than 4 buds. In 2013 the plant flowered in early midseason, starting about a week after Stella. It also gave several cycles of rebloom in 2013.

Substantial Returns 
First flower in the seedling tub.
You can see the pink "select" tag I had just tied on the base of the plant.