Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Ziggy Played Guitar

Ziggy Played Guitar

(Grey Witch x Lily Munster)
42" scapes - 8" flower - Diploid - Early Mid - Diurnal - 3 branches - 17 buds - Fragrant - Semi-evergreen - Rebloom - Unusual Form - Cascade

Ruffled, cascading grape-purple petals and sepals with dark purple eye above green to chartreuse throat transitioning into white to bluish-white rays radiating into the eye and the white midrib with narrow white to bluish-white edges on petals and sepals.

For a complete list of available daylilies and pricing, click here.

Named for the first and last three words of the famous David Bowie song, 'Ziggy Stardust', this wonderful flower is a tribute to his innovation and aesthetic. The effect of the eye and throat of the flower reminds me of the famous 'thunderbolt' makeup design Bowie wore on the cover of his album 'Aladdin Sane'. The narrow, cascading unusual form reminds me of Bowie's typical lithe and dramatic pose. If this Ziggy played an instrument, it would definitely be a guitar, and this cultivar is as wild, eye-catching and memorable as the creator of the song it is named for!

Ziggy Played Guitar is a wonderful cascading unusual form that has been a real standout since its first flower. From seeds I purchased on the Lily Auction in 2010, the first flower was in 2012. The color is bright, clear and pretty, standing out strongly in the garden. The big throat starts out green radiating out into white rays that then move into bluish-white midrib and petal and sepal edges and the throat fades to jade and chartreuse with the same white and bluish-white rays in the evening. The darker eye makes the complex throat stand out even more. The petals and sepals are a bright grape-purple that holds well through the day and withstands rain and sun. The flower is large and the form is always stunning. The cascading petals are ruffled and the sepals curl and roll with a wavy edge.

Sometimes the flower is polytepal. Not often enough that I noted that on the registry, and I have never really calculated the percentage, but it does it a few times most years and when it does, it is REALLY awesome! 

In the above picture of a poly flower you can really see the bluish-white tone that radiates out of the throat and onto the edges of the flower.

Ziggy in the grow-out field showing how bright and eye-catching it is from a distance. It is really spectacular at clump strength with the tall scapes holding the flowers above many other things. The branches are also well distributed on the scape and so flowers are not just all at the top, but well-distributed above the foliage.

Here the row head-on, and a poly flower on Ziggy Played Guitar front and center. It has thrown poly seedlings for me. I suspect if it were mated with high-percentage poly daylilies, it would make some great poly kids. The profusion of bright flowers and regular, reliable rebloom in my garden is a big plus, giving a lot of show in the garden. I usually see instant rebloom as well as late season rebloom.

Ziggy Played Guitar has only been pollen fertile for me, but the pollen is very fertile (as of 01/29/2018, I have confirmation that Ziggy has set pods for a grower in a greenhouse, so it isn't sterile, but I would still call it pod-difficult). After a couple of years of getting no pods, I questioned whether I should even use it, or if it could ever be an introduction, but from 2012 to 2016, it never showed a speck of rust and the seedlings I produced from its pollen have tended to be very rust resistant and show many of the amazing traits of Ziggy's flower as well. By 2016 I knew it would have to be an introduction. It just has too much good going for it not to introduce it. The branching and bud count is moderate, but the rebloom more than makes up for that. Many of its seedlings also show rebloom for me.

This late evening shot of Ziggy Played Guitar really captures the drama of this flower in the garden. If you love cascades even half as much as I do, this one is a staggering flower. Those weeping flowers in their bright and clear colors on the tall scapes glow in the garden. Even by sunset the flower is still gorgeous with strong substance. The bluish tones only become stronger through the day and the throat still shows a nice jade tone even at sunset. This flower radiates like a star, as wild as Ziggy and as strange as the spiders from Mars.

With semi-evergreen foliage it has been very hardy here every winter (even the brutally cold polar vortex winters of 2013/14 and 2014/15), never showing serious damage, never reducing the number of fans or dying out in the center of the clump. I don't know how far it will go, but from its performance during the polar vortex winters, my guess is that it will do good further north, probably at least into zone 5 and maybe even into 4. I have a report of it doing well in testing in zone 5B. However, with the foliage type, it should also do well in warmer climates, at least zone 8 and 9, and with the strong rust resistance and breeding value for rust resistance it has shown during my five year screening program, this should be a boon for growers and breeders in warm winter gardens where rust is present and can overwinter. Reports from a friend testing Ziggy in the south show that Ziggy thrives with fast increase and shows extremely high rust resistance there also. Ziggy Played Guitar is moderately thrip resistant. Thrips are only a major problem here in the early season and so the later season rebloom scapes escape this problem in my garden. That may vary in other situations though, depending on when thrips are most active. 

Ziggy Played Guitar has been an excellent breeder for me, producing amazing seedlings and many with very high rust resistance as well as striking, lovely and weird flowers. I think this plant will be a boon for unusual form, polytepal, bluish-purple and/or rust resistance programs. I also think it will simply be a pleasure in any garden it is grown in.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Updates for the 2018 Season

Updates for the 2018 Season
Sun Dragon Daylilies

To begin, let me thank everyone who purchased plants last year and helped to make my first year a good success. I am especially grateful to all of you who bought some of my own introductions and I hope you will keep me updated on how they do for you. I have more introductions for Spring 2018. They are pictured above (click on the picture for a larger image) and you can find out about them by clicking here.

Last year, 2017, was my first year selling and shipping daylilies. In many ways, it was a test-run to figure out what I was doing, and how to do it. My experience last year made it clear to me that I am in the right place, at the right time, and doing the right work for me. I love daylilies and I love sharing the best daylilies with other growers and breeders! I also determined a few tweaks I needed to make for future years to be more practical.

One of the main lessons of last year was that I have trouble making a double fan division on any but the very largest and easiest-to-divide cultivars. I find it to be far more work to take a double fan off most clumps (and have what I consider a suitable division, especially in terms of roots) than it is to take off a triple fan or larger division. Very few of the divisions I sent last year were of double fans. So for future shipping reference, I will be selling the majority of the cultivars I sell by other hybridizers as triple-fan or better divisions. Some plants are still listed as double fans (and those are noted on the sale listing). These are plants that are larger, are in shorter supply, are easier to divide or are more expensive. However, even with these, where possible, the chances are good I will include extra fans if at all possible. I want to send you divisions I would be happy to receive and that will perform well for you and establish quickly.

However, to do this, I feel I need to raise the base-price of my lowest priced stock. My base price stock is now $10.00/division, so all cultivars that were previously $5.00 or $7.50 are now $10.00. This is not done out of greed, but it is simply to price my divisions at a fair market rate for divisions of this size and quality. Other prices have generally not changed and some of my own 2016/17 introductions have come down in price for 2018. I feel that the new base rate is fair to the buyer (for the size and quality of division you will receive) and to me (considering the work that goes into digging, cleaning, packing and shipping quality divisions of well-grown plants).

The second point that I worked out last year was how to figure shipping rates. I am shipping using USPS flat rate medium and large boxes in most instances. If you order a single division of many things, that can go in the small flat rate box, but in general most orders (except for minis or orders of 1 division of a small or medium type) will start with the medium box for 1-6 divisions and the large box for 7-12 divisions. Now, of course, there will be some variation. Twelve small plants like Kanai Sensei will probably easily go in the medium box, while 6 large divisions of plants like Solaris Symmetry may require a large box. I am listing shipping at base rates of 1-6 fans (or medium box) and 7-12 fans (large box). Once you have decided what you wish to order and I have confirmed their availability, I can make a fairly accurate guess as to the size (and number, for large orders) of boxes needed and will figure your shipping charge then. Use the listed shipping information at my About/Contact page as a general guideline. I am going to work to make shipping as fair and accurate as possible.

As a reference, I would like to show some photos of examples of divisions I shipped last year so you can see the size, quality and cleanliness of the divisions I ship. I always spray divisions with neem oil and spinosad (which are both organic), allowing the plants to dry before packing. This ensures that any pests from my soil are killed before your receive them. My garden was rust-free throughout 2017.

A nice division of Insider Trading. The price of Insider Trading, being $10.00 per division, has not changed from 2017 to 2018 and I will still be shipping divisions of this quality.

Dad's Best White 

Kanai Sensei - The divisions of this cultivar tend to be more like small clumps with several fans. I couldn't bring my self to pluck this one down to two or three fans. Price increase on this one is from $7.50 to $10.00, but you are getting an excellent division.

A nice four-fan division of Clean Slate

A nice multi-fan division of Wild Wookie. When cultivars have many smaller fans, it always feels bad to me to try to pluck out two, and is much easier to just send a nice section. A section of this cultivar with bigger fans might not have as many fans in a division. It all depends on the size of the fans, the growth-pattern of the cultivar in question, and the quantity I have on hand. You are guaranteed to receive a division of the number of fans listed with the cultivar in the sale list, but if possible, I like to send more.

Five nice divisions of Siloam Mama, each three fans or more.

Two divisions of Mardi Gras Parade. Like Kanai Sensei, this small cultivar divides best into small clumps of several fans.

Four divisions of Substantial Evidence

I still think it is important for people to have access to very inexpensive daylilies. I think I am offering an excellent price for the size and quality of divisions I ship. However, I understand that some people have very limited resources and so I want to offer a list of sellers to look to for smaller divisions that are in the $5.00-$6.00 or under category. The reason I am doing this is because I want to promote the daylily. If you can't afford $10.00 for a division, you shouldn't have to go without. When I was a child, all my daylilies came from the Gilbert H. Wild and Sons fall sale list. Many of them were $0.75 or $1.00 per division, though this was in the 1970s and 1980s. I remember when I could afford my first $3.00 division (1985 or 86). I thought that was really something! 

Here then is a list of sellers where you can access inexpensive divisions. They are generally smaller divisions than I sell. Some of them offer fresh dug, others send bagged, dried up divisions, but cheap daylilies are usually tough daylilies and they tend to make it just fine. They take longer to establish, but if you are patient, then it all works out in the end.

Amador Flower Farm - In California, field dug divisions. In my experience, usually a double fan. Base price of $6.00 division for many offerings. Some things are more. Fairly long shipping season.

Smokeys Daylily Garden - In Wisconsin. Field dug single and double, small fans. A wide range of cultivars, with the expensive ones as small as the cheap ones in my experience. Often offers special sells and 10-fan specials, many things under $5.00. Great source for the older and inexpensive things. They call a 'fan' a 'plant'. 1 'plant' = 1 'fan', etc.

Roots and Rhizomes - In Wisconsin, bagged divisions. A catalog seller that carries a large number of older and newer daylily cultivars. Divisions tend to be fairly small, usually double fan, bagged (like you would get from most catalog nurseries or from the big box stores) and a bit dry, but I have never had any from them fail. I have only used them for less expensive things and they offer a good range of inexpensive daylilies, some under $5.00 each (for newer, expensive things, I always looked to hobbyist sellers). Expect them to take a little longer to establish, but still a good source if you are on a budget. Sell many other genera of plants beyond daylilies. Typical catalog nursery stock.

Gilbert H. Wild and Sons - In Missouri, sometimes field dug divisions, sometimes bagged divisions, some potted divisions. No longer owned by the original Wild family, but by cousins of the Wild family. They carry a wide range of things, older and a few newer as well. Quality of divisions vary. I have gotten some beautiful field-grow, fresh dug divisions from them in the spring as recent as 2012, but have also gotten small, dried-up bagged divisions in fall 2015. However, I have never lost any of these. Prices vary, but many inexpensive things at $5.00 or less, with special sales, two-for-one deals, etc. A good source for older, inexpensive cultivars if you are on a budget and/or can't travel to a grower in your local area. They also offer other types of plants. Their Dahlia and Lilium have been a little on the small side, but quite nice in my experience.

I hope to send you some daylilies in spring 2018 and I hope you have a wonderful 2018 flower season!

Ancient Elf

Ancient Elf

Gossard – 2007 – (tetra Itsy Bitsy Spider x tetra Nutmeg Elf) – T - 56” – 4” – Mid – V. Frag – Br 5 – Bc 22 – Dorm – Re – ufo crispate – Golden yellow self above yellow throat

Ancient Elf is a wonderful cultivar that I believe has been overlooked and wildly underrated. It is just a simple yellow with a small unusual form/species-like flower, but that is where the simple part ends. It has wonderful foliage that always looks good, is a fully senescent ‘dormant’ in my garden and shows fantastic branching on tall scapes. In some years it reblooms for me, but not every year. It is very hardy, handily tolerating both drought and high moisture levels. Ancient Elf is also a very fast increaser that forms a beautiful, large clump that will grow well for several years without requiring division, but also tolerates division well and recovers quickly. It is an exceptional garden plant and is a wonderful addition to the back of a border or anywhere a taller cultivar would be appropriate. It is very nice in mixed flower gardens, as its simple, small, species-like flowers are complementary with a wide range of other flowers.

However, for me there are other points that make this cultivar (and for that matter, all its siblings) very important. The first is that it is from two conversions that are both good plants with many good traits, are nearer to species materials than most tetraploid cultivars or conversions and are not a part of any other tetraploid lines. The second is that Ancient Elf is extremely rust resistant (as are many of its siblings and its parents) and has high breeding value for rust resistance in my personal experience. If you go to Jamie Gossard’s site and read his description for this cultivar and its siblings (especially Heavenly Shooting Stars, where their is a detailed description of the rust resistance of the family line), you will find his notes on this aspect. Finally, I have many anecdotal reports from multiple gardens, including gardens in the deep south, noting the extreme rust resistance in this cultivar.

My observations would indicate that this cultivar shows actual immunity. At the very least, it has shown seeming-immunity in my garden through every year of my rust screening and has shown this same level of resistance in many other gardens. This is exceptionally rare in my experience. I have been growing Ancient Elf since 2011 and have many clumps of it growing in multiple locations all over the farm. They have been exposed to rust every year for five years from 2012 through 2016 and have never shown even a speck of rust. I have made every effort to infect Ancient Elf. I have surrounded it with highly susceptible cultivars, so that those clumps had rust literally dripping on them in a full circle, among other methods of exposure and inoculation, and yet, not one drop of rust. I consider Ancient Elf one of the most important cultivars I have found for use in rust resistance breeding, as it passes its resistance to a high percentage of its seedlings, especially when crossed to other moderate to highly resistant cultivars.

In addition to the great rust resistance and breeding value for rust resistance, Ancient Elf is very pod fertile, with very good pollen fertility, as well. I can produce huge numbers of seeds from one or two mature clumps.  For its simple appearance, I have seen seedlings of Ancient Elf pick up many traits from crosses with much fancier cultivars, and it works very well in unusual form and spider breeding, as well as in tall and small programs at the tetraploid level.

The only drawback I have found to Ancient Elf is that it can show some susceptibility to insects such as thrips or aphids, sometimes showing bumps from insect predation on the buds, and in very extreme thrip attacks, I have seen it’s scapes wither and dry up. This is rare though and seems to only occur in conjunction with late freezes. However, to find a cultivar that you can say only has one flaw, to me, is extraordinary, and its many very fine traits make ironing out that one problem not really a problem at all. I have been crossing it to plants I have identified with high resistance to thrip/aphid predation and have many seedlings that show little to no insect predation susceptibility even in situations where there is a high concentration of these pests. I can't recommend this one highly enough both for breeding and for the garden.

Solaris Symmetry

Solaris Symmetry

2009 - Nate Bremer – (Mystical Rainbow x Destined to See) – T - 34” – 6” – Mid – Br 3 – Bc 22 – Dorm – Re – ext – Light cream with violet purple eye and cream midrib and violet edge above green throat

Solaris Symmetry is one of the finest daylily cultivars I have ever grown, and it is a beautiful, modern flower to boot. The color is a cream/near white with a lavender blue, often patterned, eye and lavender edge. The flower opens well most days and is usually close to an unusual form. Some days it does a host of other incredible things. I have seen it polytepal, pleat, midrib cristate and stamen-transformation double. On cold days the eye can be exceptionally pastel blue and the petals and sepals can show a flush of lightest baby pink. The colors are always clean and clear.

The plant is gorgeous. In fact, one of the best looking plants I have ever seen with deep green foliage that shows very high late freeze tolerance and looks good throughout the growing season. The scape is tall with nice branching. The plant increases quickly, establishes quickly and makes a large clump. It also recovers quickly from division. It often reblooms in my garden, usually showing instant rebloom scapes and sometimes scapes in the late fall as well.

Solaris Symmetry is fertile both ways, with pods being difficult on the first round of scapes but much easier on the instant rebloom scapes. The pollen is very fertile. The quality of the seedlings makes it well worth the effort to set pods, and I have found many of its seedlings to show more ready pod fertility.

Solaris Symmetry shows good resistance to thrip/aphid/spider mite predation, rarely dropping buds, showing any damage to the buds or deformity to the flower due to insect predation. The rust resistance is low, and I would consider that its only flaw, but it is not damaged by rust, coming back the next year without diminishing the size or vigor of the plant. So while it isn’t resistant, I would consider it tolerant of rust. With that said though, I have produced rust resistant seedlings from it when it is crossed to highly resistant cultivars. It is worth the effort to make those salvage crosses, as this cultivar has so many good traits combined into one plant and is a testament to Nate Bremer’s breeding and selection work. If rust is not a consideration for you, this one can’t be beat. If rust is a consideration for you, I still recommend this one as a plant well-worthy of using for its many other fine plant traits and high resistance to late freezes and insect predation.

After a heavy downpour

Pacific Rainbow

Pacific Rainbow

Bremer – 2006 – (Pacific Rim x Mystical Rainbow) – Tet – 37” – 6” – Mid Late – Frag – Br-3 – Bc-16 – Dorm – Dark lavender with purple band and picotee edge above green throat

Pacific Rainbow is a very nice, but little-known cultivar from Nate Bremer. It is an incredible plant that increases fast and makes a large clump. The scapes are tall and moderately branched and the flower is large, with clear colors and a beautifully patterned eye above a green throat. Being bred so far north it is very cold hardy, but still flourishes here in zone 6. I have no idea how it will do further south. The plant is senescent with beautiful foliage and shows instant rebloom every year in my garden.

It is a very beautiful garden plant and useful in breeding as well. Far too many patterned cultivars show muddy coloring, but Pacific Rainbow is very clean and clear, very attractive and bold in the landscape. It visually carries from a good distance and then has the striking eye up close.

The plant is fertile both ways, with pollen being easier than pods, and pods being easier on the instant rebloom scapes. I have produced copious amounts of seeds on a mature clump in spite of the first round of scapes being difficult to set pods on. Seedlings have been very hardy and with mostly senescent foliage (even when bred with semi-evergreen types). Bred to strong evergreens though, you might not see so many senescent seedlings.

Pacific Rainbow shows moderate rust resistance in my garden. I have no data beyond that from other gardens. I have produced a good number of resistant seedlings when I have bred it with other, more resistant plants. For those working with rust resistance in patterned tetraploids, I think this one can be very valuable, and it is also a valuable garden plant whether you have any interest in rust resistance or not.

Notify Ground Crew

Notify Ground Crew

Curt Hanson – 2000 – (Tetrina's Daughter x Tetra Purity) – Tet - 72” – 5” – Mid – Frag – Dorm – Noc – Yellow self

Notify Ground Crew is one of my favorite cultivars from Curt Hanson, and one of my favorite cultivars in general. It is an impressive cultivar that is breathtaking when fully established and in full flower. The scapes are very tall, usually six feet and are well branched. The flowers are true nocturnals and begin to open in the late afternoon, are open all night and close mid-morning/early afternoon. It is especially pretty and useful planted where it can be seen in the late evening. It is very reminiscent of many of the tall yellow species forms and it is only a few generations removed from Hemerocallis citrina.

The plant is large and impressive when established and it establishes quickly. It is mostly senescent, but does tend to keep a bit of foliage, as an open, large resting bud, throughout my winters. It can be negatively effected by very late spring freezes once it has begun to show spring growth. I personally consider this cultivar to be something like a “semi-semi-evergreen”, not quite fully ‘dormant’, but it is still a very hardy and useful cultivar and produces some very senescent seedlings that do go into what visually appears to be full dormancy (going completely underground in winter with little to no visible resting bud above ground). In the spring of 2015 I had a very late spring freeze that negatively impacted Notify Ground Crew, resulting in shortening of the scapes (down to about 4’) and some foliage damage. In 2016, with no severe late spring freezes Notify Ground Crew went back to its normal height and attractive foliage.
Notify Ground Crew is very fertile both ways and can produce a range of colors when crossed to other colors, as well as eyes and edges when crossed to plants with those traits. So far, it seems to have not been used much, and where it has, it has mainly been with other yellows. I think that is a shame, because I think this cultivar has a great deal to offer to the tetraploid gene pool. Notify Ground Crew not only includes the genes of Tetrina’s Daughter, which descends directly from Hemerocallis citrina, but just as important (if not more so) is tetra Purity, which is the pollen parent of Notify Ground Crew. This brings in genes to the tetraploid gene pool that are not found in the tetraploids, and Purity is a very good older plant that is close to species, so Notify Ground Crew offers a host of genetics that can widen the gene pool of the tetraploid daylilies.
While the first generation (F1) seedlings of Notify Ground Crew aren’t ‘latest-and-greatest’ faces, they are doorways to an expanded gene pool. Just take those F1 seedlings back to fancy faces and cross them with each other. Select toward the faces you want. Another interesting aspect of, and a great use for, Notify Ground Crew as a breeder is to breed tall plants. I have gotten some very tall seedlings from it, even when bred to considerably shorter cultivars. For those that like a simpler style, for tall-and-small or for species-like plant breeding at the tetraploid level, Notify Ground Crew is an excellent base to breed from for these types. 

Last, but certainly not least, is Notify Ground Crew’s disease and pest resistance. It shows high resistance to rust and high resistance to thrip/aphid predation and breeding value for both traits in my experience. I have few reports about it in other gardens, but the few I have also are of it showing resistance in those gardens. The best results I have obtained are from crossing Notify Ground Crew to other highly rust resistant cultivars, but I have gotten a few resistant seedlings from using its pollen on far less resistant cultivars. The same has held true for thrip/aphid resistance as well.