Sunday, June 24, 2012

Bloom ahead of schedule....is this a good thing?



     With the warmer than normal spring and the extremely dry conditions it seems like the bugs are really bad this year and the bloom is ahead of schedule by one to two weeks.  The plant habit seems to be all screwed up, with bud counts and branching nothing like it usually is.  Getting back to the bugs...it seems that some daylilies are really badly affected, having buds falling off even before maturing, where as others are unaffected.  My good friend and mentor Steve Moldovan used to say we should never spray daylilies for insects, because we want to see how the daylily performs in everyday conditions.  I've focused my hybridizing on using the daylilies that seem to be doing the best under these stressfull conditions.  That is the other frustrating aspect of this years daylily season, there are fewer pods setting.  I think the daylilies are so stressed out that they can't handle the additional stress of being crossed on.  Some daylilies that I would consider pod studs aren't setting on at all.  This is very strange.  I have been doing a fairly good job of watering too.  I am afraid to see what my water bill will be in a month or so.  Anyway let's get on to some pictures.
       I was having some problems with birds landing on scapes and flowers messing up pollen, so pictured at the very top you can see I have a bobbing head plastic owl on a stake.  I think it scared the birds away for a day, but now they fly right over it.  I'm thinking it was a mistake anyway as the birds are trying to control the insect population, which is out of control this year. 
      The picture right below it is Dan Hansen's Robin Lee, which has been an amazing daylily in my garden.  Incredible scapes, huge flowers, and it seems unaffected by all the stress.
       The picture at the bottom of the page is Pat Stamile's Awesome Prism, which in my eyes is the best of the Tet. Malachite stuff.

       The picture at the middle bottom is Frank Smith's Dale Hensley, which has been my favorite red tet. this year and last year.   The picture at the very bottom is a diploid seedling of mine I affectionately call Tavern on the Green, due to it's nice green throat. (unintroduced at this point.)  Well, that's the latest.  It's been frustrating this year.  Too hot and too dry.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Browns Ferry Gardens and Marietta Gardens.

     Well, what a difference a week makes.  Not the best of weeks though.  Here in northeast Ohio we are in a bit of a dought.  We did get some rain this morning, but it hardly put a dent in the dry, cracked ground.  Today is June 17th, and typically the only thing in bloom in our area would be Stella d'oro's, but I have
most of my earlies in bloom out front with a good mixture of new arrivals.  I have to say due to the early warm up it seems the height of scapes, branching and bud count is way off.  It seems some daylilies are not their usual selves and this season may not be a memorable one.
     So, let's get on to some more positive stuff like my trip down to South Carolina.  Boy did I enjoy my visits to Browns Ferry Gardens and Marietta Gardens. 
      Let's start with Browns Ferry Gardens.  Heidi Douglas was so nice showing me around the garden.  Charles Douglas was at work, so Heidi made sure I got to see everything in their program and other named daylilies.  Browns Ferry was one of the first daylily sources I used to buy daylilies from.  I have their catalogs dating back to 1998. (have I ever mentioned I have a huge daylily catalog collection?) Anyway, I have featured at the top of the page an over all picture of the garden and right below it I put a photograph of Ribbons of color, a Heidi Douglas introduction.  I look forward to going back in the future and I have to say that Browns Ferry Gardens is one you shouldn't miss. One of my favorites.
     Not too far from Browns Ferry is Marietta gardens in North Carolina, owned by John and Faye Shooter.   Faye has always been very kind and always responds to every one of my emails.  John Shooter will make you laugh, and is very proud of his advancements in diploids.  He should be.  I'm pretty sure he is the first to hybridize diploids with edges.  Some of the green throats on his diploids were just amazing.  I look forward to purchasing more Shooter intros in the coming years.  I should also mention I have Marietta Garden catalogs dating back to 2001.  The Shooters helped me build my daylily collection up over the years as well.  The garden photo at the top part of the bottom of the page is of Jamie Gossard's Heavenly United We Stand.  The middle bottom photo is of John Shooter's introduction, Sunrise Shadows which is a giant 8" flower.  Very beautiful pink diploid and one you should put on your must have list.  So that brings this installment to a close.  I hope you enjoyed this trip through some special gardens.


     I had to put a picture of one of my favorite purples at the very bottom of the page, Imperial Wizard from Steve Moldovan, photographed in Browns Ferry Gardens.  What an amazing purple!

Monday, June 11, 2012

My South Carolina vacation.

     I just got back from my vacation to South Carolina and I am EXHAUSTED!  I had a great time!  I was able to visit Browns Ferry Gardens and John and Faye Shooter's Marietta Gardens.  The picture at the top of the page is of a clump of Mary's Gold at Marietta Gardens.  What a beatiful daylily Mary's Gold is!  Too bad it's sterile.   I've tried to cross on it and use it's pollen with no luck.  I also featured a quick photo at the bottom of the page of James Townsend's 2012 introduction, Veto.  I will write more about both my visits to those previously mentioned daylily nurseries, but for now I need some rest.  Hope you are all having fun with your gardens!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Attack of the daylily field!

     You are probably wondering what I mean by that title.  Well, if you read last week's post, you saw that I had a deer get into my garden and do some damage.  That same deer (my wife and I are pretty sure it's the same deer) has been just going up and down our street feeding in the same yards.  As it stands right now I have baggies on stakes from a company called Green Screen, these plastic containers on stakes from a company called Sweeney's, and I have spread Deer Scram granules.  Three deer deterrents, costing me some serious cash.  So far, it seems to be working, but the deer continues to show up feeding on the neighbor's yards.  Today the deer jumped into some one's back yard that had a Chihuahua on a leash in the backyard.  That dog wouldn't have stood a chance against that deer.  It's beginning to concern me enough that I think I will contact our city's animal warden.  I don't know if they are capable of perhaps tranquilizing the deer and moving it to one of our local parks, but I have to at least call.  The reason we are having a problem with our deer population is because there are no natural predators.  No coyotes for some miles.  I wish we did have some way of keeping the deer out of our suburbs. 
      So, if you thought that wasn't enough....this morning I walk out into the front yard and a ground hog goes running across the daylily field.  As far as I can tell the ground hog isn't burrowed into my front yard.  None the less I don't want him around digging holes either.  I have trapped one in the past couple years using a have a hart trap and some green apples.  I then transported the little guy to our local park.  Hopefully he's having a great life out there. 
      Then to add insult to injury, I have people that walk by my property all the time since I live in a suburb where the houses are all right next to each other.  There was this family walking by and this little boy goes running up one of my daylily aisles.  My wife looked out the window and yelled for me seeing this kid in our front yard.  Luckily his mom got him to come out before he could break any scapes.  A broken scape is a hard thing for a daylily hybridizer to have to deal with.  Be it from deer, groundhogs, or little kids.  Don't get me wrong, I love children, just not running out of control through the garden as it comes into peak bloom. 
     Moving along....I thought I would post a picture at the top of the page of some of the first blooms.  The three in the front are Dan Trimmer's Calamity Jane, and the white one in the foreground is Ballerina on Ice from Vic Santa Lucia.  The old fashioned golden orange daylily below it is an old favorite of mine, Orange Prelude from a hybridizer by the name of McEwen, hybridized in 1974.  I really love Orange Prelude for it's color and the fact that it is one of the first daylilies to bloom each year.  I put a picture at the bottom of the page of my seedling bed.  I weeded my seedling bed this past week and put mulch on it.  Weeding a seedling bed is a herculean task sometimes.  It is very difficult to get the weeds out from in between the tightly packed seedlings. Some hybridizers prefer to use trays to start their seedlings out and I understand that approach.  I guess I have my system for now.  I try and find one of the most well drained areas in the yard and plant all my crosses from the last year.  This one area seems to work the best.  Well, there's my week in a nutshell.  Hope everyone is enjoying some great bloom without the nuisance of deer and other pests.