Wednesday, February 24, 2016

A visit with daylily hybridizer, Dan Robarts.

          Hot out of the microwave! One of Dan's new Courage to Change seedlings.

     I met Dan Robarts at Steve Moldovan and Roy Woodhall's gardens back in 2007.  Dan was at grad school at OSU and was helping Steve and Roy by guesting some seedlings in the OSU greenhouse for increase.  Dan and I share some of the same goals in daylily hybridizing, so I always enjoyed seeing him either at Moldovans or Curt Hanson's place.  For those of you who don't know Dan here is a little background information.
        Dan was born in 1980 in St. Johnsbury, Vermont.  He then grew up in Lancaster, New Hampshire.  From 1996 until 2000 Dan had a landscape/nursery job in high school where his interest in horticulture, plant propagation, and daylilies began to grow.  From 2000 till 2004 he went to Bates college in Lewiston, Maine.  From college he worked a few years at Boston University where he met Bill Chambers and Carl Harmon.  That's where the Ohio connection started where they would travel each summer to work at Moldovan gardens.  Dan then went to Ohio State from 2006 till 2012 to go to grad school.  In our most recent correspondence, Dan says that Steve Moldovan's true passion was for patterned daylilies, and Dan has made it his mission to continue his lines from his more recently released intros, most specifically Vertical Horizon, which was introduced by Steve in 2006.  While Dan was in grad school at Ohio State he worked in the greenhouse making 15000 seeds from 2006-2012.  From that he selected 500-1000 seedlings.  After graduating Dan and his wife moved to Arlington, Massachussets for 2 years, then moved to Brunswick, Maine this past spring, 2015. His daylilies are in containers in his yard currently.  In 2015 Dan made 175 crosses and 1500 seeds.  Dan said he has 350 plants in containers he is crossing with. Of those 75% are seedlings. Dan introduced his first daylily this year called, Unexpected Extra, which you can purchase through Mike Derrow or Melanie Mason.  It is an orange double with awesome plant habit.  It is currently for sale for $80
      Dan is now working for the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens as the plant breeder and propagator.  You can view Coastal Maine Botanical Garden's website at
Pictured left to right, Curt Hanson, Dan Robarts, Marty Pitkonin, and Roy Woodhall.                                                                                                                                                      

                             Dan Robarts and his twin sons.

                            Dan's seedlings at the OSU greenhouse.

                        1st introduction:  Unexpected Extra (Robarts 2016)

              Robarts seedling out of Aztec Headdress he let me guest. (Fitred seedling)

                                    Robarts Ron Valente seedling.

                                   Robarts Steve Moldovan seedling.
   ((Pleasing To The Eye x Vertical Horizon)-2 x tetra Kaleidoscopic Intrigue)

                                  Robarts All things to All Men seedling

                                  Robarts Vertical Horizon seedling.

                                   Robarts Vertical Horizon seedling.

                                   Robarts Vertical Horizon seedling.

                              Robarts Reach for the Sky Seedling.

                                   Robarts Nick of Time seedling.

                                Robarts Courage to Change seedling.

                                   Dan's backyard with containers.

                                                 350 containers.

       I look forward to seeing more of Dan's introductions in the future.  I am really impressed with how quickly Dan has hybridized some amazing daylily introductions, and I'm sure he is just getting started.  Looking forward to many years of seeing what Dan can create!  Hope you enjoyed his seedlings.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Don't mix chemicals around daylilies!

      In the summer of 2014, I sprayed my nut grass with a chemical I don't want to publicly name.  That following fall I applied a coating of pre emergent weed control.  Biggest mistake of my life.  Wow, did it ever mess up the daylilies.  The photo at the top of the page is of one of the areas I spread pre emergent on.  I will even admit I applied a little too much as you can see from the picture.  For the record, I will NEVER use pre emergent around daylilies ever again.  It really screwed up their growth.  I know some people who use it with success.  For me, it didn't work and set me back quite a bit.  Live and learn.  I had a lot of nice seedlings that didn't grow last year and even regressed.  Well, life isn't without it's disappointments and last year this was my learning experience.  In the photos below you can see how it negatively affected growth for the rest of 2015.

                      Photos taken on 5-16-15. Daylilies had turned brown.

              I had sprinkled pre emergent in spots in the front.  This is what a healthy clump looked like after the pre emergent had negatively affected it.

         This is one of the better seedling beds, and what few seedlings that were in there were mostly killed.  I put some of my best seedlings there.  It was hard to watch.

     As the season was coming to a close I saw the first signs that maybe the pre emergent had washed into the soil and saw some signs of recovery.  I am hopeful next year will return to a normal growth pattern.  I hope there are no residual effects on the soil.  Time will tell.  I will return to posting pictures of daylilies next installment when I post pictures that I took from Curt Hanson's Crintonic Gardens in the coming weeks. Stay tuned.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Growing seedlings fast!

                       Gossard seedling (Dragon Fang X Rosey Spiketail)

     Back in the summer of 2014, I visited Jamie Gossards place.  It was a great time to see Jamie's daylilies and he had so many awesome seedlings.  The one pictured above was my favorite.  It was a toothy cross of his Dragon Fang X Rosey Spiketail.  Had the biggest teeth of any seedling blooming there and such a nice purple color.  Jamie was nice enough to share pollen with me and I took it home and made a bunch of toothy crosses.  I wanted those seedlings to grow as quickly as possible and here in Ohio it is usually a slow process.  However I have one area where the seedlings seem to mature faster than any other area.  You will see in the pictures below how I planted these seedlings in June and by years end they looked like blooming size mature fans.  For the record, I did use Nutricote 18-6-8, and Multicote as well to help them along quickly.  I usually don't fertilize the seedlings in the main bed, so I can see what they look like in natural garden conditions.  There are some other seedlings mixed in as well.  Here is what they looked like over the year:

                                      First planting, 6-16-15.

                                      First planting 6-16-15.

                                      Ten days later 6-26-15.

                             Month and couple weeks later, 7-30-15.

                                  Almost two months, 8-10-15.


                              Almost three months later, 9-13-15.

                                     Three months, 9-28-15.

             Almost four months, 10-8-15. You can see they are very crowded now. That's Nicole Devito's Undefinable blooming in the upper left corner of the picture.

                                            Winter time, 2-9-16.
                                          Early Spring 3-14-16

     Well, I'm hopeful and excited to see these bloom in the coming season.  They are getting pretty crowded, so I will have to line them out to give them a better chance to mature and see them in normal garden conditions.  Hope you enjoyed the picture sequence.