Monday, February 5, 2018

A visit with my friend, Bill Waldrop

                                               Bill Waldrop seedling

                                              Bill Waldrop seedling.

During the winter I spend a lot of time on the internet looking at daylily hybridizer's websites, checking out sales on The Lily Auction, and reading any good daylily blogs that I can find.  Bill Waldrop has written one of the most interesting daylily blogs for many years.  In fact, I enjoyed Bill's blog so much that I took my wife down to Georgia to see his garden in person.  I was very glad I did.  Bill has been hybridizing for a while now, and has introduced many cutting edge daylilies.  I decided it wouldn't be right if I didn't at least feature Bill on my daylily blog. With nothing further here is our segment on Bill Waldrop:

Introduction written by Bill Waldrop.

 I was born in Alpharetta, Georgia, on December 11, 1945.  My mother told me that on the day I was born everything was covered with thick ice from a frigid storm.  Since then I don't recall having seen anything like that storm on December 11.  Then, this year on December 9 we had a massive snow storm.  Tree branches busted, trees were destroyed and we paid a lot of money to get everything cleaned up again.

Although I was born in Alpharetta, I grew up in Marietta.  I left Marietta at age 17 and joined the Air Force where I served for 7 years.  I was promoted rapidly and eventually reached the grade of Technical Sergeant, (E-6).  After I left the military I went to school on the GI Bill and received an undergraduate degree from Georgia State University, and a law degree from Mercer University.  I then practiced law in Marietta until I retired in 2011. 
I met my beautiful wife, Diana Rae, when I was stationed in Rapid City, South Dakota, and we have been married 49 years.  We have a daughter, Kelley Rae, and a granddaughter, Lily Rae.

I started gardening after we built our house were we live at 310 McDaniel Road.  I had 40+ tomato plants, I had corn and watermelons and squash and peppers and most anything that could be grown in a garden.  I eventually took a "Master Gardener" course with a good friend, and he then gave me 12 daylilies.  After about 2 years I liked the daylilies so much that I started growing them more and more.  Soon our garden was a daylily garden and not a vegetable garden.

1. How did you first get interested in daylilies?  Bill:  My friend who lived close to our house wanted me to try growing daylilies but I said "no."  That I didn't want to grow anything that I couldn't eat.  Still, he brought me a dozen plants and after I saw them my mind was completely changed.  I just love daylilies but my wife Diana Rae is our vegetable gardener and she is a hybridizer as well.

2. What were your initial goals in hybridizing? Bill:  At first I just collected seeds.  I planted the seeds in a "cold frame" and they grew well, but in the winter they disappeared.   I thought that the plants had died; I just didn't understand dormancy.
3. Which daylily hybridizers influenced you in the beginning?  Bill: In the very beginning I was amazed at the flowers produced by Pat and Grace Stamile.  I paid close attention to the parentage of Pat's introductions and I noticed that he used "conversions."  That is, he converted diploids to tetraploids.  I read all I could about the process and then I went to Florida to see Pat.  I had Pat to show me how he "carved" his plants prior to treatment.  I also asked Dan Trimmer to do the same, and my good friend Larry Grace also showed me his "carving technique."  Soon, I was granted qualification to purchase the chemical, Colchicine, and conversions have become an important part of my hybridizing efforts.  I think that I've converted about 20 to 25 plants.
4.  What are some of the challenges you've had in hybridizing?  Bill:  I had considerable difficulty converting the diploid, PINK STRIPES, to a tetraploid.  However, I was able to achieve the conversion, and I've created a 2018 introduction called MASTER SERGEANT KENNETH LANE.  It is very interesting because it has the stripes that were there in the diploid form of PINK STRIPES.  I wrote an article about this conversion work that appeared in Volume 70, issue number 1, on page 40 of The Daylily Journal.  The article is entitled Dips to Tets: a How-to-guide. 

5. How many seedlings do you grow each year?  Bill: I normally grow about 2,500 seedlings a year.  In the past I've grown about 450 of these seedlings in the greenhouse.  Now, I grow almost all seedlings outside.  This takes more time to see a new flower but I know that the flower that I see comes from a plant that survives our cold weather.
6.  What are some of your favorite daylily introductions from others?  Bill: I like the introductions from Guy Pierce, and I particularly like those which have TET. ROSE F. KENNEDY as a parent.  I like daylilies from my friend Larry Grace in Alabama, and I like those from Jamie Gossard.  I like many from Karol Emmerich, and I've amazed that she can grow such astonishing plants in such a cold, cold climate.
7.  What are some of your favorite daylilies that you've introduced?  Bill: I am very proud of LYDIA'S REGAL ROBE.  I converted INDIAN GIVER which is one of the parents, and LYDIA has won both the AHS Awards of  Honorable Mention and Award of Merit.  It is currently under consideration for the Stout Medal.

I also have to mention BLAZING CANNONS which has won both THE PRESIDENT'S CUP and was recently chosen for the Honorable Mention award.  I'm also very pleased with HOTLANTA, IRISH ROYALTY and MASTER SERGEANT KENNETH LANE.  I'm also pleased with OPA KLAUS which is a 10" double that was made by using the converted SUNGLASSES NEEDED. I also really like KENNESAW CROSSFIRE and DENTAL DELIGHT because of these teeth these plants have.

8. What are some of your favorite daylily seedlings you've hybridized?  Bill:  I've been working with Shooter's SUNRISE SHADOWS and with Charles Douglas' GARRETT ALLEN.  I have converted these two diploids and I'm seeing outstanding results.  I've also converted SEBASTIAN THE CRAB and I've made Seedling 6-41 which is just a glorious double.
9. What are some of your favorite daylily gardens you like to visit?  I always like to visit Tim Bell's garden in South Georgia.  It is just astonishing.  So well kept.  In my thinking it is the best daylily garden.  I also like Karol Emmerich's garden in Minnesota.  I like the gardens in Ohio.  All are very lovely and interesting.

Here are some of Bill Waldrop's introductions:

Kennesaw Moutain Hayride (Bill Waldrop) One of my personal favorites.


Blazing Cannons (Bill Waldrop) President's Cup winner, Atlanta National Convention.

                   Lydia's Regal Robe (Bill Waldrop) Stout Medal Candidate.

                                 Diana's Evening Gown (Bill Waldrop)

               Master Sergeant Kenneth Lane (Bill Waldrop 2018 introduction) 

                                        Dental Delight (Bill Waldrop)

                              Opa Klaus (Bill Waldrop) Huge 10" flowers!

         Marlee Jane (Bill Waldrop) This is a very lovely tall daylily in my garden.

                                   Diana's Irish Dream (Bill Waldrop)

                                 Lily's Golden Curls (Diana Waldrop)

And now here are some of Bill Waldrop's daylily seedlings from his blog:

    Cobb County Daylily Society (Pictured in Bill and Diana Waldrop's backyard.)

I want to thank Bill Waldrop for taking the time to share his daylily program with me.  Bill has always been very kind to me over the years. He converted the daylily, Pink Stripes (Derrow) for me a few years back. I have been fortunate enough to hybridize with it these last two years and that wouldn't have been possible if it wasn't for Bill's hard work and determination.  Thank you Bill.  Bill and Diana have just posted their 2018 introductions on their website and they can be seen at