Sunday, January 22, 2023

A visit with our friend, Kathleen Nordstrom

Luscious Kiss (Kathleen Nordstrom 2018)

Change It Up (Kathleen Nordstrom 2023)

For some time now, I have been meaning to do an interview with Kathleen Nordstrom and Mike Grossmann of Northern Lights Daylilies.  Finally, I have found the right opportunity to do an interview with each of them.  I figure it's best if I break it down into two parts and do each one separately. Ladies first, so with nothing further here is Kathleen Nordstrom's interview:


I was born in Bismarck, North Dakota and lived there for the first seventeen years of my life. I chose Arizona State University for college, mainly so I could escape the snow and cold. Unfortunately, I traded -45 degree winters for 110 degree summers. I attended medical school at the University of California San Diego, followed by an internship in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and residency in Radiation Oncology at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. After completing my training, I worked in Portland, Oregon for a couple years, then Cedar Rapids, Iowa. I then returned to Bismarck and practiced there for 10 years. If you told me in high school that I would be practicing medicine 2 blocks south of my high school, I would have not believed you! For the past 10 years, I have been working part time providing coverage for nearby clinics. I discovered this was the best way to have control over my schedule and allow me to hybridize in the summer. I retired in January 2022. 

I first met Mike when he came to my garden in Bismarck the day before the 2010 Region 1 Summer meeting. Steve Horan had driven down from the Twin Cities with Mike and another friend. Steve parked in front of my house. Mike thought they were going to see one of the Open Gardens. I came out of the garage with totes and gloves for everyone. That was when Mike learned he was volunteering to live head my garden! We met again the following year at club meetings of the Daylily Society of Minnesota. I moved to southeast Minnesota where we live in a rural setting about ten miles from the Northern Lights Daylilies greenhouse. 

1. How did you first get interested in daylilies?

Kathleen: My mother had a lovely perennial garden in Bismarck. Once I had my own home, I started my own garden. I had two daylilies planted among the many perennials. In 2004, three girlfriends invited me to come along on a trip to the Twin Cities "to shop for daylilies." The first large daylily business I saw was North Star Daylilies by Norm Baker. We also bought daylilies from Kyle Billadeau in Chaska, Minnesota. When they bloomed the following summer, I was hooked. 

2. Which hybridizer introduced you to daylilies and hybridizing?

Kathleen: My earliest lessons in hybridizing came from Karen Schock in Bismarck, and the hybridizers in the Daylily Society of Minnesota. Of course, Mike is the one who has taught me the most. 

3. What were your first goals in daylily hybridizing?

Kathleen: At first I was just dabbling, and wanted to make some small flowers that were hardy for cold climates. That soon expanded to unusual forms, patterned daylilies, bitones, and polymerous daylilies. Now my main goal is to create daylilies that are unique.

4. What were some of the challenges you have faced with your daylily hybridizing?

Kathleen: Our cold winter weather is one of the biggest challenges. The low temperature usually gets to -30 to -35 degrees every winter. Part of my program involves crossing non-hardy fancy faces to my hardy seedlings with a goal of getting fancy looks on northern hardy plants. Every year, Mother Nature does some heavy culling of the weak ones for me. The hardest part is walking the seedling fields the following Spring and seeing long rows of seedlings that did not come back. But I finally convinced myself that that is actually a blessing in disguise, because that leaves me with hardy plants to carry forward in my work. 

5. How many seedlings do you grow each year?

Kathleen: I plant 5000 seedlings each year. We have a four year rotation in the seedling field, so between Mike and I, we usually have about 30,000 plants blooming in late July.

6. What are some of your favorite introductions from other hybridizers?

Kathleen: I assume you want me to list introductions from hybridizers other than Mike Grossman? LOL. Early on in my collecting years, I was enamored with the small flowers of Grace Stamile and Elizabeth Salter. I am currently in love with the luscious colors in Mike Georges' introductions. 'Wishing on a Star', 'A Tale of Revenge', 'Alphanie,' and 'Dogs, Cats, and Pompadour Hats'. I have them planted in an area where I see them every day. I am fond of the polymerous daylilies of Don Herr. From Riverbend Gardens, each summer I enjoy 'Red-winged Blackbird' by Mike Holmes, and 'Hope Hunt' by Sandy Holmes. Other favorites have come from Jamie Gossard, Kim McCutcheon Eby, Margo Reed, and Jim Murphy. 

My favorite Mike Grossman introductions are 'Opa's Whiskers' (2023), 'I'm In Love' (2020), and 'Magician's Cloak' (2018).

7. What are some of your favorite daylily introductions?

Kathleen: Well, I still like my first two introductions, 'Quasar Cutie' and 'Luscious Kiss'. 'Quasar Cutie' blooms early, so many people have reported it is the first daylily to bloom in their garden, plus it gives two rounds of rebloom. Other favorites include 'Popoki Pookie', 'Gift of Life', 'Pink Starfish', 'Crack Me Up', and 'Something For Everyone'. 

8. What are some of your favorite daylily gardens to visit?

Kathleen: I have had the pleasure of seeing many spectacular gardens at National Conventions - Tim Bell in Georgia, Linda and Bill Pinkham in Virginia, and Blue Ridge Daylilies (Bob Selman and Eric Simpson) in North Carolina. What I really loved about these gardens were the impressive collections of other types of plants in addition to their daylily collections. Every summer we visit Steve Horan's garden in Woodbury, Minnesota at least once, more if we are able. Steve grows daylilies better than anyone I know. He also has a spectacular collection of daffodils, peonies, and ornamental grasses. 

9. What are some of your favorite memories involved with daylilies over the years?

Kathleen: I have to say I am grateful for every friend I have made and the memories I have from my experiences in the world of daylilies. We have many fond memories from participation in National Conventions and Hybridizer meetings. I had a very humbling experience at the National in Asheville in 2022. I was astounded by the number of people who came up to me, introduced themselves, and proceeded to tell me how much they like 'Quasar Cutie', or one of my other introductions. Some well known hybridizers were encouraging me to submit nominations for some of my introductions for the AHS ballot. Wow! Hard to believe.

10. What is the one piece of advice you have for people just getting started with hybridizing?

Kathleen: My main advice? Remember to have fun! I try not to take it too seriously. Just enjoy yourself. Live in the moment, find joy in each experience. 


Nordstrom seedling 7.77

Nordstrom seedling 9.198

Nordstrom seedling 9.295

Kathleen's comments on her seedlings: I am excited about some of my futures which will likely be introduced in 2024. Seedling 7.77 (yes, I was lucky) has a very soft yellow base color with a dramatic purple quasar eye. It comes from crossing my 'Quasar Cutie' with 'FKA JT Polston'. 
Seedling 9.198 has a lovely clean ivory base with a dark purple eye and patterned sepals. The petals show pattern on rebloom. It started blooming in early July this year and it rebloomed around August 23rd. 
Seedling 9.295 has been a favorite of mine. It will be my first introduction from my polymerous work. It is poly about 50% of the time. I wish that the poly percentage was higher, but that is coming in later generations. Nonetheless, 9.295 has a pretty face with good color and pattern, it reblooms, and it makes a beautiful clump. In addition to garden visits, I study the seedling and future intro photos that people share on social media, and I think it is one of the more unique looking poly's. 

Popoki Pookie (Kathleen Nordstrom)

Alphanie (Mike Georges)

Pink Starfish (Kathleen Nordstrom)

Hope Hunt (Sandy Holmes)

Something For Everyone (Kathleen Nordstrom)

Quasar Cutie (Kathleen Nordstrom)

Thank you to Kathleen Nordstrom for taking the time to share her beautiful program.  I must admit I really enjoyed reading all her answer to my questions.  It was truly a pleasure doing this interview.  Next up will be Kathleen's husband, Mike Grossmann.  Mike's been hybridizing for a quite a while and I am looking forward to seeing what he says.  Stay tuned!

Sunday, December 18, 2022

Lewis Daylily Garden Popularity Poll


Rich Howard's favorite seedling for 2022 (Just One Bite X Heavenly New Frontier)

John Kulpa Kit Walter seedling. (Paul K. Lewis's choice for best new seedling. I have not seen this in person yet, but hope to one day.)

If you didn't know any better, you'd think I am about to put together a segment on best toothy daylilies for 2022.  BUT I'M NOT.  No, actually I got this great idea from reading a thread on posted by Steve Todd with some of his favorite daylilies for the 2022 season.  Got me to thinking....I'm a member of the American Daylily Society and they have a popularity poll each year.  I have voted for years, but all I keep seeing are a lot of really old daylilies.  Now I think they are changing their format a little saying you can't keep voting for the same daylily each year, but unfortunately the members must all grow predominately older intros.  I am always looking to see if any of the cutting edge daylilies are on the list of favorites and I never see any votes for anything new. Well, I still love you American Daylily Society, but I thought I would throw together a small group of people to see what their favorite daylilies were.  I picked people that are growing the newest cutting edged daylilies and have exposure to a lot of daylilies either by virtue of the fact that they re sell or buy a lot. This years panel consists of Steve Todd (Illinois), Rich Howard (Connecticut), Kirsten Hatfield (Ohio), Theresa Maris (Kentucky), Elaine Seifert (Illinois) and myself living in Ohio as well.   Here are a list of their favorites.  I will start with Steve Todd since he gave me this idea. 

I broke them into categories.  So here we go:
Steve Todd's favorite new seedling goes to this Jeff Vitale future intro Guardian of the Blood. WOW!

Steve Todd's favorite new introduction goes to Starman from Rich Howard. This is also Rich Howard's choice for favorite striped introduction.

Steve Todd and Rich Howard's choice for favorite patterned intro went to The Downward Spiral.  Gentlemen, your check is in the mail.  Ha ha. Good choice.

Steve Todd and Rich Howard's choice for favorite toothy intro was John Kulpa's Joel Thomas Polston.  It is lovely.

Rich Howard's favorite introduction from another hybridizer is Yoga Man from Dan Hansen. 

Kirsten Hatfield's favorite introduction from another hybridizer is Wrecking Ball from Dan Hansen.

Kirsten Hatfield had 3 favorite seedlings. I picked this one to show. Wow.

Kirsten had 2 choices for favorite patterned intro.  For tets, it was her Jeepers Creepers and for dips it was this photo, which is FKA JT Polston from Bob Faulkner.

Kirsten Hatfield's favorite toothy introduction is If Pelicans Could Smile from Kimberly McCutcheon. A diploid with teeth. 

Kirsten Hatfield's favorite striped intro is Wacky Wednesday from Elaine Seifert.

Kirsten Hatfield's favorite double introduction is Grit and Grace hybridized by her.

Theresa Maris's favorite seedling (Exotic Starfish X Unknown)

Theresa Maris's favorite introduction this year was Pray Without Ceasing from Karol Emmerich.

Theresa Maris's favorite patterned introduction is Beach Party Pedicure (Gold). This was also Elaine Seifert's choice for favorite patterned daylily. 

Theresa Maris's favorite toothy was Lily Among Thorns from Karol Emmerich.
Theresa Maris's favorite striped introduction was Yankee Pinstripes from Rich Howard.

Theresa Maris had a 2nd favorite striped daylily.  Wacky Wednesday from Elaine Seifert.  2 votes for Elaine's intro. 

Elaine Seifert's favorite toothy this year was Bloodsport from Mike Holmes.

Elaine Seifert's favorite seedling was seedling #85 (Biting Pumpkins X Sweet Pibble Kisses)

Elaine Seifert also said she is excited about this seedling. (Speaking of Speckled X Northwood Dot Com)

Paul K. Lewis's favorite introduction and favorite toothy introduction for this year was Parker Raymond from John Kulpa.  WOW.  It blew me away.

Paul K. Lewis's favorite striped introduction is Laurelwood's Midsummer Masquerade from Angela Ridder.

Paul K. Lewis's favorite patterned daylily is my future intro, Whisper to a Scream.

Well, there is our mini popularity poll in a nut shell. I liked that were several intros that had more than one vote.  For such a small group I feel you got to see some of the newer daylilies out there and also got to see what's coming in the future.  Maybe the ADS should do some sort of segment on member's seedlings and future intros.  I would be interested to see pictures like that in our journal.  Anyway, hope you are having a nice holiday season.  I hope to begin 2023 with an interview with Mike Grossman and Kathleen Nordstrom.  Stay tuned!

Saturday, November 19, 2022

Striped Daylilies from 2022


David Evick seedling (Stone Palace Showtime X Seedling B-14) X Stone Palace Streaker (Evick)

Laurelwood's Painting By Number (Angela Ridder)

Striped daylilies have become a category that keeps growing and growing. With so many people out there hybridizing for this look, there have been some really cool advancements.  We are seeing striped daylilies with teeth now and striped double daylilies.  A couple future striped intros sold on the Lily Auction for $2900.  Holy COW!  Striped daylilies are hot! I have a pretty big collection of photographs to share with you, so let's start out with my friend, Angela Ridder:

Laurelwood's Painting By Number (Angela Ridder)

Laurelwood's Peppermint Splash (Angela Ridder)

Half Moon Rising (Angela Ridder)

Angela Ridder 8.5" inch seedling

Angela Ridder seedling (Richard J. Howard X Block Party)

Laurelwood's Candy Cane Splash (Angela Ridder)

Angela Ridder seedling

Paintball Party (Angela Ridder) Photo by Peter Donato

Chillin with my Gnomes (Angela Ridder)

And now some from David Evick:

Stone Palace Streaker (David Evick)

David Evick seedling

David Evick seedling

David Evick seedling

David Evick seedling
                                    And now some from Stuart Kendig:
Stuart Kendig seedling 20-18 (Explosion in the Paint Factory(Howard) X (EITPF X Helena's Fire))

Stuart Kendig seedling 20-11

Whose Broad Stripes (Stuart Kendig)

Who's Broad Stripes (Stuart Kendig)

Thirsty Thursday (Stuart Kendig)

                                                        One from me:
Paul K. Lewis seedling out of Rich Howard (Kendig)

Now we move into the intros and seedlings that originate from the daylily Undefinable (DeVito) in most cases.  The newest development in this look has been the addition of teeth.  Mike Holmes has some incredible future intros and seedlings that he was nice enough to share.  Thanks Mike!
Redefinable (Mike Holmes)

Redefinable close up

Redefinable (Mike Holmes)

Redefinable (Mike Holmes)

Panning For Gold (Mike Holmes)

Panning For Gold (Mike Holmes)

Redefinable seedling (Mike Holmes)

Redefinable seedling (Mike Holmes)

Redefinable seedling (Mike Holmes)

Mike Holmes seedling

Mike Holmes seedling

Striped Action seedling (Mike Holmes)
                                     And now a seedling from Jeff Vitale:

                                  And now some intros from Nicole DeVito:
Nicole DeVito future 2023 intro

N is for Nichole (Nicole DeVito)

Nicole DeVito 2023 future intro

                  And now some from Valentina Gripas from Kherson, Ukraine
Valentina Gripas seedling

Valentina Gripas seedling

Valentina Gripas seedling

                             And now the amazing program of Rich Howard!
Starman (Rich Howard)

Rich Howard seedling (Sunny with a chance of wine X Starman)

Sunny with a chance of Wine (Rich Howard)

Rich Howard seedling (Colorful Chaos Princess Leia (Bush) X Blame it on the Rain (Harris))

Rich Howard seedling

True Sadness (Rich Howard)

Rich Howard seedling (Cactus Black X (TPS X TYPS))

                    And now some from my friend, Dave Mussar from Canada
Dave Mussar seedling (Spots Before My Eyes X Undefinable)

Dave Mussar seedling (Beholder X Undefinable)

Dave Mussar (Explosion in the Paint Factory X Wacky Wednesday)

Dave Mussar seedling (Flying Trapeze X Wacky Wednesday)

Dave Mussar seedling (True North My Heart X Explosion in the Paint Factory)

Dave Mussar seedling (Undefinable X Dandelion Fluff)

Dave Mussar (Clear Conscience X Explosion in the Paint Factory)

Dave Mussar seedling (Lady Barbara X Wacky Wednesday)
                                 And now some from Judy Sparrow Sweeney
Addie's Raspberry Splash (Judy Sparrow Sweeney)

Sheherazade (Judy Sparrow Sweeney)

Alice's Paintbox (Judy Sparrow Sweeney)

Sonja's Tiki Party (Judy Sparrow Sweeney)

                         And now some assorted other hybridizer's seedlings:
Paul Van Mechelen seedling

Paul Van Mechelen seedling

Robert Scott seedling 2267

Undi Pants (Licia Smith Babb)

Steve Todd seedling

Shallow Ford's Pseudo Melanistic (Larry Grace/ Tabitha Gilyard) Photo by Steve Todd

Andromeda Galaxy (Chad Bush)

Grogu (Chad Bush)

Now to one of my favorite categories of striped daylilies.  Striped sepals.  Usually found on purple backgrounds, but I know of some seedlings in this category are emerging in other colors.  Steve Todd started this style of breeding with his intro, Clown Pants.  From Clown Pants many very cool seedlings and intros have emerged.  Let's begin with Steve's Clown Pants, followed by some of his AWESOME seedlings: 
Clown Pants (Steve Todd)

System of Equations (Steve Todd)

Steve Todd seedling

Steve Todd seedling

Steve Todd seedling

Steve Todd seedling 

Steve Todd seedling

Steve Todd seedling. I love everything about this one!

Steve Todd seedling

Steve Todd seedling

And there have been some intros from other hybridizers with this look:
Just Clowning Around (Dave Mussar)

Jeff Vitale seedling

Wallingford Flame Thrower (Rich Howard)

Laurelwood's Purple Cabana (Angela Ridder)

Well, there you have it.  I probably could have divided that segment up into two parts and might do that next year.  It seems each year there are more and more striped seedlings and intros. This category of daylilies has gotten very popular.  I know there are some hybridizers that I may have forgotten and I apologize.  It wasn't personal.  I just got such a huge amount of photographs that I had to stop at some point.  I hope to include more in this segment next year and the looks continue to evolve.  Not sure what is up next, but I have a new idea that I may try out.  Check back in.  Thanks for stopping by. 

Blog Archive