Thursday, January 23, 2020

A visit with our friend, Heidi Douglas

                              Larry's Candy Stripe Swizzle (Heidi Douglas)

                        Browns Ferry Gardens (Photo taken by Paul K. Lewis)

I think it was back in June 2012 when my wife, Kyle and I went down to South Carolina and visited Browns Ferry Gardens for the first time.  This was the first time I got to meet Heidi Douglas in person as well.  Heidi was a wonderful host showing me around the main garden and then the seedling fields.  I highly recommend all of you go down and visit Browns Ferry Gardens, probably one of the nicest daylily gardens I have visited.  Heidi was nice enough to do an interview for us, so with nothing further, here is our segment with Heidi Douglas:
Charles and Heidi Douglas
Intro written by Heidi Douglas

I was born in Cincinnati, Ohio quite some time ago. I graduated from Wyoming High School in 1976 and then went to Ohio University where I studied Fashion Merchandising. I bounced around doing a lot of different things until I started computer consulting for an accounting firm in Cincinnati in 1998. I found out I can learn anything when I put my mind to it and became quite good at it. I am still doing it 25 years later. I currently work for a tech company in Cincinnati managing and developing their accounting systems.  It is wonderful that I can work remotely from South Carolina, where I currently live. In 2003 I met Charles Douglas at the Mid Winter Symposium in Chattanooga, Tennessee. I started working on the auction for the Region 2 Winter meeting and would call Charles for donations. Late 2005 we became an item and in October of 2006 I moved to Browns Ferry Gardens in Georgetown, South Carolina. We were married at Disney World in November, 2007 and now I have 2 grown daughters, 6 grand children, and 3 great grand children.
Heidi and Charles Douglas, Disney World 2007
1. How did you first get interested in daylilies?

Heidi: I had just bought a house and asked a landscaper to put some flowers in for me.  Well, I was not very happy with how far my $500 went, and then I received a Spring Hill catalog in the mail. Spring Hill did the garden by numbers in their catalog, so I started studying the different plants and where they needed to grow and planted my first garden around 1999. I noticed my neighbor had these little yellow flowers that bloomed all season long and none of mine did that, so I asked her what they were and that is when the obsession began. I decided to do some research, because certainly they must come in other colors and that is when I discovered Charlotte's Daylily Diary. I combed through all of the websites all winter long and settled on five daylilies to put in my garden. After they bloomed that first season, I was hooked and had to have more. The following year I had over 300 daylilies, the following year over 600, and then over 1000.  In 2005 my garden was on the national convention tour with over 1000 cultivars. I also discovered the Lily Auction chat room and met a lot of daylily addicts. I became good friends with many of the people there and one lady bought me my first years membership in the AHS so I could join the daylily robin. Then I joined a local club and now I understand the meaning of come for the flower and stay for the people.

Heidi Douglas, Miss Marie, and Charles Douglas
2. What hybridizer introduced you to daylily hybridizing?

Heidi: I became good friends with Wanda Evans in the club because she won Best in Show at the flower show I went to see about joining a club. She hybridizes some, but then I met Dan Bachman and JR Blanton, also members of the club. They took me to the Shirley Farmer meeting where I met some amazing hybridizers. This was back in the beginning of the Shirley Farmer meetings and it was just a group of us sitting around a big table and sharing slides. Steve Moldovan, Roy Woodhall, Richard Norris, and John Benz were some of the big names at the meeting and I sat in awe!! Of course at that time, I wasn't going to be a hybridizer, I was just going to collect. Yeah right! We took a weekend and went up to see Steve and Roy's garden and then went to Curt Hanson's. Dan Hansen was in Curt's garden and a bunch of people were there spreading pollen everywhere! I didn't actually start making my own crosses until 2003. My very first seedlings were blooming at the National in 2005.

3. What were your first goals in the beginning of your hybridizing?

Heidi: The first thing I wanted to do was put the edge of Spacecoast Starburst on Bela Lugosi, so I made the cross both ways to see what would happen. The results of one of those crosses was actually one of my very first introductions in 2010 called FIRST TRY.

Heidi Douglas and Julie Covington
4. What were some of the challenges you've faced with your hybridizing over the years?

Heidi: I think the biggest challenge was just last summer when I really couldn't decide what direction I wanted to go and just didn't do a lot of hybridizing. I was exhausted from hosting the National convention the year before and just couldn't focus. I am hoping this year I can some of that focus back, but we are really trying to downsize the garden, so it isn't a bad thing that I hybridized less.

5. How many seedlings do you grow each year?

Heidi: I have grown as many as 5000 a year, but that is way more than I need. This year I will have about 1000 that will bloom for the first time.

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

Heidi: Who doesn't love Rose F. Kennedy? (Doorakian) I got some really pretty flowers from that and Tropicana Treat.(Carpenter)  Recently I have used O'Bannon Orchid on everything dip and Planetary Conversion (Hansen) on everything tet.

7. What are some of your favorite daylily introductions?

Heidi: Papa Goose! Duh! Breathing in Snowflakes, Larry's Candy Stripe Swizzle, and Southern Shiner...just to name a few.

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

Heidi: I Can't Believe it's a Dip in Conway with Ed Zahler and Duane Therrien.  Gary and Angie Maly in Cincinnati, Ohio, and Strictly Daylilies in Cambridge, England.

Charles Douglas talking with visitors

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

Heidi: Of course the fact that I met my husband in daylilies and now have a beautiful family because of that is my very favorite. I have met so many wonderful people through daylilies and many have become good friends that I will never give up, no matter what!

10. Heidi wanted to add: Lots of people like to ask why I made that cross? I don't really have a reason. I am not like many hybridizers that like to put pink on pink or watermarks on patterns because it will give them a better pattern. I am not one to think it through. I typically take one pollen and go out and put it on everything that suits me. Sometimes it makes sense, most of the time it is more like "What IF?"  I'm not as focused on the cross as I am the result. Charles is very focused on his crosses and many times he will flag a seedling before it blooms because of the cross. I am just the opposite.  I will show him a pretty seedling and he asks what the cross is and it turns out I didn't even look to see.
Charles Douglas and Gene Tanner 
And now some of Heidi, Charles, and Gene's 2020 introductions:

                                            Mr. Z (Heidi Douglas 2020)

                          Mr. Z clump shot (Heidi Douglas 2020) Awesome!

                                Points for Distinction (Heidi Douglas 2020)

                                   The Night King (Heidi Douglas 2020)

                               Loving you is Easy (Charles Douglas 2020)

                                 Carter McGhee  (Charles Douglas 2020)

                                 Clifton Plantation (Charles Douglas 2020)

                                         Cokerville (Gene Tanner 2020)

                                Bang-a-Lang Street (Gene Tanner 2020)

                                   Dribble or Shoot (Gene Tanner 2020)

Now some of Heidi's favorite intros:

                                 Breathing in Snowflakes (Heidi Douglas)

                                Meme's Lovin' the Limelight (Heidi Douglas)

                Papa Goose (Heidi Douglas) Photo by Edvinas Misiukevicius

                                        Southern Shiner (Heidi Douglas)

                                   Perry and his Harem (Heidi Douglas)

                                         Boss Hogg (Heidi Douglas)

Here's some of Charles Douglas and Gene Tanner's intros:

                               For the love of the Game (Charles Douglas)

                                       Sally Kitchens (Charles Douglas)

                                  Putting on the Dog (Charles Douglas)

                                    Calling All Hearts (Charles Douglas)

                                      Humble and Kind (Gene Tanner)

               As you can see there is a LOT to see at Browns Ferry Gardens!

Heidi leading the geese. (Photo by Edvinas Misiukevicius) 
Thank you Heidi for taking the time to share your experiences with the daylily world with us!I think one of the first daylily catalogs I got back in 1998 was a Browns Ferry Gardens catalog, so I know they have been around for over 20 years! Early June is usually peak bloom for them and if you would like to visit their website here it is:
Or just simply Google Browns Ferry Gardens and it should come up.  My next segments should be on blue eyed daylilies and some that I felt were stellar in my garden this past summer.  Stay tuned. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Some interesting futures

                       Paul K. Lewis seedling (Master Yoda X Marissa Jonea)

                    Paul K. Lewis seedling (Master Yoda X Marissa Jonea)

It's been an interesting 20 years of hybridizing daylilies.  I think I am finally starting to see more of what I hope to see from my crosses and the plant habit is getting better as well.  Here's some more seedlings that I feel have some promise:

                  Paul K. Lewis seedling (Blessing of Freedom X Dale Hensley)

                      Paul K. Lewis (Blessing of Freedom X Dale Hensley)

                               Paul K. Lewis future (The Downward Spiral)

                               Paul K. Lewis future (The Downward Spiral)

                              Paul K. Lewis future (The Downward Spiral)

                                  Paul K. Lewis future (Wall of Voodoo)

                                 Paul K. Lewis future (Wall of Voodoo)

                   Paul K. Lewis seedling (Lemon Dazzler X Wowee Cherokee)

               Paul K. Lewis seedling (Lemon Dazzler X Wowee Cherokee)

Hoping to do one more segment before I return to some more interesting interviews.  Winter has been pretty good this season and hopefully it's been the same for all of you.  Stop back soon. 

Friday, January 3, 2020

A visit with our friend, Brian Reeder, part 2

              Brian Reeder 2019 Seedling [(Unk. X Unk) X Just Call Me Angel]

      Brian Reeder 2019 Seedling (Women Seeking Men X Thumbthing Special)

Let's continue with our interview with Brian Reeder.  Here is part 2:

4.What are some of the initial challenges you faced with your hybridizing?
The greatest challenges I faced initially were in finding both the information I needed to make educated choices, and to then find materials (actual plants - species clones or hybrid cultivars) to build the program I envisioned. This was especially true for finding fancy, hybrid tetraploids that could meet the base-criteria I required for a plant to become part of my program (even my tertiary layer requires a certain level of desirable traits). Of course, there were no problems with finding the flower traits I liked. All you have to do is be willing to spend a lot of money and, voila’, you can have all the fancy flowers you want, but finding those fancy flowers with superior plants underneath them is a whole other level of challenge.
Finding Dr. Halinar and the initial base species was a stroke of pure luck, one of those synchronistic events where the right person with the right information (and in this case, right plants) just happens to cross your path at the right time. He then directed me on to finding Implausibility and Notify Ground Crew. I found Ancient Elf by chance through web searches for the keywords “rust resistance”, “tetraploid” and “fertility”, pointing me to the hybridizer’s description. I then found, quite by chance, a local grower who had it and sold me a big clump of it for nearly nothing. He didn’t want it any more because it was “so plain”… I tried Solaris Symmetry because I thought it might be quite hardy due to its point of origin and because it was the least expensive “blue-eyed white” that was fairly new that I had found. It turned out to be the most important plant I have grown and used. Honestly, I could have just used the four species and species-like base plants, and Solaris Symmetry, to produce a great program, but I continued searching for materials, as I wanted to work with a wider range of plants, knowing that genetic diversity is always desirable, and so I was always looking for other plants with superior traits. Though I have found a fair number of good plants, not many have been exceptional or extraordinary, but there have been some, as I will discuss in another question further below.

Finding rust resistance was exasperating. I am certain there are multiple genes for resistance to rust in the Hemerocallis, so it was important to me to find as many resistant plants as I could within the time period I had set aside for rust resistance screening, to attempt to amass a wide range of genes for rust resistance. Finding resistant plants at the diploid level is not that hard, as about 25 to 35% of diploids that I have trialed show moderately to extremely high resistance to rust. What was much harder was to find rust resistant tetraploids. My experience suggests that rust resistance is very rare amongst most tetraploid lines, likely due to the original, narrow gene pool the tetraploids were created from being predominantly susceptible to rust (but who could have known that then?). My experience with screening tetraploids for rust resistance is that only about 2 - 5% of tetraploids show moderately high to extremely high resistance to rust. The irony is that the first four species and species-like base plants that I brought in (H. fulva ‘Korean’, Implausibility, Notify Ground Crew and Ancient Elf) all show very high to extremely high rust resistance. Over time, I was able to locate other hybrid tetraploids with more modern flowers that either showed higher levels of rust resistance or that had some breeding value for the trait, but it was a nerve-wracking, back-breaking, expensive and time-consuming effort. I also want to stress that when you do locate rust resistance in tetraploids, it is just as genetically stable and heritable as at the diploid level. There is not a problem with tetraploids not being able to be resistant, it is just that most aren’t. When you find those that are resistant, they are replicable, with the first generation results depending on whether the genes of the parents in question are recessive, dominant or some combination of both, just as in the resistant diploids.

Resistance to thrips is even rarer in daylilies than rust resistance, both at the diploid and tetraploid levels. Finding plants with high levels of resistance was like finding a needle in a haystack, but I did find some. Again, the irony is that both Notify Ground Crew and Solaris Symmetry have excellent thrip resistance, with Solaris Symmetry being one of the best for this trait I have located. Whooperee and Spider Man are two other tetraploids that show very high thrip resistance, and Tis Midnight is probably the best diploid I found for the trait. I found no statistical difference in resistance for thrips between diploids and tetraploids. While we often just think of thrip damage as being spots on an anthocyanic-colored flower’s petals, any color can be effected, and the damage can also manifest as enations (bumps, horns and thorns) on the backs of the sepals, and severe attacks by thrips can cause bud drop or even scapes that wither and never mature to flower.
Locating plants that show the foliage combination of leaves that die-down in the late fall or winter, go into dormancy forming a resting bud, stay underground for the winter (even if the winter gets warm) and then emerging late in the spring but also showing resistance to late spring freezes, but then also don’t showing summer dormancy, was extremely difficult, though again, Ancient Elf and Solaris Symmetry show these traits with Solaris Symmetry being very good for all these traits. You might find any one of these traits on a given plant, but it is very hard to find them combined. Just buying plants registered ‘dormant’ or bred in the far north is no guarantee of finding plants with all these traits (or any of them). As with the clump style that doesn’t die-out over time and require “refreshing”, most people probably aren’t even aware of all these traits to even be selecting for them. The extreme winter weather of the far north make it difficult to select for some of these traits, as everything goes into “dormancy” and stays that way in such climates through most winters. Without the extreme freeze/thaw cycles that I see in my location, observing some of these traits would be very difficult, so no one can be blamed for not selecting for traits if they can’t observe them. A further surprise is that you will occasionally find some of these traits on plants that are not dormant. For instance, some few evergreen or semi-evergreen plants I have grown show exceptional freeze tolerance to late spring freezes, while some few other evergreen/semi-evergreens do not start to grow during every warm spell and wait until fairly late in the spring to start growing. 

Another trait that has been difficult to locate and requires patience to identify is the trait I have mentioned of plants that can grow for a long time without division and that don’t die-out in the center or diminish, but that also increase so that division is not just possible, but productive. My experience of the trait over the decades is that it takes at least five years to determine if a plant has this growth habit. In three or four years, some plants will have self-eliminated, but you need to go to at least the fifth year and it doesn’t hurt to observe a clump for a decade or so. Slow work, but very rewarding when you find such a plant! The trait is as rare in both diploids and tetraploids as thrips resistance, probably because it hasn’t been recognized to be selected for (or no one cared to select for it because it requires patient observation over a long period of time…and isn’t about the flower).

My test matings over the last many years now show me that all of these traits that I have mentioned here are heritable and can be selected for in a breeding program. Finding such plants to start with is very difficult though. My experience is that most daylily breeders find questions about these traits to be frustrating, as they are often unfamiliar with them. It can be hard to describe these traits to someone who hasn’t noticed them on their own. I have spent the last decade or more just developing the terminology I use to describe them, and that has often emerged by trial and error through discussing these trait with other daylily people while hunting for such plants. In my experience, daylily breeders can tell you a great deal about how the flowers of their cultivars look, maybe some information about the performance of their plants under their conditions, and that will usually be limited to registered foliage type, scape details, bud count and other very obvious traits. I have been told multiple times by many daylily breeders, when requesting information about these traits in preparation to buy plants, that these traits that I am looking for “don’t matter”, that “only the flower really matters” and/or that “no one will ever care about such traits”. Few hybridizers allow clumps to stay in place for long periods of time to know how a clump may do long term, though a few do. Most in the north don’t know any details on rust resistance and many will react defensively or negatively if you ask about it. Most in the south spray for rust. Data about thrip resistance is hard to get because so many people spray their gardens or ignore the damage the thrips cause. Most programs are fairly high input, even when breeders say they “don’t pamper their plants”, so details about how they do under adversity is usually not available. My experience is that I would obtain eight to twelve cultivars and, if I was very lucky, one or maybe two would turn out to be use able. One remedy I found was to just focus on people’s older introductions that were not as expensive, or that I could obtain from secondary sellers, so that I could look at as many individual cultivars as possible and so have a better chance of finding one or two plants with some of the traits I was looking for. The process was frustrating, but I knew that once I was past the first ten years of my program, I would have found enough plants for a program, even if that was only a tiny number of individuals and wouldn’t need to continue to trial new plants from other programs, unless I just wanted to. I wasn’t looking at that initial investment as something I “had to recoup”, but just the price of admission. And really, the few that gave me the traits I was looking for have been invaluable.
5. How many seedlings do you grow each year?

That has varied. The first year I produced significant seeds was in 2011, when I produced about 10,000 seeds. The next year, in 2012, I produced about 20,000 seeds. In 2013 I produced about 50,000 seeds. 2014 I produced about 100,000 seeds. 2015 and 2016 were quite out of control, with the largest seed productions I have ever made. 2015 saw about 250,000 seeds and 2016 saw at least double that amount, somewhere in excess of 500,000 seeds. 2016 marked the end of the first five-year period of my program. I began to move to the next phase in 2017, and a key to that phase was to reduce the workload, and so I produced about 50,000 seeds that year, and then in 2018, I again reduced the number of seeds to about 20,000. I am now moving down to 10,000 seeds per year or less, and that is the range I hope to stay in for the foreseeable future. There may come a year in the future when I choose to make a larger number of seeds for some specific reason, but for now, I feel that I can make significant progress in my program with the small and manageable number of around 10,000 seeds each year. In the longterm, I am hoping that by the time I am near or past the twentieth year of my program I can go down to producing just a couple or so thousand seeds per year. 

6. What are some of your favorite daylily introductions from others?

Well, Hemerocallis fulva ‘Korean’ is just lightening in a bottle, in my opinion - pure magic! For my work, it is the most important of the species clones. H. f. ‘Hankow’ is a close second, and its magic is the very late season it flowers in, on top of its great plant traits. H. vespertina is the best of the yellow species in my opinion. I realize these aren’t hybrid introductions, maybe introductions from Mother Nature, but they are important to me and my program, and so I have to mention them, especially the two fulva clones. H. fulva ‘Korean’ has turned out to be one of the most resistant daylilies to rust I have grown and tested, and to have extremely high breeding value for rust resistance. H. fulva ‘Hankow’ is also very resistant to rust with breeding value. H. vespertina have shown extremely high rust resistance and breeding value (though I have not had any success in producing viable seeds from taking H. vespertina to tetraploids).
Implausability (Nick Chase)
Implausibility, bred by Nick Chase, which is H. fulva ‘Europa’ x Ed Murray. Fertile with tetraploids and a nice, bright red with a massive plant and tall scapes, it has contributed greatly to my program. The plant doesn’t produce much rhizomatous growth in my garden and the clump doesn’t crowd-out in the center over several years of growth. It can make a very large and attractive clump, though it has less thrip resistance than I like.
Notify Ground Crew (Curt Hanson)
Notify Ground Crew from Curt Hanson, which has Tetrina and thus H. citrina genetics in its ancestry, as well as the tetraploid conversion of Purity (Traub - 1949). Curt Hanson’s program has been a big influence on my work and several of his plants are also part of my program, though none hold quite the level of prominence that Notify Ground Crew does for my work, though Women Seeking Men is close. Notify Ground Crew is highly fertile both ways and has made major contributions to my program. The plant itself is exceptional and the original clump in my hybridizing garden was finally divided this year at eight years, was still intact with only minor die-out in the center of the clump and was still blooming normally. Notify Ground Crew also shows quite good thrips resistance.
Ancient Elf (Jamie Gossard)

Ancient Elf by Jamie Gossard, which is made from a cross of the tetraploid conversion of Itsy Bitsy Spider x the tetraploid conversion of Nutmeg Elf, both of which are close to various yellow daylily species. I consider this cross a stroke of genius, with Ancient Elf the best of its all siblings. Ancient Elf has been extremely important in my work. It is extremely fertile and extremely rust resistant, and the plant itself grows well, increases well and doesn’t show serious die-out in the center of the clump or decrease in flowering after five years + of growth in a clump. However, it only shows moderate thrips resistance.
Substantial Evidence (Richard Norris) Photo by Jacob Henry
Substantial Evidence by Richard Norris is a favorite, and probably my favorite flower form. In growing it I learned that it has high rust resistance and breeding value for the trait. It is because of Substantial Evidence that I did any work with diploids, but my goal was always to work with it at the tetraploid level. I knew it would eventually be converted, and I am now working with those genes at the tetraploid level. I also really like the tetraploid conversion of Siloam Medallion, which shows moderate rust and thrips resistance and is fertile both ways for me, and I love Butter Cream, which I feel is the best of the tetra Siloam Medallion descendants that have been introduced. I have been working with these two as a complimentary line for Substantial Evidence at the tetraploid level.
Solaris Symmetry (Nate Bremer)
Solaris Symmetry from Nate Bremer is probably the best all-around modern fancy tetraploid I have ever grown, and one of the best daylilies in general. While its rust resistance is lower than I prefer, it is actually a superior plant to any of the species/near species base plants I have mentioned above, plus the very clean, clear flower coloring. The flower is a lovely near-white with a bluish-launder eye and narrow edge, narrow petals and a very green throat. The flower is very pretty. In terms of the plant, it is actually the best daylily plant I know of and it breeds those traits. I planted a two fan division in the spring of 2011. I bred from it that year, the very first year of my own hybridizing. It is one of those rare and exceptional plants that can make a permanent planting that doesn’t “crowd-out” at all, diminish, or decrease flowering over many years without division. The foliage is attractive, deep green and is what most people would call “hard dormant”. That is, it looses all leaves in the winter and forms a bud underground that doesn’t emerge until fairly late in the spring, and even then shows extremely high resistance to late spring freezes. The scape is tall, strong and well-branched and it has a good bud count, with the flowers well spaced. It is pod and pollen fertile, though it takes a couple of years to show reliable pod fertility. The pollen is strong. The flower shows extremely high thrips resistance, especially for an early-early flowering cultivar in my garden, and it passes this trait very well to many of its seedlings. There is instant rebloom and in most years there is some late summer/early fall rebloom. The instant rebloom scapes tend to be the most pod fertile for me. The rust resistance is only moderate, but it has breeding value for rust resistance and produces a higher percentage of resistant seedlings when crossed with resistant cultivars than most moderately resistant cultivars I have tested. The only flaws, for me, is that the rust resistance is lower than I prefer to see and the pod fertility is lower than I prefer. However, the many other exceptional traits, and the extremely exceptional combination of so many desirable traits into one plant, makes it a real standout, and something above and beyond almost every other tetraploid hybrid cultivar I have tested for potential breeding use. I truly consider it to be extraordinary, and that is stated with over forty-years of growing and experience with over two-thousand cultivars and species of daylilies.
Alien DNA (Robert Selman)
Alien DNA by Robert Selman is a very good plant that I love. I love the whole family of cultivars that Bob has developed from Alien DNA. Of all those offspring Alien Galaxy is my favorite. Alien DNA is a truly remarkable plant and a gorgeous flower. The dormant and hardy plant shows high rust resistance and the exotic flower shows high thrips resistance. It shows breeding value for both of those traits.
Thumbthing Special (Robert Selman)
Thumbthing Special by Robert Selman is the best yellow tooth/fringe edged pink flower I have grown. It is a strong plant with an excellent flower. The plant shows moderately high rust resistance and thrips resistance, and shows breeding value for both traits.
Redneck Red (John Rice)
Redneck Red, from John and Annette Rice, is a huge plant with tall scapes and is very rust resistant. Other favorites from John and Annette are How Lovely You Are with moderate rust resistance and a stunning round clear pink flower on a white base, Best For Last, which is a lovely lavender with heavily ruffled yellow edge in the late to very late season, Stella Kane, which is a late season bright pink with lovely yellow to white teeth, and Rouen Cathedral, which is a light pink with fringy/toothy edge and is a very late bloomer.
Women Seeking Men (Curt Hanson) Picture by Elaine Seifert
Women Seeking Men is a wonderful plant and is my second most used breeder from Curt Hanson’s program (Notify Ground Crew is the most used). The plant is magnificent, making a large clump and producing those amazing scapes with the oak-tree branching that just makes me smile every time I see it. The flower is large and always looks good. Pod fertile and easy to use, I have produced gorgeous seedlings from it. With moderately high rust resistance and good thrips resistance, the only flaw is that in my conditions it is not a fast increaser, though it is a moderate increaser. My oldest clump is now five years old and hasn’t die-out in the center or diminished. I love Curt’s sculptural pleated introductions and I have used several of them. Another favorite from Curt’s program is Crisis Management, which is a seedling of Bill Fall, but is a massive improvement over its wonderfully colored parent in terms of the plant (foliage appearance and scape), and it still has that wonderful red coloring. Just like Bill Fall, Crisis Management is also very rust resistant, is fertile for me both ways and shows good resistance to thrips.
Vision Seeker (Mike Derrow) Photo by Paul K. Lewis
Vision Seeker, By Mike Derrow, is a favorite. I haven’t grown it for a long time, but it has shown extremely good thrips resistance with a vigorous plant and gorgeous scapes with wonderful branching. Carl Caught It is a stunning purple by Mike on tall, well-branched scapes that are just eye-popping in the garden. I have not tested either of them for rust resistance, as they were brought in after I had completed my five-year base plant rust resistance testing, but they have been impressive plants so far and have shown excellent thrips resistance. Vision Seeker was the only eye/edge pollen I used in the 2019 breeding season.
Navajo Princess (Ra Hansen) Photo by Elaine Seifert
My love of both big green throats and triangular eyes goes back to Navajo Princess. Janice Brown, the pollen parent of Navajo Princess is another favorite with a striking green throat, as well. Navajo Princess can be a bit tender here, especially in harsh winters, and it is fairly susceptible to rust. Janice Brown is a registered semi-evergreen, but behaves as a “hard dormant” here, loosing all its leaves and forming a resting bud that is very late to emerge in the spring. Janice Brown also shows high rust resistance. Navajo Princess can breed rust resistant seedlings, so I suspect it carries some recessive rust resistance genes from Janice Brown. While Navajo Princess will die-out in the center after a few years and needs to be refreshed, Janice Brown grows extremely well for a long time without any die-out or diminishment, or reduction in flowering. I have grown both for many years. Janice Brown is one of the cultivars that helped me to realize that there are daylilies that can grow without problems or division for long periods of time. It also survived under heavy weeds and even bamboo. I have also grown the tetraploid conversions of both Navajo Princess and Janice Brown. Tetra Navajo Princess diminished its first winter here, but I did get a few flowers the next spring and was able to pollinate several flowers of my best Ancient Elf x Solaris Symmetry seedlings. I lost tet. Navajo Princess the next winter, but the seeds I produced with its pollen were good and I saw the first seedlings from that cross flower in 2019. The tetra  Janice Brown conversion is a strong plant, as strong as the diploid original, and I have used it in breeding a good deal.

Mystical Rainbow (Pat Stamile) Photo by Theresa Roth
Another favorite is Mystical Rainbow, which also descends from tetra Janice Brown, which is the pod grandfather of Mystical Rainbow. The plant behavior of Mystical Rainbow is very similar to Janice Brown, and the petal color and throat are rather similar as well, with the addition of the frequently patterned eye. Mystical Rainbow is the pod parent of Solaris Symmetry, which also has the Janice Brown plant traits and green throat, though with Solaris Symmetry, the plant is even better than any of its family. Another important cultivar in my program is Pacific Rainbow from Nate Bremer, which has Mystical Rainbow as pod parent. The flower is very similar to Mystical Rainbow, but the scapes are much taller and more well-branched, and again the same fine plant traits seen in the family line. Finally, Beach Party Pedicure by Susan Gold is currently my favorite patterned cultivar, and also has Mystical Rainbow as the pod parent. It shows the green throat of the family line and the plant has been good so far, though I haven’t grown it long enough to have any longterm data on it. One thing I have learned over many years of breeding and research is that when you locate a good family line, you should fully exploit it.
Malachite Prism (Doorakian) Photo by Elaine Seifert
In line with the green throats, Malachite Prism, Emerald Starburst and Rose F. Kennedy all have been of interest to me. I have the suspicion that these all have some level of descent from the Janice Brown family line, in one way of another. RFK was introduced in 2007, the year before I started looking into daylilies to develop my program. I knew I wanted that big, green throat in my program at the tet level, and that I could focus on green throats from other tetraploids to lay the groundwork for bringing it over my own seedlings when its conversion or seedlings of its conversion became available to me. I did grow the diploid version of Rose F. Kennedy, but I have not grown the diploid version of Malachite Prism, only the tetraploid conversion. I have not grown Emerald Starburst, but I have used the pollen of its tetraploid conversion. I found diploid RFK to be a mixed bag. A plant with very high rust resistance and breeding value for that trait, but with poor thrips resistance and little breeding value for thrips resistance. The plant itself was a non-increaser here. After four years, the original two fans were still two fans. Some of its seedlings showed better increase, but some didn’t. I gave the diploid away in 2018, but I do have some nice seedlings from it at the dip level with its good traits plus improvements over its lesser traits. The tetraploid conversion of Malachite Prism grows well, increases and is fertile. The rust resistance is moderately high, while the thrip resistance is moderate to low. It is better on the rebloom scapes, as thrips are less a problem in the mid to late season here. I should see the first seedlings flower from tetra Malachite Prism in 2020. I was given a small amount of pollen from tetra RFK several years back and have one excellent, vigorous and highly rust resistant seedling from that pollen. I am now working with several introduced seedlings from tetra RFK. I will see the first seedlings from them begin to flower in 2020. 

Brian Reeder Insider Trading (Buntyn) line outs
There are so many other cultivars that I like, a lot I even love, but these are some of my very favorites and some of the most important plants in the formation of my breeding program. I couldn’t even begin to list all the cultivars I like, and this list is probably longer than it needs to be already, so I will leave off here. 

7. What are some of your favorite daylilies that you've introduced?

Of all those I have introduced so far, The Spice Must Flow is my favorite. I only introduce daylilies that I think are exceptional. Now that might be in various ways. They can’t all be equal and they can’t all match the full Ideal, at least not yet, but they all have to have something extraordinary. One of the major points, of course, is extraordinary plants, so some of my previous introductions are exceptional plants, then some are exceptional because of their very high rust resistance or resistance to thrips. A few are introduced based upon their exceptional flower traits, but they also have to have at least one exceptional plant trait in conjunction to the flower, so even those that are introduced mainly for the flower have something going on beyond that. Two good examples of my introductions that they major factor is the flower are Lavender Feathers and Wabi Sabi, but both also have extremely high rust resistance and breeding value for rust resistance. Phoenician Royalty doesn’t have the extremely high rust resistance, rating moderately high at B level rating, but has an amazing, huge plant, very tall scapes, and a large, regal purple flower with high thrips resistance. Vorlon Encounter Suit has an extremely fine plant that flourishes and looks gorgeous in the garden throughout the growing season, and have a beautiful flower, but only moderate rust resistance. None of my high rust or high thrip resistant introductions have a flower I don’t love. I simply won’t introduce a daylily that doesn’t have a flower I don’t like, no matter how good the other qualities might be, but I will introduce a gorgeous flower or very fine plant, or one with very high thrips resistance, if the rust resistance is only moderate, especially on dormant  plants where the rust resistance will not be as important to cold-winter, northern growers. So, anyhow, back to the actual question…
The Spice Must Flow (Brian Reeder)
The Spice Must Flow is in many ways the template for my vision of the ideal plant. It is one of my favorite plants I have produced to date, and is the largest plant I have ever grown, either other people’s introductions or my own seedlings. Some of its seedlings though are proving to be in the same size range. The scapes are very tall and hold up wonderfully. I hope to increase branching from the four or so it has to six or more in future generations, but that is refinement work, and the scapes on Spice are good, as is. I love the flower on Spice, as it is really striking in person, though it is hard to photograph. The flower is very velvety, and is layered colors that don’t appear brownish in person, but is orange background layered in purple with a very dark eye and green throat. I love Spice and still breed from it heavily every year, and probably will for years to come, which means it is always in low availability and will likely remain so for a long time to come, even though it increases very well. The clump can get really huge, doesn’t die-out in the center and can be composed of dozens of large fans while still producing new fans with the clump getting bigger and bigger every year. The seedlings to date have been amazing, large with tall, strong scapes and in a range of colors and forms. I have seen some lovely light to medium pink as well as purple seedlings form The Spice Must Flow. I am excited every year to see the new seedlings from Spice. The rust resistance of Spice is moderate, with high thrips resistance, but I have produced very rust resistance seedlings from Spice, and it combines a remarkably high number of my desired traits, which gets it near to my “Ideals”.
Substantial Princess (Brian Reeder)
Among my diploid introductions, my favorites, so far, are probably two of my 2020 introduction, Substantial Princess and Feathered Dragon. Substantial Princess, a seedling produced in the 2011 breeding season from Navajo Princess x Substantial Evidence. It is amazing. First, the flower is just WOW! with the look of Navajo Princess and the form of Substantial Evidence. The plant is the “hard dormant” type with very strong late spring freeze resistance and extremely high rust resistance. The foliage is a dark attractive green. The plant reblooms really well here, both instant and later summer rebloom. The scapes, buds and flowers show very strong thrips resistance, and the plant is very fertile both ways. It is the best of both parents and combines a remarkably high number of my target traits into one plants, which takes it into the range of “Ideals”. Feathered Dragon is a big step forward in my unusual form purples, combining extremely fine plant traits with the gorgeous crispate, pinched UF flower form and coloring, and offering very consistent expression of cristations, as well. The branches and bud counts are really great. I think Feathered Dragon will be a very useful breeder for many years to come and is a big leap forward in very advanced daylily flowers in combination with advanced plant traits and extreme rust resistance. I have produced some stunning seedlings from Feathered Dragon and am still breeding from it.
Temple of Bacchus (Brian Reeder)
I think that Temple Of Bacchus is an important plant, being an F1 cross with h. citrina and the tetraploid cultivar Papa Smurf. I don’t know the ploidy of Temple, but it has bred for me very easily with both dips and tets. If I had to guess, I would say it is a triploid. I think it has a lot to offer both diploid and tetraploid breeders, but especially tetraploid breeders, where its H. citrina genetics bring in a whole new dose of species genes, but in combination with an extremely well-colored, advanced, clean blue-purple. The high fertility is such a benefit, allowing Temple to be taken in a lot of directions. I have seen some amazing seedlings from Temple. In summer 2019 I was extremely excited to see my first seedlings from tetra Frans Hals x Temple of Bacchus. They looked like some of Stout’s early work, but in electric colors, mostly bicolors, some on a near-white base and others on an electric yellow base. I have also taken Temple into the tetra Substantial Evidence lines that I am working with to very nice effect.
Mount Doom (Brian Reeder)
Both Mount Doom and Ziggy Played Guitar are favorites, and they have both been very popular. Vorlon Revelation is an amazing plant in person, even more stunning than in pictures. While they may seem simple, my small reblooming types like Substantial Substance and Substantial Glow are really much more than a picture might reveal, showing advances in the flower for the small reblooming diploid types along with extremely high rust resistance. There are some very good plants in the new 2020 intros. One that I especially love, both for what it is and for its incredible breeding ability is Impressionist At Heart. Barbie’s Dream Flower has been a favorite flower of mine since its first bloom. I could wax poetic about all my introduction, but I would recommend if anyone wants to know more about any of my introductions that they look at my website ( ) where I have all my introductions listed and if you click on the name of any of my intros you will be taken to an information page where I have a lot of information about each introduction and tend to wax poetic and be long-winded, as if I am introducing a daylily, I have thought a lot about it and have a lot of data to convey and a lot of thoughts to share about it.

Ziggy Played Guitar (Brian Reeder)
8.What are some of your fondest memories involved with daylilies?

I have a lot of good memories involving daylilies from childhood. I remember the excitement of getting those big wooden boxes of daylilies in the mail from G. H. Wild and Son and how amazing it was to see those big divisions, dried and cut back hard, and they only shipped in late summer. I remember planting those plants with my mom, aunt and grandma. I remember the excitement of my aunt buying a one gallon potted Stella De Oro from a local nursery for my birthday back when Stella was a really big deal in the 1980s. I also have some cherished memories that I have made more recently during my breeding program. Seeing things that I had visualized unfold is always magical. The growth of the first scape and then the first flower on The Spice Must Flow was one of those moments where you are lifted out of time. The first flowers on rows and rows of seedlings from Ancient Elf x Solaris Symmetry was amazing and is something I will never forget, as it was the moment I knew I was going to be able to achieve the program I wanted. The results of backcrossing hybrid cultivars to H. f. ‘Korean’ blew my mind, because they come out much better, much fancier and more advanced, that I had expected. When the first of those seedlings bloomed, I was really amazed and excited. The results of many crosses of Substantial Evidence were amazing when they first flowered. A good example was when I saw the first seedlings flower from the cross of Navajo Princess and Substantial Evidence. Observing row after row of wildly rusty seedlings, then finding one here and there, surrounded by rusty plants that was clean was always outstanding. Even more so was to find a high percentage of non-effected seedlings or even and entire row, when they are completely surrounded by heavily rust-covered seedlings. Finding smooth, clear buds and flowers without spots on a plant when everything surrounding it is covered in enations and damaged flowers from thrips is always an outstanding event. The fond memories from childhood all center on good times with my family, while the fond memories made during my breeding program all center on the revelations of what was possible, finding exceptional plants for any number of traits, and seeing things emerge in reality that had just been a picture in my mind’s eye.

Now here are some more of Brian Reeder's lovely intros:
Barbie's Dream Flower (Brian Reeder)
Phoenician Royalty (Brian Reeder)
Feathered Dragon (Brian Reeder)
Elizabethan Fantasia (Brian Reeder)
The Spice Must Flow (Brian Reeder) Clump shot
The Spice Must Flow (Brian Reeder) clump shot
And now here's some of Brian's seedlings:

    2019 Seedling (Me and My Charms X Women Seeking Men)

              2019 Seedling (Stella Kane X Thumbthing Special)

                 2019 Seedling (Thingamabob X Alien Whisper)

2019 Seedling [(Gram's Dream X Arctic Snow) X (Sherry Lane Carr X Tet. Substantial Evidence)]

    2019 Seedling [Divergent X (Gram's Dream X Arctic Snow)]

                     2018 Seedling (Notify Ground Crew X GW)

2019 Seedling's Scape [Women Seeking Men X (Ancient Elf X Solaris Symmetry)]

Pacific Rainbow (Bremer) clump in Brian's yard
I'd like to thank Brian Reeder for taking the time to do this wonderful interview filled with information.  Brian also did an article for The Daylily Journal this issue, which is also filled with great information.  In order to get The Daylily Journal, you must be a member of the American Daylily Society. Not sure who our next interview will be, so I will probably do a couple segments on various types of daylilies.  Thanks for stopping in.

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