Friday, December 21, 2012

Yuletide Work in the Daylily Database

Fierce winds and horizontal snow defined yesterday and gave what I hope is the promise of some real winter cold in the offing.  There's not even enough snow on the ground to hide the grass, but the wind chill is something else.  I want to see truly dead foliage on all the daylilies, no exceptions and no excuses.

I've begun the work of continuous running through of my photo-enriched database to try to come to grips with a game plan for the pollen-dabbing in the summer.  The down side of having too many keepers is that each one expects me to imagine a couple of smart crosses to improve the turkey, or latent babe, as the case may be.

Here's what my database screen looks like.  I built it with FilemakerPro a few years ago.  It has three places for pictures and two windows where I can write the pollens I want to bring to a daylily and the daylilies I want to take this one's pollen to.  This seedling 07-153 on some days is white with a blue eye, and the plant is Dormant, but not pod-fertile, so I'm about to erase the names of pollens I want to bring to this one.  I want to use this a lot, so I'm going to consider carefully the crosses that might yield tall, large flowers with clear backgrounds and blue patterned eyes.

This coming year has to be one of heavy purging after serious early evening evaluation.  I can become too easily encouraged by pictures I take before 8 am, before a day of sun has revealed flaws in substance and color.

I got a good handle on plant habit, rapidity of increase, and hardiness last March when I ventured to confirm the foliage classification of my whole collection as well as my keepers.  I need to do another check of plant vigor before the foliage is up in 2013 because everything has been in place undisturbed since May of 2011.  Anything that seemed a slacker last spring had better show better growth three months from now, or show cause why it should not receive a disposal flag.  Here's one I know I must discard:

It's one of several beautiful keepers from SHERRY LANE CARR X SASSY SALLY.  All the flowers in the cross are "melon blends" with quasi-oatmeal tones.  All have nice yellow ruffles, green throats, and plant vigor.  All are too short to care about, and none have the good scape I hoped would come from SHERRY LANE CARR.  I could make more crosses to try to improve these in the next generation, but I could do as well or better by starting over again with different parents.  In fact, I have much better yellows and blends from other crosses already made.  

This cross was an attempt to do better than either parent, but only the flowers of the kids are interesting.  Their presentation is a disappointment.  I've got to dig these keepers out and work on something else.

Now I'll show a few keepers I will keep working with.  This lovely flower is a result of using WYOMING WILDFIRE to correct the opening flaw of MAPLE HUES.  I did correct that flaw, and I got a dandy flower, but the scape is shorter than either parent and the flower is extremely reluctant to set a pod.

I'm going to take this pollen to my collection of orange flowers with red centers and edges.

Here's another I like, and will take here and there to see what will come of it.

This is the result of trying to improve a favorite seedling (BEST KEPT SECRET X ROSE IMPACT) by crossing it with GREAT WHITE.  My favorite seedling very often imparts its form, as it did here.  GREAT WHITE gave this seedling a well-branched scape.  But I want to see more height, and want to overcome this flower's habit of beginning to decay in mid-afternoon, and I want to see fewer flowers open at once.  I've got a nice keeper from attempting those reforms through a cross with SHANTIH.  Now I want to cross this one with some others and see if I can retain the clear rose pink coloration.

There are several things I do not want to work on, much less achieve.  Among them is an increase in the already Rococo look of attention-grabbing yellow edges on convoluted petal surfaces.  I know, I know, some people like that's well beyond the metaphor of "full-figured" and even "Overfull-figured."  Metaphors engaging the mind in memories of skin mag models and soft porn are avoidable, but not very, as we're conditioned to spicing our talk of flowers with words like "mighty," "husky," "feminine," and "voluptuous."  And, may I add, without a libido, where would we be?

So, these somewhat excessive flowers exist, and I am a garden judge, and my job is not to criticize the taste of such creations but to take them for what they are and find the ways to discern merit and demerit.

One other thing I am not working on is "fringe."  But this seedling came along a couple of years ago, and I saved it to see if I could make anything good happen with it.  I call it my "Shaggy Dog."

The cross is HEARTBEAT OF HEAVEN X ((BUTTER CREAM X VICTORIAN LACE) X J. T. DAVIS).  The pollen parent was a craggy-edged cream seedling with a big flower and lousy substance.  I knew I would have to compost it, but thought I'd see if anything good might come of it anyway.  The smoothly-ruffled edge of HEARTBEAT OF HEAVEN came though with rough, shaggy stuff in this mongrel.  The color is poor, the substance is poor, the scape is poor, and it won't set pods.  I believe the odds are against generating success from such a monster, but God gave it to me and I have to see what it will do.

I'm still a disciple of Oscie Whatley.  I like size, vibrant color, and a great healthy plant.  Unlike Oscie, I like patterns and want to fool with them.  But I can't fool with all of them in my keeper bed, so I'm going to have to cull and "add value by subtracting."  Wish me luck.

1 comment:

Subhana Ansari said...

oh, Michael, so many goals to pursue! flowers that open fully, scapes that are tall enough and adequately branched, an interesting form to the flower, either round or adequately unusual, clear color, I like to have an edge, though it doesn't have to be a half inch of "chicken fat" (three colors are nice!), pattern!, adequate size to the flower. It's asking a lot of a daylily! and please increase lots while you're doing it!