Sunday, March 24, 2013

Let me go! Turn me loose!

All this long winter I've been pondering the need to de-select daylily seedlings and give myself fewer opportunities or dead ends to think about when the pressure's on and the pollen is fluffy.  I shed about fifty of them in February on the Lily Auction and then the itch to simplify hit me again last night and I put this one up for bidding.

This is seedling 09-21 from Forestlake Ragamuffin x Belle of Ashwood.  When I look at this picture I see the form of Belle of Ashwood combined with the orange toothy edge from Forestlake Ragamuffin.  In fact, it has some edge properties from both parents, and the orange on the edge is intensified.  Unfortunately, I succeeded only in creating a more interesting face than I saw on either parent.  I failed to put this flower on a tall, well-branched scape, though it grows vigorously.

But as interesting as one might find this, I just don't want to find out where this might lead.  I'm not enthusiastic about the possibilities.  Yesterday I heard it sing to me, "Let me go, let me go, let me go, lover."  This morning it sang, "Turn me loose....I'm gonna get a thousand kicks and kiss a thousand chicks, so turn me loose!"  One confirmation of my disinterest in this is the plain fact that I've walked right past it and not grabbed the pollen in the last four seasons.

There's another one in the keeper bed that sings, "lover, come back to me!"

This is 10-74 from Desiree x Belle of Ashwood.  The flower is 5.5", the scape 35" tall.  It's dormant, a mid-season bloomer with 5 branches and 36 buds.  The halo around the throat suggests the potential for breeding a patterned blue eye, something I haven't tried with this one yet.

The color drew me to this one.  It reminds me of a color that might have been fashionable for women's evening wear or the boudoir back in the nightclubbing era of the late 1930s or early 1940s, which I must imagine, as I wasn't around to see these garments first-hand.  I don't mind the brassy edge on the petals, though I certainly would not want to see any more of it.  I would prefer to see a platinum edge or a white one on this color.

Hybridizing is a romantic chase.  Nobody wants to chase all the girls.  You just chase the one or the ones who work their way into your nature and say or do something irresistible.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

No Longer Winter...Not Yet Spring

You may ask, "what's so special about a Witch Hazel bush with dead leaves on it?"  I will sing the answer: "Tra-la!  It's alive!!"  We planted it last Spring during the freaky weather, the unseasonable heat and drought that tried to kill all the trees and shrubs we had just put in.  But we discovered "tree gators," the plastic circular reservoirs of water that release water around the base of the plant at the rate of about 15 gallons over about five hours.  We bought them toward the end of July after we saw them in use at the AHS National Convention in Ohio.

Shazam!  All the trees and shrubs went from nearly dead to vital and alive within two weeks.  

We planted this beautiful Witch Hazel to grow into a large color accent when there is virtually no other color on our landscape, placed it where we would see it every time we open the front door, placed it so the front door and stonework would make a "frame" for it.

In front of the stonework on either side of the door is our new daffodil garden, featuring the bold creations of our friend Dave Niswonger from Cape Girardeau.  Dave began hybridizing irises sixty years ago, then got into daffodils, and then got into daylilies.  In the next week or so we'll have some pictures to share on the blog.

We have an old-time tall, blue bearded iris clump in front of the garage.  This one made the move to Missouri from Vermont in 1996, and from University City over to our new place in St. Peters because its tall stems don't need staking.  What would March be without the surge of growth of a weed called Henbit?  There it is amidst the iris clump, and it's coming into flower, which means I've got to pull it right now or see a lot more of it next fall.

Finally, just down the walkway from the irises, the hardy pansies we put in last November are about to spring into active growth.  That daylily in the center of the picture is my red SAN PICKED ME.  It's dormant and it seems to be among the first daylilies to wake up and resume growth.  Sooner or later this bed will be lovingly groomed, but for now, in this time that is no longer winter and not yet spring, I'm waiting with the seasons.