Barrie is located 90 kilometers north of Toronto, Canada and we are in zone 5. You can see from my winter garden shots that the area is in a snow belt that blows in off Georgian Bay. The one saving grace is the normal 3 feet of snow cover for the daylilies.
I have been actively hybridizing for 12 years; and this year I am just beginning to see the results of initial goals that I had imagined 4 years ago. I had some very beautiful pink blooms (Showmetheprize, Too Cool for You and Pink is Good), which I believe are strong additions for my in-line pink program.
I had a few surprises such as "Dappler Effect" (garden name), which is in the brown tones and has a speckling effect throughout the eye. "Biggie Size" was another breakthrough for me, a large 9" yellow flower with a bright red thin edge, but unfortunately a more muted red in the eye, which I'll try to improve.
I started to germinate my seedlings in a private greenhouse 2 years ago and the results have been pretty gratifying for my location here in the north. Not only do I have strong, healthy seedlings; but this growing season, I had 9 seedlings that bloomed within an 8-month period.
Last winter I purchased several daylilies from Abundant Daylilies through the on-line auction. My goal is to develop another break-though in patterned daylilies combining my own patterned seedlings (Accomplice to Change) with recent patterned introductions from the south. This is an area where there is much to be explored and involves many "bluish things" and I believe, unlimited potential for the weird and wacky. The flowering of my new southern plants began in early June here in Barrie. As a result I froze most of the pollen to use later on in July. This was my first real attempt at using frozen pollen and judging by my seed harvest was fairly successful.
After 12 years in this hobby, one thing I have discovered along with a lot of other hybridizers is "It's a numbers game". The more seedlings you grow the higher the tendency to develop that special daylily. Of course you need to be persistent on a new break-through, stay within your limits, give a lot of credit to good luck and have fun. Have you ever noticed that very occasionally one cross can give you a whole week of magic mornings, as all the sibs seem to be special too.
For the past four summers I have been selling off my unwanted seedlings to friends and locals and donating half the proceeds to Gilda's Club Cancer Centre. As I walk through the neighbourhood I see many good-looking daylilies, some perhaps I should have kept for more observation.
For 2014, my hybridizing goal is to maintain line-breeding with my latest seedlings while adding one or two new favourite introductions.
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