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.
For the past 13 years of hybridizing and growing daylilies, I have progressed from a small corner of my home garden to my entire available land and have extended my "wants and needs" even further to include 6 large seedling beds on my daughter's property.
I now successfully germinate (95%) and grow my approximate 900 seedlings in a private greenhouse starting about 2 1/2 months prior to planting outdoors in May. Initially I started off germinating the seeds at my house in early December and then transplanted the small seedlings into forestry flats about the end of February at the greenhouse. I've since discovered by planting additional seeds directly at the same time, the later ones seemed to catch-up and the early home germinating was un-necessary.
An additional hybridizing goal established in 2012 was developing consistent, different patterned daylilies. To support my efforts I purchased patterned lilies on the auction and began supplementing my home-grown seeds with auction seed purchases.
Some of the crosses that bloomed for the first time this year that appear promising are: Get Jiggy x Supernatural, Butterfly Ripples x Ripples and Reflections and Seeking Attention x Echoes of Love. In all cases, the flowers reflected definite pattern breeding in their markings, and while many were not consistent with subsequent blooms, I was able to select enough to enhance my future pattern goals and stay within my hybridizing budget$$$.
Over the past 2 summers by trading plants with friends, borrowing pollen and again purchasing on the seed auction I have added exciting potential genes to my hybridizing pool with Heavens Applause, Tully Mars, Whales Tales, Tattoo, Guarding Gnomes, Rings of Wonder and The Fantastic Barbara Watts. Only time will tell!
After 13 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 five 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.
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