Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Going for the Gold

Daylilies have their own personalities or genetic traits.  They're bred or hybridized for specific things that are important to the person hybridizing.  OK, that all sounds pretty simple but it's not.

Most hybridizers have thousands, sometimes hundreds of thousands, of plants they are cross pollinating to get something special and new.  A huge percentage of these plants are thrown away and never make it to registration.  And then there's a plant that has what might be termed:  It has it all.

I have a bed of daylilies with their registered names pertaining to family members.  It's fun and every time I work with that lily, I think of that person.  I bought a daylily "Mary Todd" for my sister-in-law, Mary Gibson.  It was from Oakes Daylilies for $6.  OK, we now have two great things about the lily, it's has the right name and it's cheap.  Be still my beating heart.

"Mary Todd" had a simple description:  "Six inch bright yellow blooms with ruffles and frills.  22 inch scapes.  Blooms mid to late season.  Semi-evergreen.   Stout Silver Medal honors."  It sounded nice but the daylily world is full of bright yellow blooms and my expectations were for a nice lily but nothing to write an article about.

"Mary Todd" was hybridized by Fay in 1967 so it wasn't even one of the new crazy varieties with loads of special things to get our attention.  It was big and yellow.  My plant is five years old and this is what has happened:

It consistently has loads - I mean LOADS - of perfectly shaped bright yellow gold lilies that always open early, stay open late and look perfect every lily.  Some lilies are divas on how they produce their flowers.  Some must have perfect weather, conditions, years and prayers.  "Mary Todd" is not a diva; she is in for the long haul.

An example of the many buds.
In five years, the plant has expanded and is always healthy.  The buds don't drop and it sends up numerous scapes.  At the top of each scape, the plant produces up to fifteen flowers.  This means a long period of flowers blooming and lighting up the bed.

The honor of being awarded the "Stout Silver Metal" means it was the "Best of Breed" for a given year and is the American Hemerocallis' highest honor.  "Mary Todd" deserves this honor.

This plant is excellent for lighting up a garden spot.  "Mary Todd" is pretty much care free except it may not bloom the year it's planted.  Any daylily I buy in the fall is planted in a shady bed just to get it in someplace before winter.  Then in the spring I dig and put it where I want - when I can see the spacing better as plants are coming up.  I accidentally left a bit of "Mary Todd" in the shade area when I moved her to the family bed.  She is now blooming her bright little show in spite of the shade and has even expanded.

Enjoy the photos - she is one of those daylilies that begs for a picture every day while in bloom.

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