some seedlings carry a long list of names to show where or more properly what they have been. their parentage. while this seedling has a long enough list there are others with a far longer list. some daylily growers do like to keep track of their seedlings and parent histories as far back as they can manage. the cross of this seedling is 11-047 Highland Pinched Fingers x South Seas) x (Highland Pinched Fingers x Monster. and yes Highland Pinched Fingers is this cross twice. so much for details, let’s go to the picture where a picture can do what a thousand words sometimes cannot.
Daylilies are a plant with origins in Asia. There are about 21 different varieties of wild daylily plants in places like China and Korea. Most of them are in shades of yellow and orange. Most wild daylilies have two sets of chromosomes for a total of 22. One, Kwanso is triploid and has 33 chromosomes. This is the common roadside ditch lily and because of the odd number of chromosomes is mostly sterile. Yes the Jurassic Park quote is appropriate here. Modern daylilies come in just about every color, shape, and height. Many of them are still diploid – that is 22 chromosomes. Tetraploid daylilies were artificially created in 1959. Seeds were treated to double the chromosome count to 44. This has done with many plants, not just daylilies. It can produce improvements in the plants. Essentially you have twice as many genes influencing a plant trait. To use a human example you would have twice as many genes trying to make your eyes blue. They might even have a bluer color. The trade off at least in daylilies is that the extra chromosomes doubles the math. So if you have a couple of genes affecting different pigments now you have twice as many genes determining the results. Sometimes the combinations don’t make the results bluer. In fact the combinations can muddy the results. So now it can take twice as much work to find bluer. These days about 1 out of every 3 daylilies registered is a diploid. So bluer is not always better. Take two daylilies and put them side by side one tetraploid and the other diploid and most people would not be able to say which is which. It would take a microscope and some really good science to tell them apart.
For the records I like both equally, dips and tets. Now if you take away the names from these two no one would know that these three are anything except pretty. Here are two parents…
This is a seedling from these two parents. Can you tell if it is diploid or tetraploid ?
yellow and white mixed together make pink don’t they ? well this is daylilies not anything else. today’s cross is Walking the Pattern x Asterisk. if you poke around on Tinkers or the AHS databases you will see lavender and pink in the last couple of generations of Asterisk. We already know from yesterday what Walking the Pattern’s parents looks like. so here are the two parents ..
and this is one of the seedlings they produced
pinky and the brain have the night off. and they will not reveal their exploits in the morning. you will just have to tune in to the reruns to find out their story… So tonight we reconstruct part of a who done it mystery. a story of three daylilies if you will. perhaps i might even learn something more from this one. what is the process for picking parents daylilies ? how and what does one pick for qualities that drive the selection of potential parent plants. there are lots of formulas if you listen to experienced gardeners. some of them go like this – don’t put this color with that color, all you will get is mud. translation of ‘mud’ is yucky brownish color. sometimes i listen to advice. sometimes i don’t. sometimes i go with the lets just try it and see what happens. that would best describe the following cross. it involves Orchid Corsage ( known ) and a mystery plant that might or might not be Frans Hals (unknown). it falls into unknown because the plant came from what i have since determined an unreliable source. it was one of those deals that is basically too good to be true. one where you soon find out to expect disappointment. get five fantastic daylilies for a bargain price. sure. well none of those fantastic daylilies was supposed to be Frans Hals and none of them looked anything like Frans Hals. the others were mostly rude surprises too. so at that point i decided to try crossing something that looked like Frans Hals with Orchid Corsage. i am pretty sure you don’t really need a good reason for lets see what happens. so here are the two parents, Orchid Corsage is the purple and white one. unknown might be anything and looks a little like Frans Hals is the yellow and brown bi-tone.
insert obligatory drum roll while we build suspense here…. okay that is enough suspense. and this is the resulting offspring.
so this is the part where i see what happens. flower about the size of unknown ( much smaller than known). color plain old lemon yellow. flower shape basic open star kinda like unknown. flower movement shows slight hints and traces of known’s movement. plant height about the same as known. initial impressions of the seedlings from this lets see what happens seedling…… pretty interesting. Oh and the branching is pretty good too. not stunningly amazing, just pretty good. so what do i do in this situation ? well i like the flower, it is a pretty good garden plant, so my answer is register it. the name of this lets see what happens : Walking the Pattern. and that is tonight’s story of known, unknown, and learning. i am still learning to walk the pattern. and still learning several hundred other daylilies. sometimes learning is a good trying experience. good enough reason to go out into the garden every chance i get.
Since spring has decided not to take its role seriously there seems to be only one thing to do – that is besides the obvious indifference to the possibility of a Vogon intergalactic off ramp – resort to a mime-less discussion on plant genetics. First a couple guest lecturers pinky and the brain. Pinky has been here before and actually brain too, just in a totally uncredited role. Tonight they will revolutionize plant genetics. Or at least a suitably boring equivalent effort.
First a couple of unwilling and unwitting subjects for their relentless scientific assault. Pollen parent on the left Black Plush and pod parent on the right Trahlyta. Take a dab of pollen from one and dab it on the other.
Combine the two and let the seeds ripen in the hot sun and we get ….
A bright colored seedling that bares little resemblance to either parent. Except for the spidery skinny petals like Black Plush. …. tonight pinky we take over the garden hybridizing ! What is hybridizing brain ? Will we need a ladder and eye protection ? Quiet pinky – I am admiring this beauty…
now dust the snow off the calendar and relax before that dancing lands you on your backside ! for those of you in locations where it actually is warm and spring like thou art blessed. for those in locales where things are less than warm please hold on. the lion of March can only roar so long before the lamb bleats him at his own game.
This is an anonymous seedling from last summer doing the stage prompts, “please direct your attention to stage right where spring is almost nearly making a glorious entry and ignore stage left where winter is grudgingly moving off, possibly with the assistance of the theatrical hook.
PS – for those of you keeping score, that was the first pun of spring.
AHH AHH AHH ( Thanks Count ! ) This flower will take us into spring. Spring will be here on Wednesday, even if the temperature and the weather do not show it. This flower is as yellow as any tulip or daffodil. This is Strung Out a tall and shining nine inch yellow blossom. It is strong enough to shout spring over what ever the weather delivers.
So welcome spring ! And no more counting for a while !
This one will count the bloom before spring. Tomorrow’s flower will take us into spring. It was a what will this do cross several years ago. Not two plants I would have originally thought to mix. Kinda like mixing violets with sunflowers. Though in retrospect sometimes it is very good to experiment. The cross is Little Rainbow x Talon. A small yellow and pink star crossed with a dark wine twisty thing. So far I like the result and the directions its own seedlings are taking.
the gardener and apprentice are improving their average. this one also survived the pitfalls of being lost and unrecorded. from the cross of Smoke Scream and Cerulean Star comes multiple shaded of purple, trimmed with lines and edges of white with a pale green throat. Add a touch of twist, curl, pinch and dance and the picture is complete. A six inch bloom sitting on a 36 inch scape to grace the garden. 10-073 will have a name very soon.
Make it one more bloom until spring.
this one is making the cut too. it did not get lost in the whirlwind we call summer. i generally think of it as being a creamy white. though many mornings it starts off a pale yellow. the color changing trait is not really so rare. it just that most days we tend to think this trait is a fault. some days change is good. i certainly does not hurt this bloom. it is tall, the bloom is open and flowing and it might just be moving in the right direction genetically speaking for an even more open flowing seedling. we will see what the next few summers bring. for now this is 10-021 a cross of Knight Templar and Coburg Preview.
mark another celebration for the gardener and the apprentice. and make it two more blooms until spring. someone please remind the snowflakes that their reign is fleeting….