Daylily Addiction

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Monacan Trail~A Super Daylily

Jim Murphy's recent work in daylilies has been to create late and very late flowers, as well as tall and very tall plants. However, it is this plant, MONACAN TRAIL, an introduction from 2005 that I have decided to place in a "Super" category. There are several reasons, but the primary one is its bloom season. It started blooming on June 27th, and is still blooming today, September 9th! It is entering its twelfth week of bloom, and even STELLA DE ORO, the famous rebloomer, is absent blooms at times during the season. To me MONACAN TRAIL has a bloom season that could be described as early-early, early, early-mid, mid, mid-late, late and very late! Some icing on the cake: every bloom has been perfect (the photo shows a sample of several), and the scapes are tall and erect. This flower would seem to be a prime candidate for a hybridizing program.

Flying Jewels~Opus Two

Adult male hummers have a brilliant red throat and black chin. Sometimes it's difficult to tell the sex of our fall visitors, but juvenile males often begin to show red spotting on the throat by early fall. If you look closely, you can see a small red spot at the base of the throat of this male who is very interested in a Cleome blossom. While we like to think Momma visits us each year with a new brood of young 'uns, there's no guarantee it's the same mother each year. She and her young make a ridiculously long and hazardous round trip to Central America, and she may not survive the trip. However, her offspring will return as adults as they have imprinted this location in their memory bank.

Flying Jewels

Each Fall these "Flying Jewels"...Ruby throated Hummingbirds..stop and visit with us for a few weeks. Since adult males travel separately from the females and fly south earlier, our guests are usually mothers with offspring. Hummers are insectivores, but also drink lots of nectar from various flowers and from feeders put out by us humans. They will also drink tree sap after woodpeckers have drilled holes in the trees.

Their amazing acrobatics and super rapid flight can keep us mesmerized for hours. Truly nature's miniature marvels!

Monday, June 19, 2006

George's Latest and Greatest UF

As I indicated a while back, George Rasmussen began to develop unusual forms a few years ago. While KING GEORGE and TIGER SWIRL occasionally display some unusual form traits, they are basically large open forms. KING'S GOLDEN TREASURE, his first UF, came along in '04 and was a smash success. Last year George introduced KING'S SPECTRUM, a true unusual form, and a spectacular one at that. Sitting on 36 inch scapes are 9 inch blooms that are gold with a red chevron and green throat. It's a semi evergreen Tet and can be described as a crispate/cascade unusual form. Will there be more wondrous things in the future?

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

George Rasmussen's Entry Into Unusual Forms

Within recent years George's hybridizing program has brought him into the world of Unusual Forms. For many years he had been producing full form flowers, some as large as 7 inches, such as KING GEORGE and TIGER SWIRL. Some were solid colors, many had eyes, and there were even a few doubles. In 2004 George introduced KING'S GOLDEN TREASURE, a flower which by many standards is a landmark. Unusual forms come and go, and there are surely hundreds or worthy flowers out there, but KGT is truly special. It is a lovely gold self, a semi-evergreen tet that stands on 36 inch scapes. I would call it a crispate-cascade unusual form. Its most impressive feature is its size, reaching at least 10 inches in many gardens in the Northeast, and growing to close to 12 inches in some gardens! This is a plant that just has to be here in Brookside Gardens. George should be proud of this fantastic achievement in daylilydom!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

George Rasmussen-A Treasured Northern Hybridizer

We hear of national treasures quite frequently. Here in the great Northeast we count George Rasmussen as one of our treasures. While George's output of daylilies does not come close to some of the "big names" in daylilydom, his flowers are memorable in many ways. He started off over thirty years ago with diploids, but soon changed over to tetraploids. Whether they be dips or tets, all of George's plants are winners. Two of my favorites are pictured here. There is a span of close to thirty years between the two of them. ISLAND DELIGHT('74) is described as a rose-pink self with a tangerine throat. I call it HOT! This flower simmers and glows in the garden. I maintain a large clump here at all times. The other flower is TIGER SWIRL('01) and comes out of his KING GEORGE line. At about 7 inches, it's a lovely gold with red eye, and sometimes has unusual form traits. I have seen it quilled in some gardens. Both of these plants are tets, and as with most of George's chillun' they increase and are exceedingly hardy into zones 5 and 6. While he has produced mostly full formed daylilies and a few doubles over the years, George has moved into the realm of the unusual form with spectacular results. More about the Renaissance of unusual forms from the Rasmussen breeding program in future blogs.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Selma Longlegs-An Unusual Form That Isn't

SELMA LONGLEGS is one daylily that we would not do without here at Brookside Gardens. Heather Herrington introduced this lovely plant in 1988. A dormant diploid with 9" blooms on 34 inch scapes, its light tangerine color, brushed with cinnamon is a knockout. It's easy to see that by today's standards it would easily be classified as an unusual form, with both cascade and crispate qualities. Part of its charm is that no two blooms are exactly alike, and they frequently are asymmetrical. It is pollen fertile.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Northern Goshawk

We were treated early this year to an up close and personal view of a Northern Goshawk. It is one of the three accipiters of North America, and usually spends most of its time to the far north, even into the great Boreal Forest. Occasionally Goshawks travel south in the winter. These are usually immature birds in an irruptive migration, quite similar to the Snowy Owls that leave the arctic and spend the winter at our beaches along the Atlantic shore. Accipiters are woodland hawks with relatively long tails and short, rounded wings, giving them great agility in their rapid hunting flights through heavily wooded areas. The Sharp-shinned Hawk, Cooper's Hawk and Northern Goshawk prey mainly on songbirds, although the Goshawk will go after mammals as large as hares. The Goshawk, the largest of the three accipiters, is between 21 and 26 inches tall, with a wingspan of 40 to 46 inches. Make no mistake, this is a very large impressive bird. Our visitor this February and March was still wearing immature plumage, although its eyes had turned to the adult red color. We were lucky to have such a magnificent creature living so close to us if only for a short time.

Clover's Creations-Take Two

My favorite Clover creation is MEHTA. It is not a spider or unusual form, nor a polytepal... merely a very lovely, ethereal flower. It carries 8-inch pale lavender blooms on 42-inch scapes, and is a semi-evergreen diploid. All of Clover's introductions have been diploids, by the way. The parentage is [CERULEAN STAR X(JULIA'S CHOICE X GIVE ME EIGHT)]. It will be interesting to see if my crosses of LEE REINKE X MEHTA will produce any polytepals. In any event MEHTA continues to be one of the outstanding flowers here at Brookside Gardens.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Clover's Creations

MUDRA, pictured at the left, is one of a number of very interesting daylilies hybridized by Anna Clover of Arkansas. It is a 90-100% polytepalous form, and usually has 5 petals and 5 sepals. Clover(as she prefers to be called) has produced a lovely mix of spiders, unusual forms and polytepals. All carry Sanskrit names. One advantage of this according to Clover is that she rarely has a name denied when registering a plant! All of her flowers are exceedingly hardy and should grow well into zones 5 and 6. More about others of Clover's introductions in future blogs.

Phlox Bright Eyes

A wonderful companion plant is Phlox paniculata 'Bright Eyes'. It is about 24 inches tall and has pink flowers with a dark rose eye. It blooms from early summer into the fall and is mildew free. Just above is 'Bright Eyes' backed up by Rudbeckia triloba, a late bloomer which is also an excellent companion plant for daylilies. At the very top we see a visitor, a Northern Bumble Bee which has decided to take a nap in one of the blossoms.