Bill's Daylily Corner

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Progress with the Conversion Effort

Hello Daylily Friends,

On Friday, January 23, 2009, I reported that I had treated a number of daylilies, and I said in my blog on that date, that I would periodically review the progress that was being made. Today is Wednesday, February 4, 2009, and this seems to be a good opportunity to review the progress. So, I took pictures of both daylilies. The first picture is of Seedling One, and the second picture is of Seedling Two. Seedling One was treated once a day for three consecutive days. This was basically an experiment to see what would happen with treatment being administered once a day. Seedling Two was an entirely different process.

Seedling Two did not absorb the Colchicine on the first day that it was treated, which was on Monday, January 19, 2009. So, on the morning of January 20, 2009, I removed all of the Colchicine that had been applied on January 19, I then again gently cut the plant using my pin knife, and I retreated the plant. Then, same thing happened again. That is, the plant did not accept the Colchicine that was applied on January 20, 2009. So, on January 21, I removed all of the Colchicine, I again gently cut the plant using my pin knife, and for the second time, I retreated the plant. Fortunately, on the morning of January 22, 2009, I could see that part of the Colchicine was absorbed by Seedling Two. This was encouraging. Even though there had been some absorbtion on January 21, I went ahead on the morning of January 22, and removed the Colchicine that remained, again gently trimmed the plant, and retreated.
On the morning of January 23, 2009, I could again see that not much of the Colchicine had been absorbed. This time I cleaned the plant, removing all Colchicine, and I took my pin knife and cut across the middle of the "growing tip." I did this to try to help Seedling Two absorb the Colchicine. It is my recollection that I again treated Seedling Two on January 24 and January 25, 2009. I am not precisely sure that I retreated on January 24 and 25 because I did not write this in my notebook.

It seems interesting that in the first picture above, of Seedling One, there is not that much of a split in the foilage material. With Seedling Two, there is considerable splitting. I do not know what this might mean because I have had different results with different appearing plants. We will just have to wait and see what types of pollen are produced assuming that both plants survive this treatment process.
Well, speaking about my notebook, you might ask, what notebook are you writing about? I normally make notes when I treat a daylily so that I will know what
I have done as I have gone through the treatment process. If you do not keep good notes, then you may forget just as I have forgotten about January 24 and 25. Two pictures from my notebook are attached hereto.

At this point you might also now ask about the "schedule of treatment" with Colchicine. The classic pattern is to treat three times a day for three consecutive days. I have been successful following this schedule, but I have also KILLED more plants than I can remember. I have heard that others working with Colchicine have gone to one treatment per day for three consecutive days. I have also heard that some apply Colchicine once on the first day, and then treat twice a day for the next two days. These new patterns seem as though they make better sense. One reason that fewer treatments may be more successful is that some, like myself, are cutting the daylilies closer to the growing tip. The closer we are to the growing tip, it would seem that less Colchicine would be needed.

Another point I would make is about the size of bottles I am using. On January 23, I mentioned a 400 milliliter bottle, and a 200 milliliter bottle. I also mentioned using a one milliliter device to apply DMSO. Finally, I mentioned an "eyedropper" type device that is used to apply the Colchicine to the plants being treated. Pictures of these items are attached.


Friday, January 23, 2009

Daylily Conversion

Hello Daylily Friends,

I started to do some of my conversion work a few days ago, and one plant that I worked with first, came from Jack Carpenter. It is Jack's WAXEN SPLENDOR. It is unusual because it has such a large green eye combined with a gorgeous red color. I am herewith inserting Jack's picture of his daylily.

The first step in getting ready to convert a plant is to let the plant dry for about four to six weeks, depending upon the type of soil that you are using where you have your plant growing. The more "loose" the soil, the less the time needed for drying. I normally have the daylily planted in the soil so that the crown is just above the soil. This makes it easier to cut the daylily for treatment.

You will need several items to prepare your daylily for conversion. First, you need a "single edged razor blade." Next, you will need what I call a "pin knife." Finally, you need a pair of "reading glasses." I use reading glasses that are +3.25 in strength. I am herewith inserting a picture of the three items that I am writing about.

I started with several full sized containers of WAXEN SPLENDOR. I took my single edged razor and cut the foilage about two inches above the crown. I then kept cutting across the foilage until I decided that I had cut as much as was prudent. I then took the pin knife and trimmed the edges of the plant to about 45 degrees. Just enough to keep the edges from later causing trouble . I then put on my reading glasses. I use these glasses to see better when I am carving the oval area around the "growing tip." The object that you ultimately want to accomplish is to saturate the growing tip with the proper mixture of the chemical known as "Colchicine."

Carving the 45 degree angle is easy, and it is easy to carve an oval area around the growing tip. I normally take the pin knife and cut a line to the left of the growing tip. I then cut back into this same line with yet another line. I then remove the plant material. I do this on both sides of the growing tip. I then cut the small areas at the ends of the the two lines, and the result is basically an oval shape. This can perhaps be better understood by looking at the pictures I am herewith showing.

With just a little practice, it is easy to see the growing tip. It is the green area in the center of the crown. If you trim your daylily too high, above the growing tip, you may not produce a good conversion. The reason is that the Colchicine may not penetrate to the depth of the growing tip. If you trim too close to the growing tip, you may do too much damage when you apply the Colchicine. I would just observe that there is more art than science in producing a usable conversion. You just have to keep trying, and I confess that I tried many times before I produced my first conversion.

As for the proper mixture of Colchicine, you simply take one gram of Colchicine and mix this with 400 milliliters of "distilled water." It is important to use distilled water. You should never use just plain water. Once you have the 400 milliliters mixed with one gram of Colchicine, you then want to transfer 200 milliliters to a 200 milliliter bottle. You will want to use the 200 milliliter bottle because it is easier to remove the Colchicine from this size bottle. The 400 and 200 milliliter bottles, and the distilled water you will need, can all be obtained from a local pharmacy.

One chemical that is sometimes used in conversion work is "DMSO." This is a penetrant chemical. It helps the Colchicine to penetrate into the growing tip. The amount that is used is a very small amount. I use .5 of a single milliliter to 200 milliliters. This is about five drops of DMSO for 200 milliliters.

Over the next several weeks we will take a look at WAXEN SPLENDOR just to see how it is progressing.


Friday, January 16, 2009

Seedling 8-160 (Sherry Candy x Tet. Out of the Blue)

Hello Daylily Friends,

When I went to the last Mid-Winter Convention in Chattanooga, Tennessee, in February of 2007, one of the daylilies that I purchased at the auction was SHERRY CANDY. It was made available by Pat Stamile. SHERRY CANDY was not actually at the auction but I wanted to use it that spring in my hybridizing work. So, in March I drove to Enterprise, Florida, and went to Floyd Cove Nursery to see Pat and Grace. They were so kind and I bought several daylilies and "picked-up" SHERRY CANDY. I took it back to my greenhouse, and it bloomed in early May, 2007.

When SHERRY CANDY bloomed I pollenated it with pollen from TET. OUT OF THE BLUE. I was fortunate to be able to convert TET. OUT OF THE BLUE and I was hoping to use it to gain a nice, new daylily.

Let me now back up several years to a Mid-Winter Symposium that took place in Chattanooga in the year of 2003 or 2004. Elizabeth Salter was a speaker and she showed a new "blue-eyed diploid," that she said was "as blue as the blue in your blue jeans." After Elizabeth spoke I tried to convince her to let me convert her new blue-eyed beauty, but the answer was short: "NO!" I thought, well ok. Then, the summer came and I went on a bus trip to Florida with the Greater Atlanta Daylily Society. We stopped at the Salter home and I asked about the blue-eyed beauty but apparently it was not blooming. So I didn't get to see it. Elizabeth nevertheless said that I could look at her seedling bed.

I did look at the seedling bed but I was disappointed that I did not see the new blue-eyed diploid. So, after looking at all of the seedlings I went back toward the Salter home, but on the way back I saw OUT OF THE BLUE growing very nicely in a 3-gallon container. Wow! What a plant! I thought it was just gorgeous. I thought it had a stronger blue-eye than the picture Elizabeth showed in Chattanooga. I asked Elizabeth about it; she said it was $60.00. I gave Elizabeth the cash and took OUT OF THE BLUE home to my garden.

It took me several years to make the conversion, but it was a joy when it bloomed and I could see the tetraploid pollen in my microscope. I knew I had a good thing.

My friend Larry also converted BLUE OASIS, and both Larry and Jamie Gossard converted CRYSTAL BLUE PERSUASION. However, no one else that I know about has used TET. OUT OF THE BLUE. It is my understanding that the self in OUT OF THE BLUE was not as attractive as the self in either BLUE OASIS or CRYSTAL BLUE PERSUASION. I would note that Larry also converted OUT OF THE BLUE but as I say, it is my understanding that it was not really used as a pollen parent.

Well, one of the things that I noticed about my conversion of TET. OUT OF THE BLUE was that it practically always bloomed as a double. I have never seen the diploid OUT OF THE BLUE show any tendency to double, so, to me, the doubling of the conversion was unusual.

Well later in the greenhouse, around the first week of May, 2008, I was in for a big, big surprise. One morning, I walked into the greenhouse, and saw this gorgeous silver-blue eyed double seedling blooming. I was just so excited. Well, I have seen seedlings bloom as doubles and then retreat to being normal daylilies. I thought this would perhaps happen again with my new seedling. So , over the next several weeks, I watched the seedling. I had two sets of blooms that were polytepals, and then the last bloom looked almost exactly like the first bloom. The new seedling always bloomed as a double. Needless to say, I kept growing the seedling and now I have five seedlings growing in 3-gallon containers. I gave this new seedling the number 8-160.

I am anxiously waiting for this spring to come so that I can see if my seedling continues to bloom with that yellow self and the stunning silver-blue eye. I have no idea where the yellow self came from because I see no yellow in either SHERRY CANDY or TET. OUT OF THE BLUE. I suppose it does not matter. The yellow self is there and it accents the Silver-blue eye.


Monday, January 12, 2009

GRANNY SMITH Dormant Seedling

Hello Daylily Friends,
Do you remember Frank Smith's GRANNY SMITH? I was fortunate to receive this daylily, and I used it to make a number of new seedlings. GRANNY SMITH has the most "green color" on the edge of its petals that I have seen. GRANNY SMITH is really a nice daylily, but it has one shortcoming: It is registered to be only 18" in height. However, Frank did say that GRANNY SMITH was to be used as a "hybridizing flower."

So, I crossed GRANNY SMITH with one of my seedlings that I numbered 7-144, and the result is the first picture shown above. I have given my new seedling the number 8-231. One very interesting point about the new seedling is that it is dormant. This dormancy is shown by the second picture that I took this morning. The seedling had started to grow out of the ground because the weather here has been mild over the past three weeks. However, this morning the outside temperature was 28 degrees. Cold! 8-231 is doing well, and, even though it is cold this morning, 8-231 is not at all bothered. We have to remember that daylilies are not tropical plants. They originate in China where the temperatures are frigid during the winter.

I took a proliferation from 8-231 that I created by using BAP-10. I later potted this proliferation and it is now growing in the greenhouse. The greenhouse 8-231 has grown through its dormancy. Its appearance this morning in the greenhouse is shown above in the third picture. It is growing in a 3-gallon container.

In my estimation, Seedling 8-231 is an improvement over GRANNY SMITH because 8-231 is 25" tall and it also has an attractive green edge. I would note that 8-231 bloomed outside about one year after it was planted. Seedling 8-231 had two-way branching, about 10 buds, and a 6 1/2" flower. I hope that when 8-231 blooms again this coming spring and summer that there will be more branching and bud count. I just need patience, patience and patience.


Saturday, January 10, 2009

Thirty-Five Inches is TALL!

Hello Daylily Friends,

This past summer I grew a selected seedling in my "outside garden" where all seedlings experienced a very cold winter. In my humble opinion, this selected seedling should be a good tool to use to create new introductions. I have numbered this new seedling, 8-244. It is a cross using the following parents: [(Grace 578 Seedling x Tet. Connie Burton) x Tet. (Last Midnight x Peppermint Delight)]. Seedling 8-244 may have received its wide "sepals" from the Grace 578 Seedling. I would note that one of the parents of the 578 seedling was Tet. Siloam Ralph Henry. Seedling 8-244 also has attractive "ruffling" and perhaps was passed from Tet. Connie Burton.

As for the second part of the cross, I used a diploid that I received as a gift from my good friend Larry Grace. The cross Larry made was between Last Midnight and Peppermint Delight. I was able to achieve a partial conversion of Larry's diploid, and I used pollen from this conversion to complete the making of the new daylily.

Seedling 8-244 is thirty-five (35") tall. Now, there is tall, and then there is tall. I consider 8-244 to be tall. Also I should mention that I believe the height of 35" came from Last Midnight, and I believe that the red eye and red edge came from Peppermint Delight.

Surprisingly, 8-244 has 4 and 5 way branching. Usually branching like this is seen only in sunny Florida. Then there is a nice 6" flower and about 22 buds. So, 8-244 has many fine qualities. The beauty of the flower is shown in the top picture, and the size of the fans can be seen in the second picture. Indeed, I have three very large fans. In my assessment, the 6" flower is attractive because of the prominent eye and red edge, and because it looks as though it may be a parent for a double.
It is my hope to use 8-244 as a "building block" for taller introductions with branching and bud count, and to also produce flowers with attractive eyes and edges. I can hardly wait for April, 2009, so that I can get started.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Don Herr and Family Visit the Greenhouse

Dear Daylily Friends,

It is always delightful when someone comes to see the Greenhouse. I was fortunate on Thursday that Don Herr, his wife Trish, and their daughter Beth, came to visit. Don and Trish are from Lancaster, Pennsylvania and their garden is known as "Don Herr Daylilies." Don and Trish were recently honored when their introduction, HER BEST BLOOMERS, won the Annie T. Giles award for the best small flower.

Beth lives locally in Smyrna, Georgia, and so Don and Trish came to visit Beth, and took the occasion to visit our garden. Don has a greenhouse in Lancaster but he says it will be a while before blooms appear.

Here in my greenhouse the plants are growing so large and they are so green. It seems that everyday that I go to the greenhouse the plants are bigger than they were the day before. The weather has been so mild and the plants seem to know that spring is nearby.

I look forward to more visits from other daylily friends as we move toward bloom season.


Monday, January 5, 2009

A Winter Thrill

Hello Daylily Friends,

During February, 2008, my good friend Jamie Gossard from Ohio came to speak to our Cobb County Daylily Society here in Marietta, Georgia. Of course we were very pleased that Jamie stayed here at our house during his visit so we had considerable access to his time. One visit that we made several times was to my greenhouse. Jamie pointed out that the plants in the rows that were very small and not apparently growing were dormants. Jamie "advised" that these should be removed from the rows and so this is what we did.

Jamie helped move the plants, my friend David Arthur helped move the plants, and I also helped. We ultimately had about 38 dormants. We put them in their own rows and left them to grow.

In early May, 2008, one of the dormant seedlings bloomed. It was a cross between VARSITY ORANGE and TET. SPALDING MEMORIES. It was just magnificent. The orange color was so bold! The sepals were so wide, long, and extended. There was lovely green in the throat. The flower was just everything you might want in an orange. I gave the new seedling the number 8-96.

During the early summer of 2008 I planted seedling 8-96 outside, and I just let it grow.

I noticed about two weeks ago that 8-96 was "so" dormant that, indeed, it went below the soil with no foilage left above the ground. Today I noticed that, perhaps because of the mild weather, that the fans have pushed up through the soil. Just lovely to see. There are now three fans.

It is truly a winter thrill to see a documented, gorgeous, beautiful seedling coming back.