In my continuing efforts to extend the daylily season here in my Indiana gardens, I began playing around with Mother Nature a few years ago. At that time, the old reliable daylily “Frans Hals,” bred in 1955 but remaining in popularity for its bi-color blooms, was my last daylily to bloom each year. When I added night-blooming daylilies to my Moonlight Garden, I noticed that they were also late-bloomers. I no longer have any night-bloomers, so no photograph, but picture in your mind a pale yellow-beige, mid-size bloom with narrower petals on stems that reach eye level. I cross-pollinated the two and achieved this nice plant.
It’s not outstanding in size or color, looking more like the night-bloomer in flower form and height (about chest high), but it just began blooming Aug. 12 so I’m keeping it, partly for nostalgia since it was one of my first attempts at daylily breeding but also because it helps extend the season. It doesn’t have the alternating petal color, but it does have “Frans Hals” touches of color on the opposite petals, and those with the color markings are definitely wider. My next attempt was with this yellow daylily as a partner with “Frans Hals.” I have no idea what its name is or where I obtained it, but it is another late bloomer, with large soft-yellow blooms. Several of the flowers show that “tongue sticking out” long bottom petal.
It’s slightly taller than most of my other daylilies, about waist high, but the blooms are often as bigger than my hand across both ways. I have it growing in my Deck Garden and in the Cutting Garden (only because at that time it wasn’t designated as a Cutting Garden, but just a spot for excess plants!) Here’s the result of that crossing.
This one is low-growing and has alternate petal color like “Frans Hals,” but the bloom size is much larger and the dark petals are slightly crimped on the edges. It just began blooming today, so it is definitely in the “late” category. And finally, here’s a cross I made between “Frans Hals” and “Autumn Minaret,” a really tall (sometimes over my head!) pale orange daylily that is budded right now, but not even blooming yet!
This one is shoulder tall, with medium-sized blooms. It’s slightly paler in color compared to “Frans Hals” or the flower in the last photo, but it has a good bud count and is definitely a late-bloomer, but not as late as “Autumn Minaret.”
I’d like to pair up “Just Peachy,” a very short double-flowered apricot with “Autumn Minaret” if I can get a flower from “Just Peachy” to last long enough. It won’t happen this year, because “Just Peachy” was just planted last fall and only had a few flowers which just finished, and “Autumn Minaret” is still to bloom. So, I’ll just look around and see if I can find any other daylily still in bloom to try. Playing around with Mother Nature can be fun and rewarding, and it gives me something positive to think about! It’s a long-term project, from hand-pollinating to waiting for seed formation. Then the seeds are planted, and sometimes it takes 3-4 years before a flower appears. A great lesson in patience, and if as the saying goes “anticipation is half the fun,” then I must be having a heck of a LOT of fun!
Hope you have lots of fun in your gardens this week, too!