Playing with Mother Nature

The old reliable daylily “Frans Hals”

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.

The first offspring.

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.

Un-named daylily..if you can identify it, let me know!

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.

I think this one is a keeper!

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!

A nice blend of both parents!

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!


About carolee

A former professional herb and lavender grower, now just growing for joy in my new potager. When I'm not in the garden, I'm in the kitchen, writing, or traveling to great gardens.
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5 Responses to Playing with Mother Nature

  1. woollee1 says:

    wow, what an achievement, your very own day lillys. What great sizes and colour. I used to grow them here, they always managed to pop in time for Christmas.


    • carolee says:

      I still can’t quite get my mind around the concept of Christmas in summer, with blooming flowers instead of snow. It must be a much more challenging time to manage Christmas “chores” and festivities, in addition to gardening and preserving the harvest. I’m glad it comes in winter here, when there’s not much else going on except shovel snow!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Going Batty in Wales says:

    What an interesting post! I have never tried cross pollenating flowers though I think some of my tomatoes have been being slightly promiscuous without asking permission! I love the idea of a unique plant . Have you given them names?


    • carolee says:

      No, and I probably won’t bother registering them with the daylily society either. I just do it to try to extend my daylily season, because they add so much color and texture, and when they are gone, it seems like summer is over!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. peggywright says:

    Beautiful daylilies

    Liked by 1 person

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