Mick Morry's 2008 Top Ten

Ok the top 10 in this AHS region 4, zone 4b/5 garden.

This is for both the AHS popularity poll and for the Robins yearly poll. Also is the winner of my 2nd "I Want It All Award". So read on. I wrote a 6 page post the other day with not just my top 10, but with my other top 20 favourites beyond that and just as I hit send the power went out here. End of email, end of two hours of writing a carefully prepared list. So here is version 2.0-bigger, badder, louder, and prouder. Oh, and slightly shorter. It's a different email, and the picks changed ever so slightly over the 2 days it took me to dust off the anger and do it all over again. I think this letter is the better of the two and in the end that my revised crosses are even more on the money than the lost post.

So this time around I will just do my personal top ten and later this season, when I can breath and have a moment to spare I will mention the other shockers you all need to hunt down. My list will be tuff. Just 10 huh? Have you guy's seen what's out there? Gosh only 10, but there are so many incredible choices to choose from and I use so many brilliant hybridizing programs!

Ok I have to do it again this year. So I will give you one from each of my favorite hybridizers I use -- that will round it off. In reality my major hitters list is very John Peat, Pat Stamile, The Kinnebrews, and Frank Smith, as they each had at least 5 alone of their recent releases that rocked the garden and had people drooling, never with bad colour or form days all season long. Oh and Jack. My gosh does Jack Carpenter ooze talent! Anyways enough playing around here they are. None of my picks are in order of liking or preference.

My grand champion winner as best plant of the year in our garden is LARRY'S OBSESSION-Ted Petit. Last year it was LINDA SIERRA-John Peat. Here is the list in no particular order.

1. Judy Farquar-Pat Stamile-Judy, Judy, Judy. What an vision. This flower has it all. Near 8 inch flowers every day. Always open early and never hangs up. Flat yet round. Polychrome attributes. Super tall and erect. Beyond fertile. I insist on plants that care little about rain or heat and set pods whatever temperature it is-- too hot or too cold. There are tons of plants available that set pods cut to anything both ways and care little about what weather is going on around them. Judy does just that in my garden. Pat has 20 favourites this year, but some others you guy's need to hunt down and hunt down fast are. THE BAND PLAYED ON, LESLIE RENEE, SHORES OF TIME, SPECIAL CANDY, PRECIOUS CANDY, ROWDY RED, ARAGON, ARCTIC LACE, CAREFREE SUNSET, and on and on. Special Candy and The Band Played on were my two favourite eyed cultivars of his.

SPECIAL CANDY is beyond special. Absolutely totally incredible. I'm not worthy- I'm not worthy. Unreal program Pat.

Oh, send me that Dr. Jerrold Corbett photo to me Pat. I will use your photo for the painting if you can top the other donator's--read below.

If someone out there-(meaning you Robins)- has the definitive digital photo of Dr. Jerrold then send it to me with written permission in hard copy or email form giving me permission to paint and copyright a painting of your photo. If you win and I use it in the painting and have your permission, then you will receive edition 1/95 for free. Contest end's December 24th and will be announced Christmas Eve. So try to beat Pat's photo he sends and get a free print upon completion of the work and printing process. Framing not included, but shipping will be if you win. For those of you wondering what I am talking about I made up a fun private award. One where the prize is worth money and has real meaning to the winner as their flower is portrayed. So Pat won my first "I WANT IT ALL AWARD". He is getting a painting of Dr. Jerold Corbett for free--his pick.

The next future inductees will get to pick one of their favorite flowers of all time of their creation and have me paint it for them. They get the original for free--I get to make prints and sell the prints. So both parties get a little something out of it. If a hybridizer has been instrumental in getting us where we are now in daylilies such as Pat has-- I feel they deserve a more visual trophy showing their body of work at it's best. The gold watch so to speak. A little something to look at in those winter months, when the garden is in slumber mode. Pat as lucky recipient one of this award was picked last year this time-- and is getting an original as soon as I can get a photo worthy of painting. My mom missed Mecca due to a double tragedy with my two grandparents. So I didn't get my Stamile hit this year. We ordered Dr. Jerrold and should have had tons of photos of it, but due to my grandfathers death and grandmothers series of strokes immediately after his death made going to Mecca and picking up our Stamile's we ordered impossible. I could nearly cry. So until I get the plants I ordered up here I will need a photo of at least Dr. Jerrold with it's green edge showing. I don't want to lose more time on this one. I intend to have prints available of Dr. Jerrold at some point within the next 6 months or so. Pat just needs to send me the photo, as painting season is quickly coming up and it's first on the chopping block. The next inductee is mentioned at the end of this email. Ok back to business.

2. Casa De Juan-John Peat- Wow what a flower. What an edge, what an eye, and what excellent height and fertility and on and on. My list is comprised of cultivars that I think are for the large part flawless. They meet every level of quality and performance and are in reality 10's in my book. I have seen no flaws in any of them so far. Now John knows how to get it done. I truly believe that Peat is one of the 5 greatest minds in modern daylily hybridizing. We own very nearly his entire line and trust me I look deep for flaws within one's line, mine especially included. John's crosses just bloom their hearts out and are well over stunning.

I have to say his line is perhaps my favourite in the world. It's between he and Stamile. I rank them at the same level for what does it for me in a cultivar. I am captivated with his living works of art. BLUES CLUES, Linda SIERRA, ANA MARIE MARGETTS, OCEAN BLUES, BRIGHT AFTERGLOW, LUPITA VINDAZ, TONY THOMPSON, REYNA, and on and on. I have them all and love them all. Peat's line will never get sold off our cut from our hybridizing programs here. Oh his Dracula's Mistress and DRACULA'S SMILE are two of the best tooth crosses I have ever seen. His WOLVERINE EYES and SOUTHERN BLACK RACER are two near black eyed ones you deep purple hybridizers need to get. Our seedlings out of them are killer.

3. Picotee Rippled Ruffles-Jack Carpenter- A perfect flower. Not just flawless, but absolutely totally perfect both in colour and form. The base is so white and clean. The eye and edge is grape coolade in the sun. It's electric. I have never seen a bad flower over the 2 seasons we have owned it. I think this is the best purple eye and edged flower in it's size range of all time. If this isn't a top hybridizing flower over the next 10 years then you're all nut's. This should be one of the first plants you seek out next season or this season if you have time to hunt it down and bury it for winter in time. Jack's line might as well be northern. His line fairs better than most of the northern USA hybridizing programs. His line just doesn't stress out. Get his TEXAS BLUE EYES, ORCHID ELEGANCE, TEXAS BIG RED, and GIANT ON THE MOUNTAIN as well. Money well spent. Jack I think you want to read the bottom of this post. Congratulations.

4. Ada May Musick-Ludlow Lambertson-The Ludmeister. We got a few wonderful seedlings out of this dynamic cultivar already, and we continue to use it still. I may never retire it in my breeding program. This year it polytepaled and was massive in size. 10 petals and sepals in a 7 inch baby blue eyed flower is soooo yummy. It was so on this year. We had around 10 scape's and I loaded them up with pods again. It's eye was sky powder blue and it's height in a raised box bed puts it at chest level. Just what us hybridizers want as our backs become creaky. My back feels like a hinge has been installed into it. Not a fun feeling, but our work has a cost on more than your patience and nerves. So as I get older I want--no insist on plants that come up to at least high waist point on me. So Ada May being over 3 foot in height keeps it's splendor for me and makes such a wise hybridizing tool for us northern boys that love dabbling with. Purple Peace, and his others from this years collection are off the hook. Luddy has put on such ruffles and meat and oh gosh they are sooooooo dreamy. Next season after they survive this years snow one of them will be on my list next year for sure. Luddy is such an artist.

5. Crazy Ivan- Frank Smith- Several years back when Frank came up for the CHS fall meeting I spent a fair bit of time while he was at the event chatting with him. I sort of felt guilty later on having hogged so much of his time. However he sat at my table and was in a very chatty talk shop mood and he was initiating all conversation to me and not vice-versa. So I naturally listened and shared openly what I had saw or heard of that was magic with him I openly talk shop on any area of hybridizing and so did Frank with me--refreshing. Frank secretly told me that he was beyond shocked at how good his seedlings out of two cultivars were. He mentioned it in his presentation. However side bar he gave me a bigger and better heads up of what he was seeing and how he felt these incredible cultivars should be used and how he used them. He told me both CRAZY IVAN and VOODOO MAGIC were breeding gold at every level and I could tell by his eyes, body position and excitement that he was getting some hum dingers and that I needed to take his advice with a vengeance. This year I did just that. So did my mom and so did Jennifer. I bought both of them already and he brought them up for auction and I bought them both again. Sorry guy's the early bird syndrome. Never get caught sleeping and sleep with one eye open (Note-Frank carries a note book just as Dan, Phil, Maryott, Pat all do and while talking with you the book comes out and something you recommend or say gets jotted down--(we hybridizers never sleep)!

Anyways after talking with Frank for half an hour on breeding for eyes I knew he had a rock solid game plan and approach. Let me tell you that these two cultivars are so incredibly special, words cannot properly describe their importance.

I pick CRAZY IVAN as my top pick of his, but do yourself a favour and buy both of them and then go hunt down Fame and Lava Flow. They grow beautifully like all of Frank's line and have survived and expanded in our garden--despite our terrible winters. When Frank gives you some side-bar advice, listen to him. Frank get your behind in that greenhouse and breed more eyes. Get away from those pastels and breed eyes. Your a master of eyes. Come join the light side. Those pastels are evil-evil I tell you! All your eyed cultivars like LAVA FLOW, HANK WILLIAMS, VINTNER'S TREASURE are where you shine the most and where your talent goes off the charts. "PERFECTION". I used all these mentioned cultivars like mad this year. I use one of my crosses in every cross, but Frank is in there deep blended into my line and for good reason. Frank is a breeders breeder. His line is sought out more for hybridizing that gracing granny's front entrance. Hybridizers are hunting down his proven line and producing consistant treasures out of them. A truly magic line. We pulled a lot of seedlings out of his line cut to ours. Magic happened. See if magic happens for you. Buy a Ivan and see where it takes you.

6. Larry's Obsession- Ted Petit- Oh Ted! Dude you have been holding out on us. What else have you been hiding? A year or so ago I heard some very nasty rumours and bashing of this plant. Let me set the record straight. In our garden up here in the upper north this flower is heart-stopping. Not just beautiful, but so shockingly beautiful that the first flower I literally lost my breath and nearly needed to sit down upon seeing it. I felt like I was having an Asama attack or had my head hanging out the window of a moving car doing speed, sucking in the fast inward flowing wind. I had to re-catch my breath. I am not exaggeration this at all. I really was totally out of breath on first seeing this flower. Never before has this happened, not even over my own personal seedlings. Hopefully one day I will get that feeling for one of my own.

This flower had the colour and teeth and gorgeous white edge that it was portrayed as having, only better than Ted's photo by far. It is simply the best deep purple in the world, ever!!! When the edge doesn't have teeth they are tentacles and long bubbly edged. In between are the occasional horns and hairs. This puppy met my entire purple line and all our best seedlings this year. I will be using this plant for a decade or more. Killer Ted! Flawless and Killer! Ted's other favourites this year were BEWITCHING EYES which was new this year, however older ones that wintered over were BEACON AT DUSK, CARVED INITIALS, and MATRIX RELOADED, which was flawless every day two years running. I highly recommend his line for upper north breeding.

7. Phil Reilly- Dutches Of Verona-Love it, love it, love it. Phil is a master at showing you how to get it done and done right. I simply adore his vision and his iron clad breeding program that focuses on strength and quality and does it with small seedling numbers. Like Phil we only plant between 1,200-3,000 seeds a year. Then we lose some to our weather there after. So we have between 900-2,500 seedlings a year for all three peoples programs combined here. You can breed within small numbers and get gold. Phil taught me this. Simply Scrumptious, Tetra Swiss Diplomat, Ranger Bob, Lanny Morry and on and on. I admire his program so much and he deserves all his accolades and praise he has raised. Fantastic work Phil. A true master of daylily hybridizing doesn't need 20,000 seedlings. Phil is a true master. Most of the big guys in the business have scaled down their seedling patches substantially over the years after seeing what Phil and Dan Trimmer have done with smaller scaled programs. Smaller yet bigger.

I have seen more true introductions from Phil's patch of smaller numbers than I have of some of the largest gardens in the world. My mom took photo after photo of his work--all stunning. What was missing was the tremendous number of culls. A huge program has so much eye sore with 10,000 need to go seedlings that you all of a sudden don't have the wow factor you once had with that 1st year patch of 300 seedlings were 1 in 5 is a keeper. All of a sudden your 1 in 250 or worse. You will never out do those early bred in your career seedlings when you had smaller numbers flowering-- unless you scale back and again begin to selectively pick your 2,500 seeds out of the 10,000 you got that season. This season I will harvest around 10,000 seeds. Mostly in part due to my mom and my line has massive seed counts. Our average is 14-20 seeds a pod for one of our cultivars no matter what you cut at it. So seeds add up fast. Anyways Phil- (and yes you mom), taught me to not plant them all and to cherry pick the ones you know your going to like. Doing his method the change was immediate and shocking in our seedling patch this year. Save yourself from all the unnecessary work and from culling plants you know you will have to cull in the end. Your gut knows what is trash and what is treasure. Listen to it guys. Don't fight yourself on this one. Save the 3 or 4 years of grief it takes to realize it and just do it now while you still have a spine and working joints and aren't burned out. Thanks Phil. Owe you buddy! Boy do I owe you! Oh, my back says hi. <BG>.

8. Incendiary-Bill Maryott- Another flawless flower every day. What a beautiful bright clean hot pink base with a near black eye and edge. The form is impeccable. The scape's at our place are loaded with pods. Bill has the finished look thing going on. Few hybridizers are truly releasing 100% finished flowers, Bill is! Finished flowers for the new comers means that not only is a flower pretty, but it has ideal absolutely perfect plant habit too. They are double fertile. They never have bad form or hair days. The colour is always spot on true in every zone world wide with very few exceptions. The list of what it takes to be a totally finished flower is vast. Bill is so picky that his entire line is finished. I know I own all of them. This is a very rare bred for quality gang. Very few people are so selective that every factor of a plants form, colour, shape or whatever is being scrutinized enough that it could spell cull to a particular seedling--as it failed in just one area that it had to be perfect in. Control freak or genius--I will let you decide on this type of hybridizer. I believe it's obvious what I believe.

9. Nancy's Quilt-Linda Agin- Ok let's get this one right. Complex pattern-check. Triple coloured edge-check. Green throat-check. Massive teeth on petals and sepals-check. Are you starting to get the idea. This cultivar has so many rare breeding qualities all interbred to each other. Now I have been aiming for this type of plant in my own program. I want as complex a cross as I can make and cultivars such as this one are money so well spent. Linda's BOTOX, RED FRIDAY and the rest of her collection are all dreamy. We bought the whole collection. All of them survived the winter and bloomed and got bred like mad. Linda is the Queen of ruffles in full forms. No other woman's program can touch her level of ruffles and teeth. Linda's talent is limitless.

10. Spacecoast Devil's Eye-The Kinnebrew's-This flower has it all. I was lucky enough to get a pile of the Kinnebrew's latest before the death in the family and wow was I happy for that. The latest Kinnebrews are unbelievable, expect to see them raved about this time next year. Devil's Eye is unreal. Tall erect, and beyond fertile both ways. The eye is probably the nearest to black on the market and it never looks bad ever. Colour and form are always on. My other favourites that have wintered over well are Sc. Technical Knockout another near black eyed one, and Darla Anita still captivates me to this day. It had a 2 inch edge on 3 flowers one day this season. It may be older and be less colourful, but Darla continues to put on a show and few daylilies have this kind of level of edge. It breeds the edge into it's progeny too, so it becomes an even more sane hybridizing tool that blends with the northern lines beautifully.

Ok. Here it is the silver donut. I have thought about it all year and read and observed and talked with numerous people privately on this and it is widely believed that Jack Carpenter is a living legend and the one most deserving of this. A person that deserves a painting. So Jack you are the second inductee to the "I WANT IT ALL AWARD". The award means you want all of a hybridizers line. Their line is that good. By winning this it means you never compromised. You never cheated, swindled, or did anything negative or counter productive in our profession. You had a vision and you have made it a reality. You have taken hybridizing to a higher level and bred quality cross after quality cross. You have been kind, brilliant and generous to a fault and it is my honour to now give you the opportunity to pick a photo of a flower or a photo of a clump of several of your introductions to be painted in super-realism style-(Photo like). Your line has been instrumental in creating the modern daylily and you have won more honestly won and deserving won awards than I can mention. Think long and hard and get back to me with great digital photo. Make it a big resolution so I can zoom in 20 or 30 times clearly in the photo. I need to see the colour makeup at the most microscopic level to get the colour absolutely right-remember I'm anal too. So the better the photo the better the painting.

Jack you get the original unframed and shipped for free at my expense within a year. I will meantime make a 95 edition printing of the painting that will be available to the masses. I will email you in private and let you know what you have won when I have a moment or better yet. One of you Robins bring his attention to this for me. You know surprise him. I don't know if Jack is on the robin much lately. I don't know how busy a Texas daylily season is this time a year. I know I have too much work with the daylilies and have not been emailing or reading much, but wow am I loving it.

Pat send that photo and Robins try to beat Pat's photo. Send me larger sized digitals. 1078x768 minumum. I really need to zoom in to do my best. Don't you love technology? Well chat more in a week or two robins. I am up to my neck in work and will be a tad busy for a while. Ciao all.

Mick Morry
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
AHS Region 4-(Zone 4b/5)-Where the work is endless and the days are getting shorter fast.