Colour charts and the imaginative use of colour


A Daylily Robin posting by Mick Morry Dec 1st 2008


Hello Robins,

It has been some time since I posted.  I have been busy painting several coloured pencil works and several watercolours of daylilies as well.  It is keeping me busy, something I need this time a year.  I am not a winter fan by any stretch of the imagination.  Yet I love my city and the change of the seasons and wouldn't move for the life of me.  Go figure.  Anyways I see that Dr. Carr's charts are getting some attention and I have looked over them myself.  I noticed however that several very important colour ranges have been left out.

In my opinion the most important colour in the world for hybridizing any flower in existence is orange.  I have found that I can pull any colour out of orange including whites, blacks, blues, reds, everything.  It is the only colour that can be made to create any colour.  By being made I mean something a little more specific.  You must find or breed that right special orange.  Not all oranges are alike.  Many create speckled brownish crosses.  Other orange culitivars can dominate with orange and yellow hues that eat any possibility of moving forward in any other colour.  Whites and blues need to be worked on and added to the colour chart. I will let one of the other guys out there tackle that one.  I could but where I want to focus some light on is Orange.  Nearly my entire program is out of orange, so I believe this makes me a good candidate for explaining this super complex colour that is very nearly shunned by many of you.

Orange x yellow:  Not exactly breeding outside the box.  I tend to avoid this colour range unless I am going for a more neon orange or yellow, or think that I can create something eyed and edged that will be very different.  A Maple Hues sort of plant with blending of multiply shades or orange over yellow would get me to breed such a cross.  However I still say this is unadventurous breeding.  I always try to breed outside the box and mix colours up.  Orange is that colour people.

Orange x deep purple:  Blacks can appear, and every shade of electric or deep purples, mauves, violets, and purples and reds of every colour range.  This is the most typical result of breeding this colour combination together.  I am in 7 years doing this colour combination.  You can see my results of orange cut to purples at our website.  You will see my mother got the same results doing more or less the same thing, but different enough to show variety and consistency to this happening on a regular basis.

Orange x cream:  My most shocking results of blending this colour range is a seedling that I have once again on the website in my Area-51 kids section.  I got a white out of AREA-51 X BANANA CREAM BEAUTY a Jack Carpenter oblong oval big wide weird creamish flower.  The seedling came out carved white 6 inch flower on a 40 + scape with great branching, dormancy and substance.  It is super white.  No other colour in it at all but white.  I have seen no pink tones or yellow tones in it.  This out of orange!

Orange x Red:  Well you will see reds come alive with breeding oranges to them.  The Christmas tree effect comes into play and reds dance in the light.  What's better?  They lose almost all potential to being blemished, take rain damage or fold in the sun or rain.  Along with chlorophyl, beta-carotene in orange is another form of sun block.  This creates a colour that is not easily susceptible to being blemished or folding to humidity, temperature or moisture.  Nearly everything we have bred out of our orange breeding here rarely if ever blemishes.  It is my biggest pet peeve and I refuse to breed with, use, look at, admire, keep or run with anything that doesn't look good day after day, despite bad weather.  Orange is the only colour besides pink that does justice to reds.  Pinks blemish too much though.  So orange wins the rock paper scissors every time on this one too.

Orange x purple:  Electric on fire purples will develop.  Purple and orange are reverse colours so breakouts of patterns happen.  This is happening due to opposite colours on the colour spectrum fight each other trying to dominate the other colour.  They always meet in the middle and create a new colour.  I have only seen an orange come out maybe twice out of thousands of seedlings over the years.  Purple will dominate and win, but the orange will change the hue.  If you are looking for mauve's, violet flowers and other purple and pinks ranges not in existence in daylilies yet this is the route.  I am starting to see a colour I am breeding for and must have.  I want electric fuchsia like in orchids.  This colour range doesn't exist yet.  We are close, but no program has electric deep pinks that are comparable to any hot orchid species.

Orange x violet or blues:  You will get hotter violets and some will go to a deeper violet near blue tone, such as happened with my MAPLE LEAF FOREVER X ORCHID ELEGANCE seedlings.  I am in the process of registering one named after my 91 year old grandmother EVELYN MORRY soon.  You can see this in my Maple Leaf Forever seedlings.  MLF can be seen in my registrations section.  See what orange can do when bred boldly?  Breed with conviction, faith in yourself and your program and for heavens sake breed outside the box.  There is a world of colour out there and little is being done by many to step into the foreign waters and really mix it up colour wise.

How to make orange from scratch.  I learned this one this year.  It really got my attention.  I bred my METROSEXUAL (a deep purple with a shocking green throat) to my GOLDEN BUDDHA (a buttery yellow) and got a great hot electric orange.  You can see my METROSEXUAL in my 2009 intro's and my Mick Morry registered crosses sections of my website.  GOLDEN BUDDHA may be seen in my 2008 registrations.  I figured that the yellow of GOLDEN BUDDHA could be convinced to either change to adopt the green throat of METROSEXUAL--making a larger green throat over a yellow base.  I figured I could then move forward with this cross in my green program.  Not to be!!  The fascinating seedling became a crispate super hot electric orange with an even hotter red pattern eye zone.  The huge green throat of Metro turned into a little green heart.  Not what I wanted to see at all.  However purple cut to yellow has shown me yet again that the colour spectrum in plants is like mixing paint--just the colours are jumbled up, meaning we have to learn several things more about what makes each colour.  We have mapped around 50% of the hues I believe are possible but progress continues and I feel in the next decade or so we will sew up every other colour.  People such as Pat Stamile, Jack Carpenter, and many others invent new colours and hues every year.  Curt Hanson has unique coloured purples that no one else has the colour range of.  Nobody has bred anything as good as TEDDY BEAR'S PICNIC for getting us brown.  It's baby steps in some colour ranges, but we are evolving our ideas and direction of focus as much as we are making our beloved daylilies evolve.

Ciao All,

Mick Morry,  zone 4b/5 Manotick, Ont. Canada where the only daylilies in bloom today are in my mind!