The Can-Am Niagara 2010 - OH WHAT A FEELING!!!

(Parts 1, 2 and 3)

- report by Lanny Morry


Lanny Morry here in AHS region 4, zone 4b/5 (we are 4b ourselves) where we
await a sudden rush of unexpected summer come the end of the week and the
Easter holiday season with anticipated temperatures of between 24 and 26CF
(mid to high 70s F) -- the hottest temperatures for this weekend in more
years apparently than I have been alive (I am glad something is older than
me still!) And Oh, what a difference a week makes, because the Can-AM
Niagara, which I attended this past weekend, began in bitter cold, and ended
not much warmer -- except where it comes to the heart, where it was
absolutely heart warming to take in the ambiance of this Canadian daylily
event of the year in Niagara Falls.

I should begin by telling you all that I have never before attended the
Can-AM Niagara because it has been the sole preserve of my son Mick and his
now wife Jennifer, who spent a number of years attending the event and last
year -- on 28 March -- were married there with John Peat as escort to the
bride, and Pat and Grace Stamile standing in as Best Man and Matron of
Honour. I thought for sure Mick and Jen would want to go back for their
anniversary, which fell on the last day of this year's event, so it was a
wonderful surprise when they announced that it was MY turn to attend the
event they have been rhapsodizing about for lo these many years (though mind
you they warned me this offer might not be repeated in future years). I
gratefully accepted and so I set off to Niagara Falls early early last
Thursday morning at 6 a.m. -- this after I had fed a litter of 8 whippet
puppies, let out 35 more adult dogs, and had fed, watered and let out the
chickens. By the time I left home at 6 a.m. I felt like I had already
worked half the day already so the 6 hour drive to Niagara Falls was already
like the start of a vacation.

I arrived in time to help John Peat out by first rushing to Staples to get a
zillion copies of the weekend program printed so that attendees would know
which way was up, then providing help in the chauffeuring department
by making the trek to the Buffalo, NY airport -- 56 miles from the hotel --
to pick up three of the Niagara attendees who would be participants /
presenters during the three day event. It was in this role as chauffeur
that I got to meet the fabulous Melanie and her new beau Jim (ladies, your
hearts will melt when you see how lucky Melanie is... this guy is handsome,
cultured and genteel, and is a positively charming gentleman and a genuine
treasure!!! -- Melanie this guy is a keeper!!!) and renew acquaintance with
daylily gardener extraordinaire, Joann Stewart, who though I met her first
in person at the AHS convention in Florida last year is like kindred spirit
to me because she has lived in, and continues to own a home in Edinburgh,
Scotland, a place I know and dearly love because that was where my
grandmother and great aunts and associated relatives were born in, grew up
in, have lived, and died in, and a place where as a child I spent many happy
vacations with my Scottish 'ain folks'.

For those of you expecting reports on the beer swilling good times in the
hospitality suite -- legends of yore -- I have to tell you that I have no
information to report because I did not attend the hospitality suite events
once during this daylily meeting. I am a morning person -- night begins not
long after 6 p.m. and I believe most people should follow their circadian
rhythm and if they will they do then they will be in bed watching the telly
before falling asleep sometime between 9 and 10 latest -- but more than that
I hear some of the folks in the hospitality suite have aged over the years
too, and a good night's sleep, rather than a good night of beer swilling
revelry, is something I hear they have now learned to cherish and enjoy far
far more than in past years.

The Can-Am program began with an opening introduction by very suave and
delightful welcome by John Peat, who then turned the stage over to the
opening act of the Can-Am Niagara 2010 -- Mike Holmes.

Folks if you have not met, or heard Mike Holmes before -- and I had not --
this guy is a bonafide treat. His down to earth, visually enticing program
drew us into the very varied hybridizing programs he and his wife Sandy have
produced from their Ohio base, all the while paying homage to those on whose
shoulders great programs are often built - founders of the past, including
the late great Steve Moldovan. Mike showcased Sandy's introductions and
futures, at the same time as he showed us why his ONLY introduction this
year, King Solomon's Treasure is probably -- no -- let me say it is
indubitably -- the most important northern bred full form introduction for
2010. It is a stunning, huge, white bloom that dwarfs the blooms around it
-- it is a hardy, ruffled, insanely white bloom that is an easy opener and a
plant of exquisite plant habit that everyone breeding for hardy northern
dormants should have in their quiver to use in their gardens this summer.
You do not need to introduce tonnage when you have a star this bright it
lights up the firmament! Oh, what a feeling, as my good friends in the
Canadian 60s/70s rock bank Crowbar used to sing -- what a rush! King
Solomon's Treasure is a genuine adrenalin rush and I am going to buy it!

Mike was followed by Jamie Gossard, who delivered not just a Friday
presentation on his program, but a wrap around program on Sunday morning
that further explained/defined/demonstrated and illustrated his Friday
program and left this attendee -- me -- clear in the realization that I
was/am/hope to be forever in the range of this honest to heaven hybridizing
genius. Jamie Gossard has seen the future of the daylily, has been there
already (in his mind), knows how to get there physically with his program,
and is actively pursuing goals and objectives in daylilies -- from teeth to
incredibly complex patterns and eyes and watermarks one can only
fantasize about -- that are actually not dreams or fantasies, but already
hybridized, existing realities. I saw their photos. They exist. And they
are coming. Just watch for them.

Folks I have to tell you that in my view, this guy is a genius, pure and
simple. He may indeed be the greatest wizard in daylilies we have ever
seen, and what takes your breath away is the fact that he is still young, his
ideas are stunningly fresh and go way way outside the box with hybridizing
approaches which are unique, novel and unconventional, and yet he can, and
his presentation proves it, convince you that all his goals, his dreams, his
expectations are not just realistic but they are realizable.

I have to tell you when I saw his 2010 introductions posted I looked at them
and wondered... now where in heck is this going because I was really not
sure. But having seen his presentation and seen the future that flows from
those 2010 introductions, I am in awe. I saw eyes, I saw patterns so
complex I cannot believe they could have been created in so short a time --
often from one simple generation to the next intensely complex and different
generation, I saw mixes of eyes, patterns, teeth, colours, so unique, so
refreshing, so stunning that I was positively gobsmacked.
There is only one way to tell you what I saw. I am in awe because after
seeing Jamie Gossard's two presentations I have to tell you that in my eyes,
I have seen the future... and it is now, it is new, it is refreshing, and it
treads paths never before taken but worthy of exploration.. It is not
always the convenient, pretty, future so many daylily fans know and love,
but it is the cutting edge, push the limits future that will be needed to
take the daylily to the next stage when all of us are finished hybridizing
our well formed bagels and prettily coloured uncomplicated blooms and new
realms need to be explored. Jamie provides a vision of the future, in a
today context. I am ready to walk that walk. Jamie's
presentation encourages other hybridizers to seize the moment and draw
inspiration from his ventures into the probable, the possible, and the
achievable, and pursue new directions that can only bode well for the
daylily of the future.

And on that note I will end part one of my report on the Can-Am Niagara


The Can-Am Niagara 'Oh What A Feeling' - Part II

Greetings all, Lanny Morry here in brilliantly sunny Manotick, Ont. Canada,
where today it is supposed to go up to 80 F degrees. Daylilies are weeks
ahead of where I have seen them, for years and years, and life is good.

I apologize for the delay in continuing my report on the speakers at last
weekend's Can-AM Niagara. It has been a busy week of sending small 9 and a
half whippet pups home with their new owners, but my principal reason for
not writing was simply the fact I caught a horrible cold that has been
going around here and the last few days have been spent consuming
antihistamines and seeing how many boxes of Kleenex I can go through in a
single day while trying to find a way to breath without gasping. Mercifully
today is sniffle free, and so I return to writing.

In the absence of my writing several of you wrote to ask me questions. I
will add more comment on those I already made about Jamie Gossard's
hybridizing genius when I explain what I saw in his second presentation that
made me rhapsodize about his program. Now back to the Can-AM Niagara.

The third speaker up was someone I met in May 2005, the first year of four
years since that I visited the gardens of Florida. Bill Waldrop is from
Marietta, Georgia and he has been hybridizing daylilies since the 1990s
though his first registrations were, as far as I can recollect, in the early
2000s. That first meeting was fortuitous because I quickly realized Bill
had a world class hybridizing program in the works, and so we at Avalonia
were in from the beginning purchasing his first what I think of as really
important introductions, such as Pastor Laurie Anne Moeller, which is a
stunning plant in our garden. Over the years since we have purchased a
series of his introductions all of which I can tell you thrive in our zone
4b Canada for reasons his presentation made clear. In May 2009 I met his
wife Diana (who has now introduced her first daylily) and daughter Kelley
for the first time and they welcomed me into their home and garden when I
took the long route down to Florida last year so I could visit Karen and
Steve Newman, in Delano, Tennessee who are our partners in growing and
selling our registrations.

Bill's presentations shows the incredible leaps his hybridizing program has
made in the past five years where his gifted eye, his ability to convert
worthy diploids and use them cleverly, and his meticulous and careful
growing practices have coincided to create some of most wonderful daylilies
introduced over this time. His presentation showed his stunning garden,
his hybridizing greenhouse, and the beds he has painstakingly made out of
the finest Georgia evergreen tree bark which is the foundation of his entire
garden`-- where he overwinters all his seedlings and tests them for their
hardiness, a test which if they fail they are discarded. But a beautiful
garden, is only as good as the plants that inhabit it and it is here Bill
has excelled. He has carefully and deliberately bred dormant genes into
every cross he has made, because, as he reflects, if the plant cannot travel
much beyond where it was hybridized, what is the purpose of hybridizing it
to begin with. The first of Bill`s plants we purchased five years ago now
were sent with doubles of each because Bill asked us to plant them in
different parts of our garden to see how they fared in our much colder
northern climate, in case the plant in one area died. Not only did none
die, but all thrived as the clumps these have now made attest to their
hardiness. Bill`s program focused largely on his current program, and his
futures, with the astonishing green edges he got on his two most in demand
2010 introductions - the siblings Irish Lace and Emerald Halo (Leslie Renee
x Angels Gather Around) x (Leslie Renee x Angels Gather Around). With
the strong dormant genes of Leslie Renee cemented in this breeding these
glorious flowers will be able to travel and make themselves at home in
diverse gardens and diverse climates, which is Bill`s aim. I am pretty sure
these, and the others we purchased from him this year,
including Diana`s first intro, a dreamy big green diploid called Lemon
Curls -- will be in demand in gardens and in hybridizing programs across the
world for years to come.

When auction time came up at the Can-AM Irish Lace, Emerald Halo and several
other Waldrop introductions brought incredibly spirited bidding and the
plants -- by now I believe either sold out or close to it in Bill's Georgia
garden went for more than the introduction price to a number of very happy
attendees. (You can visit Bill`s website at: )

Barry Matthie, a gifted Canadian hybridizer from Bloomfield, Ontario (in the
centre of what is a new and important wine growing region in central Canada)
followed Bill Waldrop­. Barry has a special affection for spiders and
unusual forms and his presentation featured many of the both as current
introductions and futures, along with his current and future full formed and
toothy introductions. Barry spent a good part of his talk showing pictures
of the open farm fields in which he plants his seeds and grows on seedlings
-- in conditions far less coddled than I suspect 99% of us would dare
attempt any more. But Barry is a farmer from generations of people who have
farmed on the land he inhabits, across the road from his father (on Matthie
Road) and he knows better than anyone what is or is not possible. Barry
also showed photos of his 'greenhouse' which he now uses to get a jump of a
month or more on his hybridizing program so that he has more time to devote
to his field daylilies and the garden plants (more than 300 different
hosta, and a variety of other lilies and plants that he and his wife Maggie
Goode sell to garden visitors each summer).

His greenhouse used to be a three chambered glass greenhouse structure
employed by a local garden centre, long since defunct, near where he lives.
I remember passing it on my way to his place when I first visited his garden
in search of more modern daylilies than I could find closer to home, and
mourning the fact such a lovely big structure was sitting unused, broken and
forlorn look. Well, worry no more! It took three years for Barry to bring
over all the pieces and assemble the entire building, section by section
over that time but it is now, as of this spring, finally finished. What I
found very interesting with his 'greenhouse' is that it is actually covered
with the 6 mm plastic typically used in hoop houses and not glass or
polycarbonate. Barry removes the plastic covering in late fall to allow
snow to fall and cover all his plants contained therein -- these are his
selects and hybridizing plants -- to ensure they get a full dose of
Canadian winter, Barry said he would recover the greenhouse structure on his
return from the Can-AM to provide the micro climate that will encourage his
plants -- already seen as up in the roofless structure -- to grow and give
him the early bloom for his early hybridizing activities. It was
fascinating to see and I look forward to visiting it early this summer to
see it when it is really up and going full tilt! (You can visit Barry`s
website at: )

Barry was followed by Nicole Harry, who has clearly earned all the accolades
coming her way from daylily folk world wide. Nicole showed us the real wow
factor, in both the recent past, and the current and future introductions
she is growing in her meticulously kept Apopka, Florida, garden. Her
commentary on why she elected to make the crosses she did -- and what she
expected and what she got -- that created some of her most stunning intros
and futures showed a depth of knowledge and a very real appreciation and
understanding of the genetics of the plants actively used in her hybridizing
program. Her presentation shows the building blocks on which her program has
been built, and it is clear this queen of the luscious Florida full form
knows exactly where she is going. Nicole Harry is important, not just for
her obvious hybridizing genius, but to AHS and its members, by virtue of the
fact she is young, incredibly knowledgeable, very articulate and she serves
as a very important role model for other young individuals tempted by the
daylily hybridizing bug. All organizations need to plan for a future that
must reflect generational change as their membership ages, and Nicole, and
young guys like Chris von Kohn in Texas, my own son Mick and his wife
Jennifer who are just entering their 40s, and youngsters like 12-year old
Michael Gregorinski, who attended this Can-AM with his Dad Jerry, along with
the 20 something niece of attendee Wendolyn Nicholds who lives in NY state
and clearly has caught the daylily bug, are the future of the
organization. Given her eminent capabilities and her successes already as a
hybridizer and speaker, Nicole and her inspired hybridizing program are
critical assets for the AHS to use to encourage the next generation of

Nicole's generosity was also very much in evidence at this meeting, as
multiple fans of her current or very recent introductions found their way
into the eager hands and gardens of many of the attendees. My son Mick had
been in her garden the week before, helping John Peat, Barry Matthie, and
Jamie Gossard assemble plants for the Can-AM, and he had picked up our new
order (to add to four or five of Nicole's intros that have been here and
overwintered in our garden for the past one or two years) and Mick's words
to me as I left the house were "Mom, if I can encourage you to get one thing
we don't already have, for heavens sakes go after Nicole Harry's plants.
You should see the quality of the plants in her garden". I took Mick's
advice to heart and spent the bulk of my auction expenditures on six more
of Nicole's introductions. (You can visit Nicole's website at: )

Nicole's presentation took us to the end of Day One of the Can-AM Niagara.

Tony Thompson -- or someone by that name who certainly looked like the photo
and sort of talked like the guy in the photos that most of us think we know
from his trailer park stories... but obviously don't know that well at all!
-- was the first speaker up on Saturday morning. Our only clue that the guy
who delivered one of the best talks I have ever had the honour of hearing
about how to set up a wildlife habitat on your property -- was the fact he
delivered a few classic trailer park lines to accompany some obviously
trailer park humour, before he delivered a meaningful message on the things
we can to to help the wildlife -- birds and critters -- that live alongside
us in whatever area we inhabit.

It was a heartfelt, intuitive, intelligent presentation advocating for the
creation and preservation of habitat for those creatures who cannot advocate
for themselves. Tony's talk betrayed a sophisticated and substantial
knowledge of the nature of the flora, fauna and wildlife Tony and his wife
Susie share their eco-system with, and it illuminated his substantial
knowledge, and deep commitment to putting in place ways in which
individuals should, and can, easily accommodate these other inhabitants into
our lifestyles, which we are living out in THEIR natural habitat. Tony's
message is they, and we, all benefit in very real ways from all these
voiceless creatures can teach us if we provide them with a habitable and
welcome sanctuary. Tony Thompson showed us why we intuitively get great
vibes when we read his posts, or hear him do his trailer park shtick. This
guy wears his heart and his emotions openly when he advocates so wonderfully
as he did for those who cannot advocate for themselves. It was an
eye-opening and inspiring presentation.

Folks, this piece is getting long, and rather than have someone write me, as
someone I certainly would never care to have in my circle of friends did
recently when I posted three fairly short paragraphs, and she remonstrated
me for writing too long a post, and advised "I am going to hit delete on all
your posts from now on", I will close for now and cover John Kinnebrew,
Melanie Vassallo, Jeff Corbett, myself (yes, I spoke... very fast I hear and
with a lovely English accent I heard from one person!) and Jamie Gossard's
second presentation, in a post tomorrow.

The Can-Am Niagara - Oh What a Feeling! - Part III

Greetings all. Another fine day here in rural Manotick, Ont., but not with
the wonderful hot temperatures we enjoyed for most of the Easter Weekend.
With my cold mercifully gone, and overcast skies, hopefully this will be an
excellent chance for me to finish my never ending saga of the Can-Am Niagara
that was held a week ago now.

John Kinnebrew Jr. followed Tony Thompson's memorable presentation on how to
set up (and be designated) a wildlife habitat. It was both heartening, and
heartbreaking to see him as the last time I had seen anyone from Kinnebrew
Gardens it was during the May 2009 Mecca/AHS convention period when I made
it to the garden for a brief visit the day before the heavens opened and
Marjorie was there to welcome me. She thanked us for buying their full
collection that year, then proudly showed me the year`s blooms and
seedlings. Marjorie is forever cemented in my mind because I knew it was
her organization and hard work that has kept that garden pristine and going
strong -- a necessity with John Jr. working daytimes and finding as much
time as he could when off work to maintain the garden and hybridize. It was
hard to believe last May when she was the vision of health that Marjorie
would be lost to us all three months later in August, just 18 days after my
mother's also completely unexpected passing. Life deals hard hands very
unexpectedly sometimes.

John Jr's presentation was a superbly crafted presentation that paid honour
to his Mum especially, and his Dad, and to the unique family garden operated
by the whole Kinnebrew family. It is a small garden, by the standards of
Florida gardens, located in a residential neighbourhood immediately adjacent
to the Kinnebrew family home, the plants are grown in full and open
sun, some in ground and some in raised box beds packed so tightly
together you must move sideways down the aisles to ensure you do not damage
bloom scapes. There is no shade cloth anywhere in the garden -- the canopy
of a large tree in the garden provides the only relief from
the intense midday heat so visitors see blooms as they will appear in any
garden after being beaten down by the heat, sun, or the afternoon rain
showers that are frequent there in May. There is also no hybridizing
greenhouse filled with selected cultivars artificially chilled down to
provide the optimum temperature for hybridizing with them. This is a
natural garden, with daylilies grown in the typical conditions most
growers provide for their plants. Moreover, at least while Marjorie was
there overseeing the garden, there were no defined hours to limit visits to
the garden, so you truly could see how blooms held up. But the constant
that made this garden hum was Marjorie, there from first light in the
morning to greet you and proudly show you the garden, or there in the
evening deadheading as nightfall approached, as I found on at least two
occasions when I brought late visitors, and Marjorie and often John Sr. and
Jr. would drop everything to be accommodating, inviting and welcoming.

The Kinnebrew hybridizing program has undergone some dramatic changes in the
handful of years since I first viewed it first hand, going from a garden
that was then widely nuanced shades of yellow through orange, to a garden
today that offers every colour in electric - vibrantly neon colours that
range from reds to violets, to purples, dark purples, near blacks juxtaposed
with pristine clean, easy opening whites, in both introductions and up and
comers in the seedling beds. The shapes and sizes have changed, they eyes
have become increasingly complex and sophisticated, yet the whole program,
when you see it, you know instinctively and quickly, that these are
Kinnebrew garden plants, because they have that special look that makes them
distinct from the offerings of every one of the other Florida gardens. The
Kinnebrew type daylily is something we dearly love here in our Canadian
garden, and Spacecoast daylilies have featured very significantly as parents
in plants we have already registered and others we will be registering in
future. My sincere hope is that John Jr. will be able to continue to
marshal all the resources available to him, and find ways to juggle his out
of garden working career with the incredible seasonal demands of one of the
world's top hybridizing gardens, so that Spacecoast daylilies remain a
continuing prominent feature of the Florida daylily experience. (Visit the
Kinnebrew Daylily Garden at )

I have for years, enjoyed the frequent Robin posts of Melanie Dorausch
Vassallo, from Long Island, NY, and it was therefore a positive delight to
put a face to this erudite and knowledgeable plant expert. Some of us know a
lot (or maybe not) about a few types of plants, and I am one of those, but I
knew from reading her posts that Melanie's knowledge and practice with
plants is extensive, expansive and adventurous, so I was prepared to be
blown away, and blown away I was by her enchanting presentation.

It was like sitting at the feet of a master watching as
Melanie's beautifully crafted presentation 'The Tapestry Garden' unfolded
both the world of plant diversity available to us all if we open our eyes
and hearts and minds to them, and the gardening possibilities those plants
present to all, including those of us myopically interested in daylilies.
Her images are drawn mostly from her own Long Island garden -- and oh what
an oasis of beauty, peace and calm and sense of joy that garden must bring
her and those who visit it! But more images come from the gardens of her
family in Germany, and from beautiful tapestry gardens she has visited in
Europe and the USA. All of her images were individual works of art in and
of themselves -- little tapestries of delight for our eyes to sink in and
enjoy. They were exquisite, all the more so because they allowed us to both
savour the richness of Melanie's garden knowledge and experience, but to
view also the artistry with which she sees, in her minds eye, then creates in
the landscape, an intensely simple, yet intensely complex personal tapestry
garden where plants work in harmony, with each other and with nature, to
create a complexly woven tapestry of living beauty..

Tapestry Gardens typically feature an omnivorous selection of plants,
ranging from diverse perennials, annuals, herbs, grasses, and even
daylilies!, that planted separately, and/or together or in
groupings, capture and create, in what should manifest as a completely
effortless manner (and doing that in itself is obviously a great art to
carry it off as well and as charmingly as Melanie did) -- texture, colour,
mood, ambiance, in small, or not so small spaces. The limits of a tapestry
garden are the limits established only in the mind of the artful creator,
and Melanie's garden images show her mastery. It is no surprise therefore
to hear, that though Melanie must by year's end, disassemble and disperse
much of her Long Island garden because the house must be sold as part of the
division of assets resulting from her marriage breakdown, the garden will
live on as Melanie plans to write a book and share her extensive knowledge
and appreciation for tapestry gardens.

As I listened to Melanie's soft spoken commentary, saw her obvious emotion
and love for the plants she knows so well, and blends with such art into her
tapestry gardens, saw her obvious willingness to share her knowledge
generously with those wishing to know more, and answer questions however
simply or banal, in a way that shows her joy of sharing knowledge, I could
only contrast her with our local version of plant expert extraordinaire --
the well schooled, highly knowledgeable but cantankerously condescending
Mrs. Schmidt, who runs her design company, and her staff like a little
general, and who scoffs and scorns any visitor to her truly wonderful, and
complex garden centre, should they mispronounce a single plant name, or
misname something. Melanie knows that customers come because they love the
fact you know and share your knowledge so generously, and you take the time
and effort to help those willing to learn build their learning curve. There
is no question in my mind that wherever Melanie settles next those there
will gain a treasure as a neighbour, gardener and friend. (I do not believe
Melanie has a website you can visit at this time).

The soft-spoken Jeff Corbett, from Roseville, California (in the regional
around Sacramento) was the first speaker on the Saturday afternoon. Though
he is an American Jeff is a member of the Canadian Hemerocallis Society, and
has been since the start (membership is not limited to Canadians) so it was
wonderful to meet him for the first time. Jeff's slide presentation was a
bit shorter than most other presenters because he has recently been moving
his garden and setting it up in association with two friends (including
Keith Miner who is known to most of us, and a friend who has spent his
working career assessing rice plantings in California... but who has now
discovered considerably more genetic diversity in daylilies). Jeff
generously devoted at least half his comments and images to his two friends
and we look forward, in future to seeing more of their seedlings and future

I think most CHS members are familiar with Jeff's early introductions ,
beginning with Shelter Cove, Quest For Atlantis, Song Of The
South-- followed a few years later by his very well received introduction
Bonnie Holley in 2006. We have these and his Midnight Rendezvous growing in
our garden and all have grown extremely well on site here for at least three

This year Jeff found time to introduce five new plants, and more will
becoming soon, he promised, as his re-established garden means he will be
able to grow on promising seedlings he has identified as future
intros. The strength of Jeff's hybridizing program and its vision for the
future is clearly seen in the photos of the plant finalists for the CHS full
form daylily awards that was the subject of recent voting by CHS members and
AHS and other non CHS members. I believe 4 of the 14 full formed plants for
which ballots could be cast were hybrids produced by Jeff Corbett, the
highest number of any member hybridizer, and in voting, plant number 5,
which is a Jeff Corbett seedling TIED with plant number 9 (hybridized as it
turns out by Mick Morry) to share the title as 2009 winner of the
meritorious seedling award for full form daylilies. ON the AHS and non CHS
member ballots however Jeff's plant was far and away the runaway winner
amongst those voters. (See)

As a final note on Jeff's plant and gardens, Jeff maintains a pretty decent
inventory of cutting edge daylilies at good prices on his website and it is
worth a visit to see if there is something there that strikes your fancy.
(See Jeff's website at )

The final speaker of the day, was myself, Lanny Morry. My addition to the
speakers agenda was late breaking news in the week prior to the
Can-AM Niagara (-- at least to me). I used the occasion to tell the story
of how we -- the collective we of my son Mick Morry, myself, and Mick's wife
Jennifer Patterson -- came to be hybridizing daylilies in the first place,
and to describe what our inspirations and goals were. To those who do not
already know the story, we - Mick and I pre the arrival on the scene of
Jennifer -- were avid orchid growers. I owned and grew orchids from the
time I was a university student. As Mick grew up he was used to having
rooms full of three tier plant light units holding hundreds then thousands
of orchids, and Mick too became fascinated with them. Eventually we had the
entire basement of our residence full of these units, which included
hundreds of flasks of phalaenopsis orchid seedlings Mick had hybridized, and
that had been plated and flasked for us in California at considerable
expense, after which the plan was for us to grow them on for the 3 to 7
years needed to bring them to maturity, Our investment in those plants was
substantial, and it was destroyed quickly and forever when, on 4 January
1998, we were hit with a terrible ice storm which hung over our region for 4
days, coating electrical wires and trees with ice so thick they fell, taking
down wires and poles in the process. In the dead of winter, in -20C
temperatures, we lost all electricity, which was what heated and lit my
house. We had no wood stove, no generator, and no ability to get off the
property to acquire anything for four days because the tree and wire debris
on the road made travel impossible until units of the Canadian armed forces
and many volunteers were able to clear roadways and allow help to be brought
to people. We lived for 19 days in these conditions without heat of any
kind, and all our orchids were lost.

The following spring as we hauled the debris from our felled trees out to
line it out along the frontage of our property for removal by professional
firms (more than 700 feet of dead tree limbs piled high with the help of
friends and relatives) Mick and I notice that all the plants in the garden
that has been buried under feet of ice until the snow and ice melted, were
up and growing beautifully.

The light went on, literally, in both our heads at once. We could not,
should not, would not ever again try to grow and market a plant so
incredibly needy for both high light and warm temperatures that we had to
grow it in hot house conditions in a country and in a region known to be
bitterly cold and often covered with heavy blankets of snow for more than
four months of every year. But we could, and should look to what we could
grow outdoors that might give us the same pleasure. As those plants buried
under all that ice finally reached their blooming season they put on the
most awesome show we could recollect them ever offering. They were our
daylilies and the joy at their bloom replaced the gloom of our tragic
losses. From that day forth we decided to grow what we could properly and
adequately grow in our growing zone.

That summer of 1999 Mick began to hybridize again, just as he had with
orchids. Unfortunately, he didn't at first tell me, and so as I would see a
pod setting on plants I would cut the scape off or pull the pod off. It was
only after Mick asked if I had seen his pods and did I know what had
happened to them, that I realized I had been destroying his first
hybridizing efforts. I apologized for my mistake, and told Mick if he
really wanted to have fun we should get more daylilies and make the effort
more interesting. We set out to find more and better plants for him to work
with.... and the Avalonia program that descends from those early plants was
founded on the basis of those mostly 20 year old plants.

My CHS presentation took us through from what Mick and I always call the
'Dr. Johnny Fever moment' that occurred in the very first episode of WKRP in
Cincinnatti. For those who may remember this is where Johnny Fever, who is
obviously a rocker, is forced to play funereal music on a radio station
whose main advertiser is in fact a funeral home broadcasting notices of
wakes. Then it is announced that a new purchaser has taken over the
station, and the format is being changed, effectively immediately to rock n'
roll. When he is certain it is for real, Fever springs to life--and scrapes
the needle heavily across the album that is playing live, and then grabs the
dirge off the turntable and bounces it off the control room wall. Johnny
then grabs a select piece of rock music he could only thereto for listen to
privately in the studio, puts it on the turntable, hikes the volume to 150
decibels, and revels in the moment and the music.

The realization that there was a wonderful life outside orchids -- and it
was called daylilies was truly our Johnny Fever moment. The 150 photos I
zipped the presentation through in a timely (some would say breathless) 30
minute presentation -- chronicled the plants we started with, Mick's first
important hybrids and the genetic legacy those first four important plants
and then later hybrids of his, and mine, and most recently his wife
Jennifer, have produced for us in the way of registrations and future
introductions, right down to the present. Those wanting to see where we
have gotten to in our deliberately chosen path of hybridizing well bred
southern plants with northern hardy dormant plants that we have either
acquired or created to produce modern hardy daylilies that survive
wonderfully in our tough zone 4b environment need only visit our webpages
at to see how well we have fared.

On a final note, I promised to say more about why Jamie Gossard's
presentation so impressed me, so I will repeat here what I told one of those
who asked me to expand on what I said privately to her:

I am going to finish my report on the Can-AM and I will incorporate some of
why I said what I said about Jamie in that because he did two presentations,
and the one that blew my mind was the last presentation of the
conference. Jamie has done most of the most valuable conversions (from dips
to tets) in the daylily world. Most of the big hybridizers now producing
blue eyes, from Elizabeth Salter, to Stamile, to Frank Smith all owe Jamie
big time because he is the one that gave them early access to conversions
only he could make that began to introduce a whole pile of new genetics into
hybridizing programs. His conversions of complex eyes and patterns, and his
thinking outside the box manner in which he then hybridized these plants to
unexpected plants to provide first or second generation ufo and spider
tetraploids incorporating these new traits, along with his addition of teeth
through similar adventurous breeding, means there are now a ton of things
people haven't see coming down the line that so expand the universe of the
tetraploid daylily beyond the conventional, pretty bagels with simple eyes,
In his second presentation Jamie showed the children or grandchildren of
plants he introduced this year. This year's introductions are OK, but I
will confess even I didn't see them as ground breaking. But when you see
how he bred them and with what, to produce huge flowers with such
outstanding, never before seen patterns in daylilies, and you see slide
after slide after slide of awesome completely new features -- 10 inch
spiders with concentric rings of different colours extending from the throat
to nearly the end of the petals and sepals -- which are heavily shark
toothed, and in colours were we haven't see teeth before -- you realize that
if he can do this in usually one, sometimes two generations to make you
gasp, then surely these same plants, once introduced and bred by others be
it conventionally or following some sort of a plan of an individual
hybridizer that makes them unique -- will produce daylilies of types, eyes
and patterns never seen before, incredibly expanding the universe.

I for one plan on getting some of the plants coming down the line and my
plan is to breed them to what I call my hotties -- very intense coloured
flowers of more conventional forms along with some of my ufos -- to try to
add size, and complex patterns, new colours in patterns, etc. into those

Jamie is a hybridizers hybridizer because that is who is best served by what
he produces. The more imagination the hybridizer has using his plants, the
greater will be the leaps that can be expected because the genetics are so
totally new anything is possible. Those that breed within type - size,
form, or within a single colour range -- will not be very successful in
exploiting what he has created to be used to advance the daylily. His
plants are for those seeking an adventure in the possibilities of daylily
hybridizing, and damn the convention cautious approach so many typically

On a final, final note, on the CHS Niagara, I want to commend John Peat for
his organizational skills, running a program so smoothly and seamlessly all
of us had the luxury to be able to enjoy ourselves without worrying about
positively anything. This guy invests his heart and soul and considerable
energies into one of the best run three day events I have ever had the good
fortune to attend. It was A+++ all the way - John and I thank you for

Lanny Morry
Avalonia Whippets and Daylilies