Greetings all, Lanny Morry here in Manotick, Ont. Canada where we are
getting our second day of rain since the end of July (the wettest month on
record), and we are welcoming the showers on this the first day of Autumn.

It is sometimes very hard to describe a daylily accurately when you register
it -- because how it grows for you -- from first bloom to last, and where
you grow it - north, south, whatever zone, all affect how the plant presents
it when acquired later on by someone with different growing circumstances
than your own. The dilemma of accurately sizing or even accurately
representing a plant's appearance, really can only be described, as best a
hybridizer can, based on their current conditions and that is what we try to
do here, knowing that the plant grown elsewhere may be vastly different
grown elsewhere. Some examples are useful.

My son Mick hybridized and has grown on and heavily used a ufo daylily in
his hybridizing program called Area 51. Area 51 is a bloom of 5.5 to 6
inches here in our garden, and it is tall and elegant and stands high in the
garden on a good long scape held well above the foliage, and that is how
Mick described it for the AHS registration. The photo he provided was a
good example of the flower but over the years since the plant has reached
positive maturity, the flower is more intense in colour than you see in the
AHS registration photo and the eye zone is greatly more pronounced. Area 51
is known by us as I hybridize with it too -- for its ability to throw larger
flowers, many of which are ufo in form and style too.

This summer Mick enjoyed a number of new Area 51 first bloom seedlings
including two monstrously large bloom seedlings. The most interesting of
these from the perspective of sizing was a cross he did hybriding Area 51 to
Ted Petit's Gary Colby. Any of you who have Gary Colby know it is a big
flower, but you also know it is a short flower on a short scape. That is
the reality of the plant. Gary Colby is, in fact, so short in our garden
(about 16 inches and this after growing it here from the time we bought it
at its introduction) that we have it as an edging plant. Well, the first
Gary Colby kid to bloom was this summer and it was the one crossed with Area
51. We grow our plants in raised box beds that are 10 inches high. One of
the scapes in the seedling box where this seedling bloomed this year, was
notably tall which was our first clue it was taking after Area 51 and not
Gary Colby in height, at least. It was at least 48 inches tall when the
first flower opened. The first bloom that opened looked like Area 51 on
steroids... it had a blend of the colouring of both parents, but it was a
UFO of mammoth proportions -- I would estimate 10 inches plus, and in
fact so big my handspan, which can cover over an octave on the piano, could
not span from edge to edge of the petals. To photograph the plant we had to
stand on the top of the box to accurately be able to capture the whole bloom
or we had to bend the scape. The plant was both so tall and so big, that
was the best way to photograph it. As the bloom season continued the bloom
size began to change, and the monster first two flowers it produced were
replaced with flowers that were still large and averaged 7 to 9 inches
instead. There was variability depending on temperature. Finally, as the
flowers on the plant bloomed out the overall bloom size seemed to settle in
at 7 plus inches, but the final bloom on the plant, which is often the
smallest, was on this plant also -- only about 6 inches.

Now, if we lived in a place where you could take this plant and grow it on
for introduction in a year or so as some in the south can and do do - and
something we do not have the luxury of being able to do -- perhaps even in
year two you would see these variations. Perhaps the height of the scape
might vary from one year to the next given weather conditions, and perhaps
the bloom size would be variable depending on weather too -- and have a
range of an inch or more between first and last bloom (in the case of the
plant I mention the range was close to 4 inches between the biggest and
smallest and Mick had two other first bloom seedlings both with Area 51
parentage which produced similar variations this year).

So how would you go about describing the plant for introduction? What we
try to do is to stick to the average height and size of the bloom over the
seasons we have it, here in our circumstances. We record this information
and keep it in a book which we consult, year to year. But when we send our
plants for instance to Karen Newman who test gardens for us in Tennessee, we
hear how greatly different, usually much bigger, the same plant can be in
her circumstances, how much greater the branching is --she mentioned one in
her garden now that we saw as 3-4 way branching and Mick registered it as
such an in her garden it is consistently 5 to 7 way branching with
significantly higher bud counts, and rebloom.

All of this to say, you can only do your honest level best to describe
plants you hybridize based on the circumstances you live in. You have to
dance with the one who brung you -- and you cannot second guess your plants
attributes based on what you project it may be like in any other
environment. If the plant performs better in a more hospitable climate than
we can provide -- and we are in zone 4b/5, so much the better. Frankly I
cannot imagine anyone will be upset with a hybridizer whose plant
overperforms the specs provided for it at registration if they know that is
how the plant appeared in the hybridizers garden. I do however think that
those who overstate size, height, branching and number of blooms to make a
plant attractive to purchasers-- and hopefully, and I sincerely believe
this, that these folks are scarcer to find than hens teeth -- will not be as
kindly regarded as those of us who try our level best to give people an
honest picture of what we have observed, and recorded, in our garden with
any cultivar we introduce.

Ms. Lanny

Lanny Morry
Avalonia Whippets and Daylilies