SEEDLING PAGE 13

 

We are very excited to post this page. It is dedicated to a newly introduced cultivar MEMORIAL TO STEVE. Just when you think it can't get any better, it does. We have never had a seedling with such a bud count. On two year old plants in our very worst soil, the "clay soup" bed, MEMORIAL TO STEVE had a typical bud count of 50 to 72 buds. That is quite unusual for a 6" tetraploid, if not unique.

 

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This is a 2007 seedling which has put MEMORIAL TO STEVE on the top of the first page of our list of pollen parents of choice. It is MTS crossed to a seedling out of MARY'S BABY. In a sea of seedlings that were so drought stressed that most did not even bloom and those that did had bud counts that were tiny, this seedling shone. Click on the second image to see the kind of plant that is under it. We expect to see a plant that is even better when conditions are normal. 

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Here is a seedling that surprised us this year. It is a cross of MEMORIAL TO STEVE and ASHWOOD SUMMER SUNSHINE. It is not what we would have predicted from that cross but who cares? The teeth are a surprise, and a pleasant one at that.  The seedling number is T08-34. It would not surprise me if this one made the final cut eventually for introduction. 

 

 

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Above is a seedling which can claim MEMORIAL TO STEVE as its uncle. It is out of seedling T04-23, a full sib to MTS. Needless to say this seedling gave us reason to go back and revisit the breeding ability of the sib. There were several other very good one that showed up from 4-23 in 20007 but this is our favorite. This fine seedling is looking more and more like a future introduction. 

 

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T08-49 was pleasant surprise this past summer, showing a pattern in sculpting that is different form most we have seen. Neither parent is sculpted so where did this characteristic come from? I do not know. But to have it in a color other than yellow is great. It will be fun to work with T08-49.

 

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There is a world of good things to be said about MEMORIAL TO STEVE. The bud count is certainly one of the top features. The number of buds and their placement on the long, widely spaced branches allows a floral display that is more glorious than that of any other cultivar we have grown. You may agree when you look at the image below. Click on the thumbnail above and see what you think. 

You are seeing what MEMORIAL TO STEVE looks like for several weeks in midseason. There are so many flowers open that the top of the clump is a veritable carpet of blooms. For a week to ten days at the beginning and the end of its bloom cycle this cultivar gives a display of blooms that would be typical of any very good cultivar. A total bloom season of more than a month will give great pleasure. All in all that makes for a floral display that is simply spectacular.

By now you may have thought about all those large flowered tet cultivars you have seen that have spent blossoms which interfere with the opening and appearance of the new blossoms. If you will carefully look at the above image you will be able to tell that there has been no grooming of the clump. You will also see that the blossoms are opened well and there is little, if any, interference from the blooms of the previous day. The spent blooms do not fall off immediately but simply shrivel and dry more quickly than is usual, getting out of the way of the coming blooms Some grooming of the clumps might offer a little improvement but it is not necessary the way it is with most large flowered tet cultivar.

The bud counts, the branching and the way the flowers close should be of immense value to the hybridizer. However, these very same characteristics will make MEMORIAL TO STEVE a spectacular choice for the home gardener. If just these three traits can be passed along to even a small portion of the offspring, there may be many fantastic introductions to come from this line of breeding.  MTS sets a new standard for what a superior northern cultivar should be.

The following image illustrates the quality of the scape which supports the grand floral display of MEMORIAL TO STEVE. You can see that the branching is long and widely spaced, about the picture of textbook branching. The flowers are left free to open well.

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The fans on MEMORIAL TO STEVE are a deep green and very healthy. They are quite large and robust with average or better increase. We were pleased to learn in the last several months as we brought some of the fans into the greenhouse that they made the transition without a need to rest. They are now (12/7/06), after 6 weeks in the greenhouse, the largest, best looking fans there. Although they are on the dormant side of semi-evergreen, they would seem to be able to get along without the dormant period so many strongly dormant plants need. Outside the plants are very vigorous and hardy, showing no signs of tenderness. They have already spent 5 winters outside in a bed which has the most extreme freeze/thaw cycles being in almost pure clay. This "soil" is only one step away from a material that would be quite useful for making pots. When the soil in this bed was planted in daylilies for the first time in the fall of 2004 the constant rains followed by the freeze cycles destroyed a major portion of the plants that were put there. MTS came through with flying colors, having no losses from the onslaught of the weather. 

With all fine attributes of MEMORIAL TO STEVE, it would be a very worthy introduction if it were a plain flower. It is not in any way plain. As you will see from the individual blossom below, the bloom is quite pretty with distinct elements of sophistication. The white outline border on the wide sepals is special. There is a nice ruffled edge and gold outlines the ruffling. The shading is a fine clear pink with lavender overtones

MEMORIAL TO STEVE is (ELIZABETH'S DREAM X ENCHANTED APRIL) X GREAT WHITE.

 

  

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