Monday, 15 November 2010
One of my first plant crushes was with daylilies. I was intrigued when I first came across them to find that each daylily baby is a new plant, a new face. As with roses the genes come together differently in each seed and lead to an infinite number of unique new plants.
To make seed you simply brush pollen from the large anthers (boy bits) of one plant onto the stigma (girl bit) of another . Most times especially in the early cooler part of the season, around now, a pod forms full of plump black seeds. Once planted it can take the plant a couple of years to flower, but if you sow a few each year you can have new faces each season.
When I first got my hands on some named daylilies I got a little obsessed with breeding the perfect flower, I recorded each cross and waited impatiently to collect seeds which then went into labelled bags. Quite quickly though plants were moved, seeds were mixed, labels fell off, we moved house. I'm not really made for that level of organisation, I prefer to randomly cross the ones I like that are open at the same time, collect a bunch of seeds and sow them all in a large flat once a year. Any that survive the tough love round here get squeezed into a pocket of free space. Its taken a while but the last three years I have had new seedlings flowering. The anticipation of watching a unflowered bud grow and bloom is wonderful, though a couple have budded up for the first time only to be beheaded by a soccer ball at the last moment. Which means waiting a whole extra year - so its not a pastime for the impatient.
Here are some pictures of a couple of recent babies. Daylilies have just started flowering for the year and this first, pale one opened its first bloom yesterday. I love the way it has colour coded itself with the surrounding plants. No sign of buds on my rose babies yet, but I have ten tiny plants so fingers crossed.
p.s. Show & Tell will be posted Tuesday week and I can't wait. As usual its a secret but I can tell you that the blogger was suggested by one of my past interviewees...