Tuesday, November 9, 2010

2011 Introductions

This year I'm introducing two varieties from a new goal: Tall and Small Reds and Purples.

But before I get into that, first let me remind you of the Clump Photo Contest! Free Intros as Prizes!  Only two people have remembered to enter so far: lots more can win.

As a small-scale breeder, I don't introduce a fixed number each year: I introduce only the exceptional. And I have to wait until I have a supply. That would take a long time in my poor garden: I'm indebted to Bob SobekMartin KamenskyMike Derrow, and Carl & Marlene Harmon for increasing my seedlings.

Red Spire (Saxton 96)
I've been inspired by H. A. Fischer's hybridizing of tall and small flowers such as Corky and Golden Chimes. These have graceful, swaying scapes with lots of branches and buds and extraordinary plant characteristics. Unfortunately, he stopped about 40 years ago, and stayed in yellows.  Stanley Saxton led the way into red tall-and-small with the extraordinary (but slow to increase and scarce) Red Spire.  Bob Sobek has also worked on height, branching, color clarity, and sunfastness of reds and purples.  I'm combining the Saxton and Sobek efforts to continue the tall-and-small theme into reds and purples and bring the flower colors and forms into more modern and diverse directions.

My tall-and-small Red Spire breeding in reds and red-purples has a naming theme based on 'blood'.  I'm introducing these because not only are they exceptional garden plants, but they are excellent breeders passing on intense, clear colors, strong sunfastness, excellent increase, height and good branching.

Arterial Blood (Huben 11)

44 M 3.5, Red Self, Dor Dip
Sobek 90.34A=(City Of Sin * Pardon Me) * Red Spire
Seedling number: MH0377C

Here is my first tall-and-small red, and it is glorious.  Brilliant, velvety, saturated, flaming lipstick-red flowers with green throats held far above the foliage like embers rising from a fire.  Oh, there have been other tall-and-small reds, but they are mostly dull in comparison.

Red clarity in daylilies has many enemies: sun, thrips, and dull color.  Arterial Blood is more sunfast than most (though it will slick on particularly bad days and recover in the evening.)  I reject most reds from my garden because they are less sunfast.  But its particular strength is in thrips resistance: resisting those winding trails that blemish the petals of so many purples and reds.  In my unsprayed garden, Arterial Blood seldom shows any markings.  Dull red color is another bane in my garden: I despise it.  Often it is due to a yellow throat and base color underlying a weak red.  Arterial Blood's rich, deep coloring over a pale base color and green throat make this one of the more brilliant flowers in the garden.

Arterial Blood's height, branching and budding comes from the excellent Red Spire.  Branching and budcount are extraordinary (at least 27 buds and 5 branches.)  I pollinate every bloom because this one has proven to be the most vigorous and rhyzomatious of the Red Spire kids to date. Red Spire itself increases slowly and doesn't do all that well in my poor conditions, but Arterial Blood greatly outperforms it.

The children of Arterial Blood are quite diverse, but some are showing excellent clarity, sunfastness, height, branching, budcount, thrip resistance, color saturation, and rhyzomatiousness.  Colors vary from reds to red-purples to black-reds.  See MH0875B and MH0873D for examples.

Venous Blood (Huben 11)

50 M 4.5, Purple Self, Dor Dip
Sobek 93.36 * Red Spire
Seedling number: MH0379B

I want clear, sunfast colors on graceful, species-like plants, and Venous Blood delivers them.

The color of Venous Blood is a clear, velvety red-purple that can reflect light off the velvet.  It glows beautifully when backlit, highlighting the yellow-green throat.  It doesn't slick for me, though it can look dull in drought conditions.

What do I mean by species-like?  Tall, graceful scapes with excellent branching and budcount.  (5 branches, 34 buds.)  Flowers that avoid the baroque fashions, and resemble the species in size,  form, and simplicity.  Vigorous, rapid increase even in poor conditions in the north.

If you'd like a flower that dances at chest height on slender, swaying scapes for 4 weeks (no rebloom here), this is a great one for an accent or the back of the border.  It's a little large for a tall-and-small program, but that's hardly a fault in the garden.  If we wanted all short plants, we could stick to petunias!

2011 Prices, Availability and Ordering

Due to a delightfully large and unexpected demand, especially for collections, I'm holding nearly all previous introductions for increase.  If you must, desperately have the previous introductions held for increase, please wait until next year, search for them elsewhere, or offer us double last year's price.

Snowy Stella is back in stock again!

Scroll to the end of this post for the two sources.
44 M 3.5, Red Self, Dor Dip
Tall-And-Small Red. Brilliant, velvety, in-your-face, red blooms.  Thrips and sun resistant, 27 buds, 5 branches.  Excellent increase!

$50 sf
50 M 4.5, Purple Self, Dor Dip
Tall-And-Small Purple. Bright, clear, velvety, in-your-face, red-purple blooms.  Sunfast, 34 buds, 5 branches. Vigorous increase!

$50 sf
24 E Re 3.25, NearWhite Self, Dor Dip
Northern Continuous Rebloom. The whitest northern rebloomer, available at last! Very rapid increase.

$80 df
26 E Re 4, Peach Polychrome, Dor Dip Ext Fra Noc
Northern Continuous Rebloom. Starts 5 days after Stella De Oro. Very rapid increase. HM 2006.

$15 df
34 E 3.5, Cream Self, Dor Dip Noc
Dark Scapes. A breakthrough! Cream blooms on inky purple scapes, 25 buds, 4 branches. Exceptional plant habits!

Held for increase.
22 E Re 4, NearWhite Self, Dor Dip
Northern Continuous Rebloom. Increases slowly, but an exceptional breeder of continuous rebloomers.

Held for increase.
24 E Re 3.5, Pink w'Rose Eye, Dor Dip Noc
Northern Continuous Rebloom. A pretty pink rebloomer with a great green throat. Blooms until frost.

Held for increase.
26 EM Re 4, Pink w' Faint Band, Dor Dip
Northern Continuous Rebloom. The clearest pink rebloomer. Excellent foliage. Blooms until frost.

Held for increase.
44 EM 2.5, Gold Self, Dor Dip Noc
Tall And Small. Minute, species-like spatulate flowers on tall, well-branched scapes. Extraordinary breeder.

Held for increase.
42 E 3.5, Melon w'Cream Polychrome, Dor Dip Emo
Tall And Small. 40 buds, 6 branches. Exceptionally floriferous, terrific scapes.

Held for increase.
18 E Re 3, NearWhite Self, Dor Dip
Northern Continuous Rebloom. Starts 10 days after Stella De Oro. Very rapid increase.

Held for increase.
34 EE 4.5, Red Blend, Dor Dip
Starts blooming a week before Stella De Oro, and blooms well into mid season. Extraordinary foliage.

Held for increase.
44 M 8, Cream Self, Dor Dip Ufo
A striking, tall UFO with excellent branching and budcount.

Held for increase.
30 E 3.5, NearWhite Self, Dor Dip Emo
Resembles an Easter Lily: no other daylily like it. Excellent budcount, blooms high above foliage.

Held for increase.
26 E Re 4.25, Cream w'Pale Midrib, Dor Dip
Early Bud Builder. Brilliant pale cream, very long blooming. Breeds strong rebloomers.

18 E Re 3, Melon Polychrome, Dor Dip Emo
Northern Continuous Rebloom. Very rapid increase, could be used as an edger.

Held for increase.
28 E Re 5, YellowGreen Self, Dor Dip Noc
Northern Continuous Rebloom. No other northern rebloomer has this color. Green holds in the sun.

Held for increase.
18 E Re 4, Cream Self, Dor Dip Fra Ext
Northern Continuous Rebloom. A rock garden daylily: small plant, large bloom. Very rapid increase.

Held for increase.
20 E Re 4.25, Yellow Self, Dor Dip Vfr Ext Emo
Northern Continuous Rebloom. A total self: even the throat is the same pure yellow.

Held for increase.

I'm thrilled that my introductions are being sold through both Harmon Hill Farm and Partridge Hill Gardens. I highly recommend both gardens for the quality of the plants they ship, good service, and their excellent selections. Partridge Hill Gardens ships internationally. Please contact them to purchase, but feel free to contact me with questions about the introductions.

Carl and Marlene Harmon
49 Ledge Rd.
Hudson, NH 03051
Phone:(603) 880-6228

Ellen Laprise
23 Partridge Hill Road
Dudley, MA 01571
Phone: (508) 943-1885

Friday, July 9, 2010

My new bed.

There are several gardening staples that I've resisted for the past 20 years that I've gardened here in Arlington.  The first is collecting Hosta: I've only picked up a few over the years.  The second, big one, is actual landscaping efforts.  My beds have always been very cottagey: stuffed full of a hugely diverse assortment of perennials with a few annuals trialed here and there.  But I had a problem: 5 yards of very soil-like 3 year old compost.  I complained to the supplier, and he brought me fresher compost, but he asked me to keep the old compost so that he wouldn't have to load it back into the truck.  Thus, my slightly elevated new bed, 25 feet by 5 feet between my house and a neighbors, extending from the base of my Bigleaf Magnolia (Magnolia asheii) nearly to the base of an elm.  Bright shade conditions, and easily watered.  My neighbor had inherited a few hostas along the property line, so I placed my bed against them.

So now I've made a bed that my landscaping friends would at least consider passable.  Pretty much all hostas, mostly in groups of three (including the really large ones.)  I taper down to smaller hosta at the end near the elm, and I've filled it with coleus and impatiens to make it pretty until I get more coverage from the hostas.

I selected hostas that I thought had good leaves (especially slug resistance) and that also have nice flowers.  They are:

Hosta 'Guardian Angel'
Hosta nigrescens
Hosta 'Little Blue'
Hosta 'Sugar And Cream'
Hosta 'One Man's Treasure'
Hosta 'Purple Lady Fingers'
Hosta 'Golden Scepter'
Hosta plantagenea
Hosta plantagenea 'Venus'
Hosta 'Diamond Tiara'
Hosta 'Halcyon'
Hosta 'Whirlwind'

Hosta 'Little Wonder'
Hosta 'Wet Bikini'
Hosta 'Popo'

I put a little European ginger where eventually it might get overtaken by the biggest hostas: no loss.

There's a large reserved spot for Hosta 'Winter Snow', if I can find one.  And I have spaces for a little Hosta venusta and about 2 other small hostas yet to be chosen.  Between Steve Greene, Blanchettes, and Seawrights, there's no shortage of choice of hosta.


38 M 4, Purple Self, Dor Dip

Yet another really sunfast dark red-purple!  Not as clear a color as MH0875B: the polite term is "smoky" and some people like that color.  I think it comes from underlying yellow (and the throat shows a fair amount of yellow.)  Here it is after an 90 degree day of blistering sun and breeze that burned, melted, faded and bleached many other dark-colored daylilies.

It seems that the most significant effect of all that sun was to remove the stamens.  Secondarily, the bloom is slightly lighter colored.

Another feature of this plant is that the first scape is a perfect 4-branched scape; it has 2 long laterals and a terminal V.  I'm making the obvious cross to MH0875B; other crosses will be onto the clearest-colored sunfast seedlings.  Maybe a backcross onto Red Spire.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


38 EM 3.5, NearWhite Self, Dor Dip
MH0219I * Ice Trumpets

At last, I've gotten a great scape on a tall-and-small near-white trumpet.  I love the way the petals are a little above the sepals: the strong recurve gives MH0848D a beautiful sculptural appearance from the side view.  Over a yard tall, with 5 branches and 21 buds.  MH0848D is a sibling to the much whiter MH0461F: I remade the cross long because despite the perfection of form and color, MH0461F never developed a decent scape and hardly increased in 6 years.  But the off-white color is very interesting: it looks to me as if there is a green sheen over the petals and sepals.  If you enlarge the picture, and look at the top petal and sepal where they curve backwards, there is a darker, greenish shade.  I've noticed that in a number of other seedlings this year.  Only one fault: the blooms start to senesce in the early evening.

Look at that scape!

What to cross it with?  Why, its sibs of course.  And everything else that's really white and needs a better scape, such as MH0447A.  And my light lavender bicolor, MH0853L, tall trumpet on trumpet.  And MH0751A, a very curious kid of MH0461F that is a greenish yellow with vigor, a taller scape, and just as good branching and budcount.


Tuesday, July 6, 2010


24 EM 4, NearWhite Self, Dor Dip
MH0416A * MH0321A

A breakthrough in green-throated whites!  I'm not entirely sure, but it looks as if there is a green sheen over the centers of the petals and especially the sepals.  A lousy plant with few buds and melts a bit on bad days.  This was from a cross I deliberately made for green on white.  The parent MH0416A (below) was cream, but shrieked green at me, so I put my best near-white rebloomer onto it.  I just love the big, looping ruffles: my favorite kind.  And the "gaposis" (sepals visible between the petals) shows more green throat to its advantage.  The petals and sepals are fully reflexed, and it opens perfectly.  No sign of rebloom yet this year, but there's still time.  The pod parent is from rebloom lines, and the pollen parent is one of the continual rebloomers.


Sunday, July 4, 2010


36 EM 4, Purple Self, Dor Dip
MH0377C * Purple Sphere

My quest for tall-and-small sunfast reds has turned up an extraordinary sunfast purple with excellent branching and budcount.  Bob Sobek came by, saw it, stopped in his tracks and said "Wow, what is THAT?"  The first scape is fairly tall at 36 inches, with 4 long branches and 16 buds.  We could quibble about the color, whether it has a dark eye or light edge, but the sun makes the color fairly even.

Here I'm comparing MH0875B to the excellent Bela Lugosi at 1PM to show the better sunfastness.  BL has curled at the edges, slicked and melted a little.  MH0875B shows none of that: the color is slightly duller.  In the evening, the revived color glows.

I want a brighter color, smaller flower, taller and better branched scape as my goal.  But this is an impressive stop along the way.  The pod parent, MH0377C, is a smaller, taller, brilliant, velvety red that isn't nearly as sun resistant.  Maybe I'll backcross to it.  The pollen parent, Purple Sphere by Kirby (below) is one of the clearest strong purples I know of and not sunfast.  But it is a horrible performer for me in my poor growing conditions.


42 EM 3.5, Lavender Bicolor, Dor Dip

My quest for tall-and-small trumpets has succeeded, but this is just the beginning.  MH0853L is sunfast, extravagently diamond dusted, upfacing, clear-colored, and brilliant.  4 branches and 17 buds on this first scape.

There are two sibs that are also worth keeping: they are more purple, slightly shorter, and just as nice.  Any of these are good enough to introduce.  They stand out in a row of sibs that may look nice, but melt badly (as both parents can) or open poorly (as Sobek 93.36 does.)

Friday, July 2, 2010

Visit to George Doorakian

The phone rang, and I received the summons.  I had a guest: I commandeered him and his vehicle.  I had a doctors appointment: the heck with it.  We raced to Bedford, because George Doorakian wanted to show us his latest.  They don't really need any comment beyond "ooooh, aaaaahh!"

Can anybody guess Georges favorite color?

Sunday, June 13, 2010


32 EE 4.25, Melon Polychrome, Dor Dip
(Sir Blackstem * Boston Symphony) * From Darkness Comes Light

This sib to MH0735M was last year's tantalizing wait.  It was the first thing in the bed of 1000 seedlings to throw up a scape, and that scape was the blackest I'd ever seen in my garden.  That was late May.  It then halted development, and waited until July to open its first bloom.  I've never seen a halt in scape development like that before.  When it finally bloomed, I was jubilant because it was not simply yellow.  It starts off with a fair amount of yellow (photo below), but that fades in the sun leaving melon (photo above.)

As in my rebloom program, leaving the yellow behind and getting melon is a good step towards near white.  It's not nearly as clean a melon as its sib, but it is much darker scaped, so I've crossed them together.  Last year I put this pollen on many things, and so I have 150 seedlings of it coming along.

Another great feature is the deep red sepal backs.  Unfortunately, it is not consistent since the color develops with exposure to light.  Some sepals have relatively little red.

I plan to backcross this one to SIR BLACKSTEM (below), its grandparent.  It turns out that SB can throw melon.  I hate the gnarled scapes and haystack foliage of SB, but the scape coloring is the best I've seen.  SB also has slightly better flower form.  MH0735X has excellent foliage and beautiful, graceful, tall scapes.  Quite a number of other dark-scaped seedlings will open in the next two weeks as well, increasing the breeding opportunities.

Sunday, June 6, 2010


36 EE 3.75, Melon Self, Dor Dip
(Sir Blackstem * Boston Symphony) * From Darkness Comes Light

I've been waiting for this one to open with bated breath, worried that it might be yellow or cream rather than melon.  The branching and budcount are so good: 4 branches and 33 buds that I count today on the first flower opening.  The darkness of the scapes is slightly exaggerated in this photo, and the scape is not quite as dark as on its sibling MH0735X, but it has long branches, delightful height above the foliage, and red backs of the sepals with black tips.  The green throat accents the bright melon (slightly brighter than pictured) color beautifully.  This pollen will go onto everything this year!  A true extra early: Stella De Oro is about due to open, but hasn't yet.  Excellent progress towards near-white on dark scapes!  Larger, taller, and with more buds than its parent From Darkness Comes Light, and also with excellent foliage.


22 EE Re 3.5, Cream Self, Dor Dip

This extra early rebloomer starts at least a week before Stella De Oro, June 1 this year in my garden, and roughly the same time as its parent Busting Out All Over (Sobek 05).  As you can see in the comparison below, it's a much clearer cream color than the melon polychrome BOAA on the left.

MH0708C has instant rebloom and 14 buds.  Like it's parent Vanilla Stella, it has an exquisitely green throat and nice ruffling.  Fans seem rather large so far, and I'll have to evaluate how this looks in a clump.  But it's by far the earliest rebloomer I've got, and I'll breed with it heavily this year.


30 EE 3.5, NearWhite Self, Dor Dip Noc
(Boston Symphony * yezoensis) * Ice Trumpets

This lovely extra early cream is likely a future introduction.  This year it opened the first of June, long before Stella De Oro.  The scapes have 5 small branches with up to 30 buds: these are a bit crowded, and sometimes two open next to each other.  It should have a LONG blooming season, without rebloom.  The flowers furl well when they close, so that no grooming is necessary unless you're compulsive.  Compared to  the parent Ice Trumpets, the flowers look larger and fuller, the budcount is higher, the color is not as white, the throat is not as green and the scape branching isn't as good.  But it is at least 3 weeks earlier and there's nothing like it in the extra early season.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Clump Photo Contest! Free Intros as Prizes!

While I've sold a lot of my introductions all over the US, Canada, and Europe, I very seldom see them at their peak as established clumps in gardens.

So here's the deal. I'll send a free introduction of mine for the best clump photos of my cultivars. I'm planning on between 3 and 12 winners. You don't have to be the grower, just the photographer, and the picture is mine to use if you win. I'll post the winners late summer or fall here. Prizes will be shipped in spring: I'll provide a list of choices.

Please don't send in 500 pictures at a time: just a few of your best will do.

Click away! Send pictures to me at mike@huben.us in as high a resolution as they come.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Bearers Of Beauty: Understanding Scapes

For some reason, I forgot to link to a copy of my Spring '09 article until now:

Bearers Of Beauty: Understanding Scapes