Thursday, August 25, 2016

A Trip to Whip City!

A small section of Lori's yard that shows Pequot Pond in the background -- Beautiful!

This past July I had the pleasure of visiting Lori Jones out in Westfield, Massachusetts. She specializes in tetraploid unusual forms and, wow, what a show her garden put on. You can view both her website and her blog. Harmon Hill Farm in Nashua, New Hampshire also sells many of her earlier introductions.

Lori invited me to her garden several years ago at the Region 4 Picnic at Harmon Hill. This summer, I finally made up my mind to visit, and with no regrets! Her garden was around, if not in, peak bloom and, although it was a very hot day, the breeze off of the charming pond was refreshing. 

Over the past several years, Lori has been trying to "shake-up" her program by adding all the current bells and whistles to her Unusual Forms: ruffling and teeth. To do this, she has used the genetics from her friend, Mark Labbe, as well as other hybridizers. While perhaps a generation or two away from her ideal goal, her results thus far have been promising!


Above is an example of her efforts thus far. This seedling (I have not inquired about the parentage since I neglected to take pollen), while not a UFO, could easily be crossed with something to make it a cascade, crispate etc.. And, if you direct you attention to the left petal of the flower, you will see some little teeth forming. I'm sure next year the teeth will be better for Lori, considering that this seedling was only planted last year.

I did, perhaps, come a tad too early in the season to see the majority of her seedling with teeth, but I was still blown away by her "typical" seedlings and registrations. A few photos:

'Whip City Coo Coo Cachoo' (Jones-L. 2015)
This photo does not do this plant justice, stunning in a clump, and TALL!

My favorite from all her seedlings I saw this day. This drew me from across the garden, the color pops THAT much! Has a toothy parent, too! Looks like their might even be some sculpting...

LJ 11-1267 (Whip City Candy Canes)
I don't recall any comments from Lori regarding a possible introduction of this one, but stunning in a clump overlooking the water! Look at that veining! Reminds Lori of a candy cane.

10-888 (Whip City Calypso Disco)
One might think, "Just a simple red" but this notion would be wrong! Lori said she'll register this next year and, if you're looking for a sunfast red, this will be the one to get! Wowed me with its presence!

This is just a small sample of what was showing at "Knoll Cottage" that day. I must say that, although I do not currently work with tetraploid UFOs, I took SO much pollen from Lori's garden because the plants were just that stunning. Even though her seedlings are close together due to limited space (a problem I, too, face!) her plants were still able to preform splendidly. I also, in the past, have seen her plants grown at Harmon Hill and they, too, amazed me with their vibrant colors (and charming names!). There was one last seedling that I wanted to share:


This is another one of Lori's seedlings that has a toothy parent. I really am just in love with the color! It was very short with low bud-count but, quite frankly, this means absolutely nothing since this was the first year it bloomed. I'm excited to use this pollen with my yet-to-bloom seedling out of Vampire Fish. Oh the possibilities... 

I'll end this post with a few more glimpses of Lori's garden:

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Peach Skin (Reilly-A., 2016)

36", EMRe, 3.5", Melon with Variable Red Stippling and Streaking, Dormant, Diploid, Fragrant, 4 Branches, 18 Buds
(Sugar Candy x Helicopter)
Well I've gone and done it: my first registration! I felt kind of guilty for registering it at first, considering there are those who have been breeding far longer than I and have not registered anything, as well as the fact that I ended up with this seedling by mistake! There probably won't be another registration from me for a while, unless I get another surprise like 'Peach Skin.'
I can certainly say that I never expected to get such coloring when I crossed a pink with a melon.The naming of 'Peach Skin' comes from the unique broken pattern that has become a bit of a fad of late. Peaches often have a variable skin, ranging from light yellow to a darker red. The melon and salmon red of 'Peach Skin' reminded me of this, hence the name. Here are a few photos that demonstrate this (pardon the low quality):

What a chameleon this flower is! It ranges from an almost solid, to streaked, to faintly stippled. It's always a treat to see what face it has on each day.
'Peach Skin' typically has 1 or 2 lateral branches with a terminal Y and 16-20 buds. Standing 3 feet tall, it has a light, graceful air about it, reminiscent of the Huben lines from which it stems. From 'Helicopter,' 'Peach Skin' inherited rebloom. Peach Skin's instant rebloom scapes, beginning to rise from the bottom of the plant a day or two before the initial scapes begin to flower, are about a foot shorter than the original scapes and only have 8-9 buds, but it prolongs the plant's flowering by about a week (blooming June 26- July 25 in 2015). I don't want to bill Peach Skin as a Northern rebloomer because I have only seen it rebloom 2 of the 3 years that it has bloomed for me. I expect it will rebloom more profusely further south.
Speaking of rebloom, I crossed Peach Skin with Dappled Dynamo (Derrow, 2013) this summer. Both rebloom and both are stippled; the seedlings should be interesting to say the least! Hopefully the seedlings from this cross will have more reliable rebloom (thereby extending the season) and increased pod fertility (which Dappled Dynamo unfortunately lacks). Peach Skin itself is ridiculously pod fertile and sets a bee pod on nearly every blossom if you don't deadhead. Pollen is just as fertile.
Above, you can see how the top petal has a straight line splitting the petal into two zones: stippled and  streaked. Interesting! The three photos below (along with the photo at the top of this blog post) are images of different blossoms open on the same day. Truly variable:

I find fault in the foliage, as it takes after Sugar Candy in that it is very broad and a medium shade of green. Certainly not ugly, but something that could be improved upon.

2018 Update: Availability is relatively limited as I'm sending some to be auctioned off at the upcoming 2018 National. All sold should be double fans or larger. Email me for pricing or if you have any questions at

The above are all the many faces of Peach Skin in 2017, all open on the same day!


4.5", EM, 27", MuddyWine Bitone w/ DarkerBand and YellowThroat, Dormant, Diploid, 3 branches, 17 buds
(Sugar Candy * Huben Seedling)
Wow! Look at this horribly muddy color! I'm not sure what else I could have expected from a cross between a pink and a rust-colored daylily, but that would be the inexperience talking. I crossed nearly everything with Sugar Candy because it was the daylily with the prettiest color in my garden at the time, but crossing it with everything Huben was a smart idea in retrospect because the offspring could have some nice color with great plant habit! Well, looks like the color got left out with this seedling. I was ready to toss it in July after it stopped blooming, but then I noticed something strange happening: small buds were forming out of the now fruitless scape! Yes, it is a bud-builder. This was very exciting for me because I had never actually seen bud-building in my own garden, and that's just as great as rebloom! Because of the bud-building, this seedling bloomed from June 29 to September 12th! However, there was about a three week gap between flowerings, which is not ideal. Nonetheless, it added (muddy and disgusting) color to the late garden. Breeding is all about correcting flaws, so now I just need to find a clear-colored bud-builder to cross it with. I'm up for the challenge.
I wish I could link you to Mike's page to read about the pollen parent, but the seedling was not selected. If you click here, you can see a sibling. Looks like it came out of dark scape breeding. I do have one photo of it though, just no information regarding the bloom season, height, etc. Looks like AR11AR.73 took its color after its pollen parent: