Today I want to concentrate on one important point in conversion work. I have a plant that, in my early opinion, is converted. I say "early opinion," because no one can be sure whether a conversion exists until the pollen is examined using a microscope. Let me show a picture of the plant. It is SUNRISE SHADOWS, Plant #5. In my opinion this plant is converted because the foliage is "hard and stiff," and a root has begun growing at the base of the new plant. Now, look just below the new root. You should be able to see where I cut away a "growing shoot." Since this new shoot is growing below the area of the new root, it is my opinion that this shoot is a diploid. This diploid shoot will take away strength from the top part of the plant, that is, the converted part. Moreover, this growing diploid shoot will grow at the expense of the conversion. I just think I have no choice but to cut away the shoot.
I also make every effort to cut across the top and sides of plants that I've treated to help air reach the growing tip. Whenever I've told myself that "cutting" the treated plant should be delayed, I've regretted the decision. The rot will begin to build due to lack of air, and the existence of moisture from having watered the plant, will combine with the Colchicine to form the "black rot." Take a look at two pictures that show how a plant is doing that has been regularly cut to keep the area of the growing tip open to grow. The pictures should speak for themselves. I am hopeful that this conversion effort will be successful.
Now, let's take a look at two daylilies that I cut back today. I didn't take any pictures before I did any trimming, but I did cut into both plants to help open the growing tip to air. When I did this I saw the beginnings of the black rot. I knew that I had to be more aggressive and so I cut both plants to where the air could reach the growing tip. Keep in mind that I use a fan running 100% of the time to improve air circulation. Plant Number #1 looks ok. I had to cut away the beginnings of the black rot, and then on Plant Number #2, the black rot was much more extensive. I was reluctant to cut anymore than I did because I think that I got to the black rot before there was too much damage. With these two plants we are at the "teetering stage." The conversion may happen or it may not. The plant can die, it can remain a diploid, it can become partly tetraploid and part diploid, or it can grow to be a real powerhouse, and be a full tetraploid. But, at this point, there is nothing more that I can do but to wait.
Well enough talk about growing diploid shoots, black rot and the teetering stage. Let's look at a daylily that I'm really happy about, and this is Seedling 11-297, Plant #1. It is hard and stiff! The surface of the foliage is "rugged," and it has proceeded through the various stages of conversion to where it is today. I have some hope that it may even produce a bloom before the summer ends. I have a good feeling when I see progress like this!
I also should mention a bloom that I had today in the Greenhouse. It was from Bill Maryott's IMPRESSIONISTIC. Lovely flower. I like to pollenate flowers from more temperate climates with some of my dormants. So, I used pollen from HEAVENLY SUNRISE. I hope the pod sets. I'll keep you posted.
I started growing daylilies around 1992, and I liked them so much that I eventually removed my entire 1/2 acre vegetable garden, and instead planted just daylilies. Many friends came to see the daylilies, there were several newspaper articles about the daylilies, then, our daylily garden was featured on "Gardener's Diary" on HGTV in 2001. I became so much interested in daylilies that I served as General Counsel for the AHS from 2000 to 2005. My wife Diana and I ultimately founded the Cobb County Daylily Society, and I have now served two terms as President. Diana has served two terms as our Secretary. My wife Diana and I were married forty-five years ago, on May 17, 1969, in Diana's hometown of Milbank, South Dakota. We have one daughter, Kelley Rae, and one grand daughter, Beautiful Lily Rae.