Thursday, February 25, 2016

Visiting the Tennessee Valley Daylily Society

Hello Daylily Friends,

This past Saturday morning I travelled to visit the Tennessee Valley Daylily Society (TVDS).  Wonderful trip.  I first went to the home of Lee and Jean Pickles.  I knocked on the front door but there was no answer.  After a few moments I knew that Lee would, of course, be in his Greenhouse.  So I went around the side of the house and saw Jean.  She was working in her backyard garden.  She then confirmed that Lee was indeed in his Greenhouse.  Lee met me at the Greenhouse door, and I could easily see that his daylilies are really growing!  Lee escorted me around and we even saw a first bloom on HEAVENLY QUEEN OF SHEBA, a recent introduction from Jamie Gossard.  Then I was particularly intrigued to see that Lee had all of his plants growing in standing water.  Quite a sight to see.  Thanks Lee for letting me come to visit.  Lee and I soon left the Greenhouse and headed toward the Club's Meeting.

When we arrived at the meeting I first saw Ms. Libby Hickman, the Club's President.  Met many more members and soon had a wonderful lunch at the "Western Sizzlin" Restaurant.  I like the buffet at the Western Sizzlin because you can have any meats or vegetables or desserts that you like.  Of course, I always take peas and corn and meatloaf, as well as those wonderful biscuits.  The TVDS keeps to its schedule, and soon I was called to speak.  I was introduced by Tucker Gaby, a youth member of the Club, and he did a wonderful good job.  Being introduced, particularly by a young member, is very good.  Thanks Tucker.

In a time not too far in the past, I would speak too much for too long about too much stuff.  As I've gained more experience, I try to speak for about 30 to 40 minutes, and then take questions and/or conduct a plant auction.  Club members are better able to pay attention, and I'm much more focused. In fact, it is easier to be focused when the program is put into several distinct parts, and I can move quickly from section to section of my presentation.  I'm always surprised when I come to the end of my talk because, to me, it seems that I've only just started to talk.  Its just that there is so much to say when talking about my favorite subject: daylilies.  At the end of my talk I took a couple of quick pictures of the Club.  Thanks TVDS for inviting me to come and visit.

When I got back home later in the afternoon, OPA KLAUS was on full display.  I took Diana's picture with OPA KLAUS, and then I took a picture of the daylily itself.  This is an amazing daylily because it is such a big double.  Indeed, it's first bloom is often 10 inches in diameter.  Although the plant is big in the Greenhouse, it is just as big outside.  Plus, it has now passed several winters and I haven't lost a single plant.  Another plus is that I've been able to use it as a pod parent to make about 40 seeds.  I should see many of the plants bloom from the new seeds within about two months.  I know that this double is expensive, but there isn't another double on the planet that is 10 inches across.   

This morning my good friend from Missouri, Michael Bowman, wrote a wonderful post on Facebook about my BLAZING CANNONS.  Thanks Michael.  And as it happened, I had my first blooms this morning of BLAZING CANNONS in the Greenhouse.  It is just such a stunning, 7 inch red.  After I made the post on Facebook showing my new blooms, Mike Derrow then made the following comment:

"Bill, I like BLAZING CANNONS a LOT up here in WV (West Virginia).  The color does dull ever so slightly during our worst summer afternoons, but only slightly.  BLAZING CANNONS is well branched, fertile both ways, handles our coldest temperatures and multiple freeze and thaw cycles easily.  And it reblooms!  Its just a gorgeous daylily and a great addition to any garden."

It is such a joy to have reports from friends like Michael and Mike.

Another bloom that has really been prolific is Seedling 4-587.  Its measurements outside have been OK, but inside the Greenhouse this plant is just magnificent.  Every bloom is good, and its both pod and pollen fertile.  I'm crossing it with other daylilies that have the circular rings, and I can't wait until I have a bloom on FOUR BEASTS IN ONE, a dormant, so I can use its pollen on 4-587.  I would like more of the yellow color to be on Seedling 4-587.

I've also been really pleased with the blooms on ARTILLERY FIRE.  It is so beautiful.  But alas, it is not pod fertile.  However, I have a seedling from the same cross that created ARTILLERY FIRE that is pod fertile.  So, I've been taking the pollen from ARTILLERY FIRE and putting it on Seedling 5-819.  I'm pleased that I'm making pods on the seedling because I hope to eventually find a combination that will produce a true spider.

I've been attending a class on Monday evenings at Kennesaw State University studying "The Atlanta Campaign."  When I say "The Atlanta Campaign," of course I'm referring to the Union's march through Georgia during the Civil War.  The course is very, very interesting, and our Professor, Michael K. Shaffer, is so knowledgeable.  I bring this subject up because there are 960 feet of Confederate "Brestworks" located about 300 feet behind our house.  A Developer and his multiple tractors are just terrorizing the ground around these Breastworks.  I went to a neighborhood next to the development, and walked through a lot where a part of the Breastworks still remain.  I'm showing a picture.

When I walked out across the area being graded, all of the trees have been removed, except for those close to the Breastworks.  The ground is now basically barren,  It is so sad to see all of this happen, but of course this is "progress."  Right next to the Breastworks there is an orange, plastic fence.  To the Developer's credit, they are saving about 700 feet of the Breastworks.  This was required in the Rezoning.  I'm showing a picture of the graded area as well as part of the Breastworks.

Next, I'm showing a small area of the Breastworks, and you can see some of the adjacent, cleared land..  The Breastworks is part of what is called the "Mud Creek Line," and it is called this because Mud Creek is in close proximity.  Now, I go through all of this to show a map that was drawn by Mr. Edwin C. Bearss.  This Map is precise and shows the positions held by the Confederate units that constructed the Breastworks.  I would add that Mr. Bearss is 92 years of age, and served in the U.S. Marines during World War II.  Mr. Bearss was a combat soldier with service at both Guadalcanal and the Russell Islands.  Mr. Bearss is originally from Montana, but now lives in Virginia.  Mr. Bears is very well educated with degrees from Georgetown University, Indiana University, and with Honorary Doctorate Degrees from Lincoln College and Gettysburg College.  I think that it is just so interesting that such an important part of our Country's history is right here where we live.  Both Union and Confederate troops marched across our property.  I hope that I haven't gone into too much detail.  Thanks Mr. Bearss for all your research, and for the most important maps that you prepared. Mr. Bears prepared maps like the one shown for battlefields all across the South.

Thanks also to Professor Shaffer for providing this information as a part of our classroom instruction.

More news soon.



  1. Thanks Lee. Now it is really blooming in bunches. I've been crossing it with TET. YANKEE PINSTRIPES. Really enjoyed visiting your Club!