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Garden Delights

A selection of thoughts and ramblings about life in the garden.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Best for Genetic Experiments

And the winner is....

The Daylily

If you like to play bumble bee and try to cross-pollinate plants in your yard for fun, the daylily is your ticket for success.

All you really have to do is pick off one of the long pollen thingies, take it to a different daylily and rub the pollen all over the end of the long tube-like center thingy. (I'm being real technical here.) Then you wait for the large seed pod that will hopefully develop. When the pod starts to spread open, the seeds are ready to pick. At this point you can store them in the refrigerator and plant them in spring. Two years later, you will have a new daylily bloom genetically unlike any other.

While two years may seem like a long time to wait, it is really worth the fun of going out every day during bloom season to see what new creation is blooming. No two are exactly alike, not even if the seeds came from the same pod. Not even height or bloom color will be identical. They won't all be stunning beauties, but all will usually have their own merits.

Blooming babies everywhere.

Of course, then you have to find homes for them all. That could be a problem. Daylilies aren't small plants.

While there are other plants out there that could be used for genetic experimentation, daylilies are quite simply easy to grow, easy to pollinate, hardy in a wide variety of conditions and plant zones, and produce showy blooms.

Easy instant gratification.

Here are some other qualifications. Daylilies aren't terribly prone to disease. They survive neglect well. Some grow very rapidly. They come in every color but blue. They come in a wide variety of bloom shapes, some quite exotic. They even do well in poor soil and part shade. They are quite drought tolerant, though they won't bloom as well in a heavy drought. They can be quite addictive.

So if you feel like playing with genetics, daylilies are the way to go.

I have only one caution.

It'll be really difficult to let your creation babies go.


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