Monday, July 7, 2008

Daylillies


I grew up thinking that every family belonged to the American Hemerocrallis Society and firmly insured my place in the nerd section of the elementary school pecking order by assuming that everyone knew that hybridization involved transferring pollen from the stamen to the pistil and this was best done in the early morning before the bees got involved.

In 1968, I was the only one in my elementary school to have a daylilly named for her, Beth Standard.


I learned about genetics by following my grandfather around the flower beds holding his supply of little white tags and gravely giving one to him when he had made his selection so that he could wrap a tag around the flower whose pistil had been pollinated, carefully labeled with the two "parents" identifying numbers. I honestly have memories of doing this before I was old enough to go to school.

A month or so after the pollination, we would once again make our early morning trips around the flower beds but this time I was holding an envelope cut in half. Into the envelope we would carefully pour the seeds from the pod and again label the envelope with the numbers of the flower parents.

My mother was the heir to my grandfather's hybridization talent and she still hybridizes and comes up with beautiful daylilies.

These are from her lovely yard here in Maine. They are just beginning to bloom, so there will be more pictures in the weeks to come--maybe even some of little white tags on spent blooms and seed pods carefully labeled.

17 comments:

rach :) said...

Weather Boy was JUST talking about doing this with his Sweet William this afternoon!! I suggested the kids join in and start their 6th and 8th grade science fair projects...

We have GOT to all get together!!

Beth said...

Rach, my mom would love to show your kids the ropes. email or call and I'll put you in touch. I'm glad you are enjoying the summer.

Weather Boy said...

That is so cool to have a variety named after you! I also have some seeds I saved from some lilies last year. They look like a chandelier, with the flowers facing downward; maybe you know what they are?

I didn't plant them, unfortunately, but I'm looking forward to starting a bunch of them.

So interesting that you just posted this on the same day we were talking about doing that this afternoon.

beckie said...

What an enchanting story! I hope my granddaughters will have memories of me as good as the ones you have of your grandfather. I would love to see 'Beth Standard'. What is the name of the one pictured? Can't wait to see more of your Mom's special ones.

Beth said...

Weatherboy, what color were the flowers that gave you the seeds? I have a wildflower book that you are welcome to look through. It is very cool that you were talking about doing this with your kids when I posted--as I told Rach, my mom would be thrilled to talk to you and the kids about it (she's a former kindergarten teacher so she's really good at explaining things.)

Beckie, thanks--I don't tell that story very often actually maybe never before. The daylillies that I pictures were seedlings--the first time they have ever been seen and they don't have names--maybe numbers that indicate their parentage but no names yet. They are pretty aren't they. My mom said we can mail you a Beth Standard in the fall.

Beth said...

Weatherboy, I just noticed that you said lillies that were upside down and chandelier shaped--sorry I misunderstood in my first comment and thought wildflower. I'll ask my mom if she knows what it might be. :-)

Jayne said...

How rewarding that must have been to be a part of your grandfather's passion for the daylillies, and how neat to have one named for you!

SJ said...

What an honor to have a flower named after you - and I thought I was cool because my Mom bought me a star a few years ago.

The Texican said...

Nerdy maybe, but really quite nifty when you think of all the things grandpa knew. It makes you wonder what he might have accomplished under different circumstances. He was an inventor, artist, story teller, singer and who knows what other talents he had. Pappy

bookbabie said...

How great is that to have a Lily named after you, of course I don't mean to brag but the whole flower family is named after me (kind of, I'm Lilli Day)!

Carey's Corner said...

Hi Beth, haven't made it over to visit your blog in a while. I enjoyed your posts and beautiful pictures. Hope all is well with you and yours. Tell the folks we send our love.

TheElementary said...

It seems your grandfather passed on a wonderful talent- and what a great way to spend precious time with him.
This is such a lovely story. Your first line is so sweet :) I wish more children nowadays would know about such things.

Weather Boy said...

The lilies grow seemingly wild on the bank of the stream by my house. After a little research, I came up with Canada lilies: http://courses.bio.psu.edu/bio414/jpegs/lilcan.jpg

They are gorgeous.

beckie said...

Oh Beth! That would be such a treat! Make sure it has white tags on it.:)

Kathiesbirds said...

Is that your flower? Amazing! So pretty! I once found one that had the same name as my mother and bought it and planted it in my yard in Utah. Then I moved away. I would love to find another to give to her so she could plant it in her yard since she never moves! I am heading to Maine tomorrow and will call you tomorrow night or sometime this weekend. The Road Race is tonight! I am so looking forward to meeting you!

Anonymous said...

Sorry to be off topic, Beth, but thought if you didn't catch it today on MPR, you might enjoy hearing a good interview with Kate Braestrup, author of HERE IF YOU NEED ME, which you reviewed/praised a few weeks back. It's 54 minutes long, but well worth the listen. Here's the link: http://speakingoffaith. publicradio.org/programs/braestrup/
--Lisa
PS: I had to toss a word space in the URL to be sure everything would appear...if you go there, be sure to take it out again.

Mary said...

Beth,

What sweet memories. A nice tribute to your grandfather, too - a remarkable man. You've been blessed. A lily named for you? Wow.

Mary