Submitted by Jeff Buster on Mon, 07/23/2007 - 22:29.

My neighbor has a spectacular garden with over 600 varieties of Day Lillies.  Yes, the blooms only last for one day, withering and falling off by tomorrow.  


Last week when I walked passed the house on the public sidewalk I was taken in by the day lillies in the front yard.  A few days later there was a 9 or 10 year old boy on his skateboard on the front sidewalk and I asked him if I could go up their driveway to photograph the day lillies. 


The boy said “sure”.  So I captured a dozen on the SD card.


The very next day I got an invitation to see the mother lode of flowers in the back yard.  For 10 years the boy’s mom has been hybridizing day lillies from all over the county. 


You like color?!  You know I love color!


I am in the process of photographing all of the 600+ varieties. 


And - so we all remember that it is summer (while we are so invested in the urgent political, economical, and cultural events here in Cleveland) - I offer up the seasonal color of Day Lillies.


I love people who are passionate – 600 varieties – 600 names – the lady knows them all…life is intriguing!

Summer-is-day-lillies-P1070.gif204.61 KB

stunning snap

'nuff said!

Classical Genetics Vs. Franken Lillies

viva la classical genetics.

down with franken lillies

moving pollen by Pollan

In the Botany of Desire, Michael Pollan discusses how plants have had us by the short hairs for eons -- forcing us in to these competitive dances to manipulate them into other varieties and carry them to new continents for their own propagation purposes.

I was fascinated to read about the hybridization of the tulip for example: which "has been reinvented every century or so to reflect our shifting ideals of beauty." Tulips caused such a frenzy of passion in Holland, that they literally made and broke banks there in the 17th century.

And Apples which are from Kazakhstan and traveled half way around the globe to become a symbol of good health in America. Johnny Appleseed was bringing hard cider to communities because eating apples were not the vogue in those days.

And Potatoes whose trek from South America put an entire country (Ireland) into ruin and the potaoes newly minted variety (the New Leaf) that soared to fame and then fell from grace in the kitchens and farm fields of McDonalds.

And Marijuana which rebounded from Reagan's War on Drugs in an astonishing way when it was banished from the great outdoors and pinched, prodded and manipulated in hydroponic growing spaces.

It is possible that the day lilies have you neighbor doing the step-and-fetch-it dance. Does she have them or do they have her?

Here's an interesting point from the book: Botanists call bees "flying penises". They are not native to North America either (native to Asia and the Middle East and was introduced to North America by early European colonists), but since they are endangered, so are our plants.

I hope we will retain these immigrant bees, or your neighbor might have to run even faster to keep those lovely blooms a bloomin' and farmers will be makin' a killin' at the market with hand pollinated edible  varieties if they have to step in for bees.

I must say, I'd love for you to photograph the butterflies, bees and birds that have been visiting my yard this summer. They love the Queen Anne's Lace and the Passion Flowers.

Your pics are beautiful -- for the composition and color alone. Come photograph my plain old plain old lilies next summer -- the chicory is especially nice when a Gold Finch alights on it...

Oh and today I had a Black-Capped Chickadee outside my window flying circles around the pair of Cardinals -- but I digress...

get some pics of the milkweed


Please get over to the Heights Youth Club to get some pics of the big swath of milkweed growing along the top of the ditch on the north side of the building. Yesterday Martha reported some interesting butterfly activity there. Maybe with a fast shutter speed, if you sit very still on the picnic table, you can get some shots of the butterflies dancing in and among those beautiful flowers, too.

Now ZM, is my Butterfly Bush, Mallow, Clematis non-native, GMOed? How about the Hostas and the Blackeyed Oh Susanas? The violets, the sweet woodruff, the Hydrangea? The apple (OK we know about the origins of the apple tree), the Redbud? The grapes, the yew, the blackberries and raspberries? Are these all cultivated in someone's greenhouse for my pleasure and largely for the bird's, bee's and butterfly's pleasure? I'm askin". Martha, I know you have been involved in a similar discussion at the Nature Center lately, maybe you have a thought here.

GMO, Frankenfoods and other definitions...



Genetically Modified (GM) foods are produced from genetically modified organisms (GMO) which have had their genome altered through genetic engineering techniques. The general principle of producing a GMO is to insert DNA that has been taken from another organism and modified in the laboratory into an organism's genome to produce both new and useful traits or phenotypes. Typically this is done using DNA from certain types of bacteria. GM Foods have been available since the 1990s, with the principal ones being derived from plants; soybean, corn, canola and cotton seed oil.[1]
Controversies surrounding GM foods and crops commonly focus on human and environmental safety, labelling and consumer choice, intellectual property rights, ethics, food security, poverty reduction, and environmental conservation. See also: GM food controversy


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: :

In biology, hybrid has two meanings.
The first meaning is the result of interbreeding between two animals or plants of different taxa. Hybrids between different species within the same genus are sometimes known as interspecific hybrids or crosses. Hybrids between different sub-species within a species are known as intra-specific hybrids. Hybrids between different genera are sometimes known as intergeneric hybrids. Extremely rare interfamilial hybrids have been known to occur (such as the guineafowl hybrids).
The second type of "hybrid" are crosses between populations, breeds or cultivars within a single species. This second meaning is often used in plant and animal breeding. In plant and animal breeding, hybrids are commonly produced and selected because they have desirable characteristics not found or inconsistently present in the parent individuals or populations. This rearranging of the genetic material between populations or races is often called hybridization.

And from:

Hybridism. The Latin word hybrida, hibrida or ibrida has been assumed to be derived from the Greek u(3pis, an insult or outrage, and a hybrid or mongrel has been supposed to be an outrage on nature, an unnatural product.
As a general rule animals and plants belonging to distinct species do not produce offspring when crossed with each other, and the term hybrid has been employed for the result of a fertile cross between individuals of different species, the word mongrel for the more common result of the crossing of distinct varieties. A closer scrutiny of the facts, however, makes the term hybridism less isolated and more vague. The words species and genus, and still more subspecies and variety, do not correspond with clearly marked and sharply defined zoological categories, and no exact line can be drawn between the various kinds of crossings from those between individuals apparently identical to those belonging to genera universally recognized as distinct. Hybridism therefore grades into mongrelism, mongrelism into cross-breeding, and cross-breeding into normal pairing, and we can say little more than that the success of the union is the more unlikely or more unnatural the further apart the parents are in natural affinity.
The interest in hybridism was for a long time chiefly of a practical nature, and was due to the fact that hybrids are often found to present characters somewhat different from those of either parent. The leading facts have been known in the case of the horse and ass from time immemorial. The earliest recorded observation of a hybrid plant is by JG Gmelin towards the end of the 17th century; the next is that of Thomas Fairchild, who in the second decade of the 18th century, produced the cross which is still grown in gardens under the name of "Fairchild's Sweet William." Linnaeus made many experiments in the cross-fertilization of plants and produced several hybrids, but Joseph Gottlieb Kolreuter (1733-1806) laid the first real foundation of our scientific knowledge of the subject. Later on Thomas Andrew Knight, a celebrated English horticulturist, devoted much successful labour to the improvement of fruit trees and vegetables by crossing. In the second quarter of the 19th century CF Gartner made and published the results of a number of experiments that had not been equalled by any earlier worker. Next came Charles Darwin, who first in the Origin of Species, and later in Cross and Self-Fertilization of Plants, subjected the whole question to a critical examination, reviewed the known facts and added many to them.
Darwin's conclusions were summed up by GJ Romanes in the 9th edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica as follows:

  1. The laws governing the production of hybrids are identical, or nearly identical, in the animal and vegetable kingdoms.
  2. The sterility which so generally attends the crossing of two specific forms is to be distinguished as of two kinds, which, although often confounded by naturalists, are in reality quite distinct. For the sterility may obtain between the two parent species when first crossed, or it may first assert itself in their hybrid progeny. In the latter case the hybrids, although possibly produced without any appearance of infertility on the part of their parent species, nevertheless prove more or less infertile among themselves, and also with members of either parent species.
  3. The degree of both kinds of infertility varies in the case of different species, and in that of their hybrid progeny, from absolute sterility up to complete fertility. Thus, to take the case of plants, "when pollen from a plant of one family is placed on the stigma of a plant of a distinct family, it exerts no more influence than so much inorganic dust. From this absolute zero of fertility, the pollen of different species, applied to the stigma of some one species of the same genus, yields a perfect gradation in the number of seeds produced, up to nearly complete, or even quite complete, fertility; so, in hybrids themselves, there are some which never have produced, and probably never would produce, even with the pollen of the pure parents, a single fertile seed; but in some of these cases a first trace of fertility may be detected, by the pollen of one of the pure parent species causing the flower of the hybrid to wither earlier than it otherwise would have done; and the early withering of the flower is well known to be a sign of incipient fertilization. From this extreme degree of sterility we have self-fertilized hybrids producing a greater and greater number of seeds up to perfect fertility."
  4. Although there is, as a rule, a certain parallelism, there is no fixed relation between the degree of sterility manifested by the parent species when crossed and that which is manifested by their hybrid progeny. There are many cases in which two pure species can be crossed with unusual facility, while the resulting hybrids are remarkably sterile; and, contrariwise, there are species which can only be crossed with extreme difficulty, though the hybrids, when produced, are very fertile. Even within the limits of the same genus, these two opposite cases may occur.
  5. When two species are reciprocally crossed, i.e. male A with female B, and male B with female A, the degree of sterility often differs greatly in the two cases. The sterility of the resulting hybrids may differ likewise.
  6. The degree of sterility of first crosses and of hybrids runs, to a certain extent, parallel with the systematic affinity of the forms which are united. " For species belonging to distinct genera can rarely, and those belonging to distinct families can never, be crossed. The parallelism, however, is far from complete; for a multitude of closely allied species will not unite, or unite with extreme difficulty, whilst other species, widely different from each other, can be crossed with perfect facility. Nor does the difficulty depend on ordinary constitutional differences; for annual and perennial plants, deciduous and evergreen trees, plants flowering at different seasons, inhabiting different stations, and naturally living under the most opposite climates, can often be crossed with ease. The difficulty or facility apparently depends exclusively on the sexual constitution of the species which are crossed, or on their sexual elective affinity."


>>> Just thought I would try to help clear some things up :-) <<<


I want to see a Franken Lilly of the Day

As a rule I agree with ZM about Frankengineering... but I am curious about these 600 varieties... I like day lillies in general. Jeff, show us pics of some of the more wild varieties... and I'd love to hear any thoughts on this as genetic engineering...

Disrupt IT

In defense of the day lilly

In general, I am against GMOs but flower gardening has really never had much to do with nature - think of Versailles or any other famous centuries old garden in world. The day lilly is really not a bad choice for Ohio. They seem to grow well without pesticides and they are fairly draught resistant. Modern versions of the plant are much more prolific bloomers and they come in some really extraordinary color variations. But beware deer love to eat them.

Although Jeff's neighbor could be practicing zeroscaping, I have not seen many home owners in Shaker who are. Norm and I noticed just a few days ago that very few front yards along Shaker Blvd. have anything very interesting going on with their landscaping - it all looks very impersonal and professionally maintained. I have to admire Jeff's neighbor or anyone who has the passion and energy to create a garden like that.

Thanks for posting the beautiful pictures Jeff and Susan thanks for the summer reading list. I have read some of the books you mentioned and they are facinating!