Daylilies forum: ATP Series: The Daylilies of Oscie Whatley

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Name: Juli
(Zone 5b)
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daylily
Apr 22, 2013 4:29 AM CST
ATP Series: The Daylilies of Oscie Whatley

I first came across Oscie Whatley's name many years ago, when I ordered a booklet from the AHS, The Art of Hybridizing, a series of articles that ran in the AHS Journal in the late 1980's. Michael Bouman, a close friend of Oscie's, has the articles on his website. If you have not read these articles and are interested in hybridizing - I think you will find them fascinating and educational… a must read.
http://www.daylilylay.com/library/Whatley_TheArtOfHybridizin...

Oscie Whatley, Jr. (OH-see WATT-ley) was born in 1923 and died in 2005. His father was named for the Indian leader, Osceola, and the name was shortened to Oscie. Oscie grew up in Longview TX, where his family had a plant nursery. During WWII, Oscie was in the Navy, and they sent him to St. Louis, where he learned to fly and he flew troop transports in the Atlantic Theater during the war. After the war, Oscie graduated from Washington University and worked in the engineering field for 20 years. He and his wife Dorothy were married for more than 60 years.

Oscie became interested in daylilies around 1950, while living in St. Louis, encouraged by his Aunt Mary. She owned a nursery in Ft. Worth, where she sold various plants and she hybridized daylilies. Will Dill, who introduced daylilies for Doc Branch, was a leading plantsman in the area, was an early mentor to Oscie.

Oscie registered 143 daylilies. Oscie was very interested in improving color in daylilies, and admired the color found in the Spalding lines. He was also interested in superb plant habit and in converting diploids. Known primarily for outstanding yellows, reds, and whites, he also worked with other colors. One of his first introductions was JAKARTA. Several years later came YUMA, which was a parent of 73 daylilies. YUMA and BEAR CLAWS were well known for their fringed edges, and YUMA was a parent of Forest Lake Ragamuffin. RAM is a huge golden yellow and widely grown. His conversion of Pauline Henry's Siloam Medallion resulted in some wonderful yellows. Isosceles, Solar Music - and a seedling from Solar Music called Butter Cream.

Oscie won the Bertrand Farr Silver Medal in 1984 for outstanding results in the field of daylily hybridizing. Oscie's cultivars won 6 Awards of Merit, 39 Honorable Mention Awards, 10 Junior Citations, 1 Florida Sunshine Cup and 1 Extra Large Diameter Award.

The Greater St. Louis Daylily Society honored Oscie by naming an award for him. The AHS Region 11 Oscie Whatley Seedling Award. You can read more about it here. http://ahsregion11.org/oscie.html

Like many hybridizers, he was also interested in many other types of plants, including daffodils, dogwoods, and hellebores.

I feel fortunate that I was able to meet Oscie and talk with him for quite some time at one of the Region 2 Symposiums. We had talked on the phone and by letter several times before that and he knew that I adore yellow daylilies - not a love that many share in the daylily world. Once, on the phone, I was telling him how I loved the ridging that was showing in the throats coming from the Tet Siloam Medallion line such as in Crumple, Isosceles, Solar Music and Curt Hanson's Supreme Empire. I was hoping for advice on how I could enhance this trait. Instead, He gave me some really good advice that I have tried to pass on to others. He told me not to focus so hard on one goal that I miss seeing something new and different when it shows up in my seedlings. That I should not chase what others are doing but try to find that one thing, even if it is a small thing, that is unique and different in my seedlings and follow where it leads. I think he was right. It is easy to get so focused on a certain trait that you can't see a breakthrough right in front of you because you were not looking for it, you were looking for something else.

If you want to learn more about Oscie Whatley, and I hope you do… check out Michael Bouman's site, scroll to the bottom to the link for The Library at Daylily Lay. There are several articles about Oscie, including Oscie's articles on hybridizing.
http://www.daylilylay.com

One of my favorite Whatley's in the perennial garden is Maple Hues. I surround it with blue Platycodon, (Balloon Flower) and the combination is a winner. Please enlarge the photo for the full effect.
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Another of Maple Hues. I've tried with different cameras, over many years to capture the vibrant color of Maple Hues, and so far my photos pale in comparison to the color of the flower. Maple Hues has given me some very interesting seedlings.
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Crocodile Jaws
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Crumple
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Name: Ann
Manhattan, KS (Zone 5b)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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annred97
Apr 22, 2013 7:08 AM CST
I'm so glad you have featured Oscie Whatley! I only met him a couple of times at Region 11 events but he introduced some wonderful daylilies. I don't grow a huge number of his, as I'm more and more concentrating on spiders and UFs, but those I have are favorites! I especially love his huge, brilliant yellows! Here are a few that I grow
STRUNG OUT and SOLAR MUSIC
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The justifiably famous BUTTER CREAM
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Two of Oscie's that show the edge/no eye before it became popular....

GREEK EFFECT
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BORDER SENTRY
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A few of his pinks.

PINK FANFARE
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ROSE IMPACT
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VOLVER
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MEXICAN SUNRISE
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I apologize for the sideways pics. I don't know why this is happening. It never did in the past and they're not sideways in my files.....
Name: Cynthia (Cindy)
Melvindale, Mi (Zone 5b)
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Hemlady
Apr 22, 2013 7:42 AM CST
BUDDHA is the only one that I have by WhatleyThumb of 2013-04-22/Hemlady/c3d08c
Lighthouse Gardens
Name: Debra
Garland, TX (NE Dallas suburb) (Zone 8a)
Service dogs: Angels with paws.
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lovemyhouse
Apr 22, 2013 8:00 AM CST
I received Solar Music as an unintended bonus. Was labeled as a different--bright red--daylily, so imagine my surprise when this clean, glowing yellow emerged. Fragrant, HUGE, with a light lime green throat. Couldn't be happier with a mixed up flower. Lovey dubby
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If you don't ask, the answer is always 'no.'
Name: Char
Vermont (Zone 4b)
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Char
Apr 22, 2013 6:08 PM CST

Moderator

Great intro Juli! The AHS was still publishing the little booklets when I first got started in daylilies. Oscie's The Art of Hybridizing has been read many times. I noticed Michael has Joanne Norton's booklet Some Basic Hemerocallis Genetics on his website, another very interesting read. The other two booklets were The Elusive Blue Daylily with articles by Michael Kasha and Dr. Joseph C. Halinar and an assorment of articles titled A "How-to" Book Harvesting, Potting and Germinating Hemerocallis Seeds. Been awhile since I've read these two.

I've always admired images of Buttercream, Ann yours is one of the best. I'm not certain why your images are sideways but I've noticed when I am doing the upload and it shows my image folder the images are sometimes sideways. So far I've managed to fix the problem by down sizing my image to around 150k before trying to upload, the resized images all appear upright. Must be a glitch with the uploading program. Shrug!

I grew Ram for a number of years then finally moved it to the sales bed to make room for something new. Also here for a number of years was Oscie's near white Candor. Candor is from Tet. Gentle Shepard, it's a very hardy semi-evergreen.

Candor
Name: Vickie
Elberfeld, Indiana, USA (Zone 6b)
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blue23rose
Apr 23, 2013 4:55 AM CST
All of these are very pretty indeed! Love the edge/no eye Greek Effect Smiling
Vickie
May all your weeds be wildflowers. ~Author Unknown
Name: Julie
Roanoke, VA (Zone 7a)
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floota
Apr 23, 2013 6:27 AM CST
Oddly, as many gardens as I tour each year, I haven't seen many of Oscie Whatley's cultivars. Kyle Billadeau did have a bed of his cultivars but for some reason, I didn't take individual pictures.
Several used to grow here, my favorite was RAM, which grew here for many years. It was a huge yellow with a white wire edge.
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Like many, I have greatly admired Butter Cream.
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Enjoying all the pictures, thanks!
Name: Juli
(Zone 5b)
Region: United States of America Charter ATP Member Cottage Gardener Daylilies Garden Photography Enjoys or suffers cold winters
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daylily
Apr 23, 2013 7:16 AM CST
When I was cutting back years ago, I sent Whatley's to Kyle for a Whatley bed before a regional or national - I forget which. Probably the one you were at Julie. The only one I kept was Maple Hues. I hindsight, I am sorry I moved them out -- but I had to cut way back and when you do that, you have to make tough decisions.
Name: Michael Bouman
St. Peters, Missouri (Zone 6a)
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mbouman
Apr 23, 2013 10:07 AM CST
The other night I gave a talk titled “Sentimental Hybridizing” and at the beginning of it I asked how many people had known Oscie Whatley. Only a few hands went up, I’m sorry to say. So while I remain on the long list of his surviving friends, I want to share an insight into Oscie’s own understated river of feelings for the people he knew.

Oscie was a warm and friendly person with a wry sense of humor and a strong habit of generosity. Anyone among his circle of acquaintances probably thought they were his friend, maybe even his best friend. As a hybridizer, though, he was guided by his methodical training as a manufacturing engineer. He loved the science of hybridizing, loved to use his microscope and conduct studies of this and that, loved to use risky chemicals to convert diploids to tetraploids and give himself opportunities for breakthroughs.
.
His daughter, Linda, loaned me Oscie’s garden notebooks a few years ago for study and analysis, and I began to make charts and lists of the plants he used, the plants he wanted, and the plants he selected. One thing that just came together for me the other night was the curious cartoon drawing of the late Jim McKinney on the cover of Oscie’s 1998 price list and the introduction of ROSE IMPACT that same year.

I had seen ROSE IMPACT in 1997 as a selected seedling. I fell in love with it. He said he wasn’t sure about registering it because he disliked veining. He did, however, separate a piece of the seedling for me and I built much of my hybridizing for the next five years around it. That’s the sentimental side of my story. I didn’t notice it was a bitone, didn’t notice the low bud count in my shady back yard, didn’t notice the light midribs. I just loved that rounded form from Tet. Siloam Apple Blossom, and that unique tangy color.

When I asked about the parents of it, Oscie just said “McKinney seedling” and left it at that.

Several years after Oscie died, I found a trail of the friendship with Jim McKinney in the notebooks. They had swapped plants and seedlings in the 1970s. I could see Oscie absorbing recommendations about voluptuous Louisiana daylilies. And then, in 1980, I noticed Oscie is planting seeds from Jim McKinney, what turned out to be part of McKinney’s last seed crop. Oscie brought them to flower, numbered the best of them, converted what he could, and in a 1983 map of his seedling crop recorded a seedling numbered “J-37” as a pod parent. The “J” I took to mean “Jim.”
He later used a conversion of J-37 as pollen parent in a cross with SEDALIA, and the resulting seedling was the pod parent of ROSE IMPACT. I can only guess that J-37 was a big pink flower and that the result of the cross with SEDALIA was a big flower, even though ROSE IMPACT is only 4” across. I found J-37 in a garden map within the notebooks.

Within my first seedling crop from ROSE IMPACT was a great big raspberry self that was larger than RI and its mate, COLLLECTOR’S CHOICE. It was the only big flower in that cross, and I knew it would become a registration. It proved hardy after a December transplant, vigorous, and a wonderful opener in St. Louis (though not in Portland, Oregon, where I sent it to my daughter for trial). I registered that seedling in 2010 as MOM’S MIRTH, named for the big sense of humor at the center of my mother’s nature.

I only realized today that the picture of Jim McKinney on Oscie’s 1998 price list was related to his introduction of ROSE IMPACT that same year. The flower stands as a silent memorial to a friendship cut short abruptly. Oscie surely had his friend on his mind that year.
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[Last edited by mbouman - Apr 23, 2013 2:05 PM (+)]
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Name: Mary
My little patch of paradise (Zone 7b)
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fiwit
Apr 23, 2013 10:39 AM CST
Dangit Michael -- you've got me blinking back tears for a man I'd never even heard of before this thread started. Crying Thumbs up
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Name: Dot or Dorothy Parker
Fort Worth TX (Zone 8a)
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Ladylovingdove
Apr 23, 2013 11:16 AM CST
Awesome, I have enjoyed this so much.

Dot
Name: Juli
(Zone 5b)
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daylily
Apr 23, 2013 4:28 PM CST
Thank you Michael for sharing that! Group hug

Isn't it interesting to learn about these hybridizers, and know they are more than a name in parenthesis behind a flower name?
Name: Debra
Garland, TX (NE Dallas suburb) (Zone 8a)
Service dogs: Angels with paws.
Dragonflies Dog Lover I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Photography Bee Lover Plays in the sandbox
Butterflies Region: Texas I sent a postcard to Randy! Charter ATP Member Annuals Garden Sages
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lovemyhouse
Apr 24, 2013 9:54 AM CST
Thank you. I tip my hat to you.
If you don't ask, the answer is always 'no.'
Name: Sunny
Ohio (Zone 5b)
Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle
sunday
Apr 24, 2013 3:25 PM CST
Thank you, Juli and Char for starting these hybridizer series. The names have turned into people with a life, a personality. I'm only starting to catch up on them, as I never realized how much information was packed into them. More in depth than imagined ! ...and thank you Michael for sharing your personal history with Oscie Whatley.
Name: Vickie
Elberfeld, Indiana, USA (Zone 6b)
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blue23rose
Apr 25, 2013 5:08 AM CST
My sentiments exactly. I love reading about the people behind the flowers and their passion for daylilies and life. Thanks to all the contributors who knew these people personally and can help the rest of us know them too.

Rose Impact is lovely!
Vickie
May all your weeds be wildflowers. ~Author Unknown
Name: Mona
Guntown, Ms (Zone 7b)
I love nature & everything outdoors
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monalisa18
Apr 27, 2013 9:30 PM CST
As one who loves to spread pollen around, I can only imagine the thoughts behind a person of his intelligence. I spread pollen, this man studied and learned and had an idea behind each dab. I can only wish.
Name: Cynthia (Cindy)
Melvindale, Mi (Zone 5b)
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Hemlady
Apr 29, 2013 9:30 AM CST
So very true Mona.
Lighthouse Gardens
South San Francisco Bay Area (Zone 9b)
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Polymerous
May 6, 2013 5:18 PM CST
I'm coming late to this thread, but perhaps better late than never. I read Oscie's articles on hybridizing every so often; it's a good thing to do just before daylily season, when one is tempted to go mad and dab pollen on everything.

As for plants, I grow Oscie's 'Sedalia', 'Pink Fanfare', and 'Femme Osage'. 'Pink Fanfare' always opens early and well here, which is a big consideration for me.

Last year I saw first bloom on a Whatley legacy seedling, registered as 'Sacrament of Healing'. It is too early to tell how well it is going to do here,

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The current avatar image is that of a volunteer daylily seedling showing cristation.
Name: Jan
Hustisford, WI
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cat Lover Daylilies Dog Lover Irises Region: United States of America
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philljm
May 6, 2013 5:37 PM CST
What a great thread, with incredible insight ~Jan

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