Daylilies forum: ATP Series: The Daylilies of Dorothy Warrell

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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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Nov 10, 2013 11:00 PM CST
The hybridizer we are spotlighting this week is Dorothy Warrell, of Granville OH.

I know this hybridizer well, and am honored to have her as a personal friend, so pardon me if this write up is a bit longer than normal. I could probably show you a hundred photos taken at her garden, or in my own, as I am sure I have taken thousands of images of her things through the years. Sometimes it is not easy finding the information to do the hybridizer write ups, but other times, like this one, when we actually know the people and can ask them questions, interview them, then we can do a longer, more rounded write up.

Granville is a beautiful little town, which looks like it was picked up out of New England and dropped into central Ohio. It is in the very heart of Ohio, in an area where the flats of western Ohio abruptly meet the big hills of eastern Ohio. We have clay soil, with cold winters that often have little snow cover and hot, humid, summers that to often have little rainfall. It is not the easiest area to garden in.

Some time in the mid 1980's when I bought the land I now live on, I started growing starts of various perennials that came from my mother's family. Mom had been moving these plants with her where ever she lived, and naturally, she wanted to pass some on to me. One of those was a yellow daylily. It thrived on neglect, surviving here with little care. Once the house was built, I started to take more notice of which plants were doing better than others. The peony and the daylily were clear standouts. About that time, I noticed some signs around the town I lived near "Daylilies for Sale" with an arrow showing where to go. One day I followed that sign - which led me to Dottie Warrell's garden - and ultimately to every garden I have visited to see daylilies in all those years. It was Dottie and her seedlings that really got me interested in gardening.

Dottie's mother gave her some leftover seeds when she was a child for her own little flower garden, on their farm in Minnesota. This was the beginning of her life-long love of plants. The neighbors tested iris in the 1940's for Cooley's of Oregon and Dottie was allowed to purchase 12 tall bearded iris for $5. They grew and increased and she sold the increase so she could buy more.

Dottie met "Boots" Warrell, when he came to her home town to play baseball in 1954. They married, and after a brief time living in Pennsylvania, settled in Ohio in 1958. The iris moved with her, and she continued to sell the increase, and in 1963, "Dottie's Iris Garden" opened.

In the early 1970's, she met Franklin McVickers of Circleville, Ohio. He was the hybridizer of the 1967 AHS Stout Medal winner FULL REWARD. From McVickers, Dottie learned about daylilies, hybridizing - and of another local source, Hatfield Gardens. Dottie purchased quite a few of Child's intros from Hatfield, which she used in her hybridizing.

Franklin advised Dottie to cross like colors, pastels with pastels, golds and melons with reds. Dottie crossed Stoplight (Childs) and Monseigneur Garnet (Saxton) and then crossed the two best seedlings. She entered one of the seedlings from this cross in the Ohio Daylily Show in 1988, and won best seedling with it. She later named it 'Holly Dancer.' Here is a photo of a clump of it that I used to grow under the edge of my crabapple tree in front of my house. Poor thing didn't get much light, but it still bloomed and bloomed. Holly Dancer has thrived every place I have planted it through the years. If I ever get to the point of only growing 5 daylilies - I am sure Holly Dancer will be one of them.
Holly Dancer
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Dottie's goals were to create plants with distinction, but always with clear colors, and good plant habits. By 1973, she was selling daylily seedlings along with the iris, and the garden name was changed to Twin Beech Gardens, after two big old beech trees growing in the yard.

She was very involved with the Ohio Hemerocallis Society, which would become the Ohio Daylily Society, for many years. She was an Exhibition Judge too, but eventually, the garden grew to the point where it kept her home during bloom season.

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Dottie has won multiple AHS awards.
Honorable Mention: 2004 Holly Dancer, 2005 Rings And Things, 2005 Starsearch, 2006 Chief Black Hand, 2006 Divine Design, 2007 Frozen Mert, 2007 Joseph's Coat
In 2012 Little Boy Bob won the Florida Sunshine Cup.
Holly Dancer won the Harris Olson Spider Award in 2006, and an Award of Merit in 2007.

In 2005, Region 2 awarded Dottie with the Howard Hite Award, meant to honor years of effort on the part of a hybridizer to improve daylily cultivars.

Frozen Mert is one of Dottie Warrell's introductions. Several people I know locally grew it as a seedling, before she introduced it. I found it to be a good plant for clarifying color, and adding bud count and branching to what ever I crossed it with. Jamie Gossard's 2013 Stout Medal winner, Heavenly Angel Ice, is from a cross of Frozen Mert x Heavenly Curls. (Heavenly Curls is from a cross of Mormon Spider x Frozen Mert.) Here is a photo of Frozen Mert growing beside Primal Scream, in my garden, back in 2006.
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When I pressed Dottie to list some of her favorites among her introductions, she said that to her, these plants all had "a certain something…" Holly Dancer, Divine Design, Jupiter Lighthouse, Coral Rhapsody, Sir Elton, Paperweight, Wee Sue, St. Elmo's Fire, Cellophane and Hold Your Fire. I am familiar with all of them but the last two, and have grown several of them.

Jupiter Lighthouse is one of those dark flowers with a throat like a glowing ember.
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Divine Design in my garden.
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Sir Elton is a distinctive bloom, it is no wonder it is one of Dottie's favorites. I took this shot of a poly bloom on it in Dottie's garden a few years back.
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I also grew Wee Sue for many years. Super plant habit, clear color.
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Although Dottie works with spiders and unusual forms, she has introduced several doubles, several in the 3" range, eyed daylilies, quilled sepals, watermarks - quite a wide range of colors, sizes and forms.
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Another of my favorites,
Cold Cold Heart
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This is Hip Boots - named for her husband, Boots. Talk about a plant that makes a stunning clump.
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As a breeding plant, I have had a great deal of fun working with Orchid Majesty. I've had some mighty pretty seedlings come out of it, from a wide variety of parents as the other side of the cross. It just seems to "pretty up" what ever I put it with. Years ago, I let someone talk me into selling them my last plant of it - and have been sorry ever since. I seriously need to replace it next year. I really miss growing it.

Another one that I have really enjoyed growing is Little Boy Bob. I have not used it for breeding, but instead I have used it in the perennial border. A 3" flower on 28" scapes, bright orange with red eye, this one really throws out the buds for me. Easy for me to see why this won the Florida Sunshine Cup in 2012!

Besides daylilies, Dottie grows many types of perennials. I always enjoy visiting her garden in spring to see her huge collection of daffodils, then returning again in a few weeks to see the peonies… oh, my the peonies! In summer, the iris, phlox, hosta - there are so many kinds of flowers. She and Boots can no longer take care of all of the beds, and have cut way back in recent years, but she still has quite extensive beds of perennials. When I first started visiting her all those years ago, it seemed they were really out in the country, but now, there are housing developments around them, which has meant the deer have moved into the yard and beds and have become a real nuisance for Dottie and Boots.

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Dottie shares something with many of the hybridizers we have written about - she was a teacher. She was a full time elementary school teacher, then a substitute teacher for many years, before retiring. She and her husband, Howard, or "Boots," as we all know him, have 3 children and 5 grandchildren. Dottie and Boots enjoy traveling around and looking for paperweights to add to their extensive collection. Dottie also likes to enter the Pillsbury Bake-Off competition. Let me tell you, she also makes some wonderful jam and jelly!

One thing that amazes me about Dottie is her crocheting. She makes the most beautiful things!!! She designs afghans and other crocheted items. She has won top awards at State Fairs and competitions. Her designs have been published in top national magazines such as Herrachners, McCall's, Annie's Attic and Crochet Fantasy. She is known for her floral, bird and butterfly designs, although she does all sorts of things. She always has lots of new afghans to show me that she has done. She spends a lot of time figuring out colors, patterns and designs. They are pretty when you see them online, but they are absolutely beautiful in person! Just Google "afghans Dorothy Warrell" and you will be surprised by how many she has done! I think there are at least 40 or 50 that have been published now.
Her "Prancing Reindeer Afghan" is on the cover of this month's Crochet World Magazine (Dec. 2013)

Although Dottie has cut way back in the last few years, she does still name a few introductions each year, from a small field of previously selected seedlings she has been evaluating. She has limited stock of many of her past introductions available as well.

If you wish to contact Dottie, it is best to write to her or to email her.
[Last edited by daylily - Nov 11, 2013 4:49 AM (+)]
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Name: Glen Ingram
Macleay Is, Qld, Australia (Zone 12a)
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Region: Australia Annuals Canning and food preservation Herbs Tropicals Foliage Fan
Plays in the sandbox Cactus and Succulents Garden Photography Hybridizer Composter Sedums
Nov 11, 2013 6:47 AM CST
Thank you Juli. An excellent article. I like the idea of Jupiter Lighthouse very much.
Have you seen a Pygmy Hippopotamus?
Name: Cynthia (Cindy)
Melvindale, Mi (Zone 5b)
Hybridizer Irises Butterflies Charter ATP Member Birds Cat Lover
Region: United States of America Region: Michigan Vegetable Grower Daylilies Hummingbirder Heucheras
Nov 11, 2013 8:18 AM CST
I really like her plants. I have a few to share.




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Lighthouse Gardens
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
Nov 11, 2013 9:25 AM CST
I don't have any of hers, but Holly Dancer has been on my list for some time, mostly because of your reports, Juli. Smiling
If you never ask, the answer is always 'no.'
Name: Mike
Hazel Crest, IL (Zone 5b)
There's a place of quiet rest !
Nov 11, 2013 10:44 AM CST
Juli, her afgan is beautiful. She has some nice intro's. I only have Holly Dancer.
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Name: Mel Campbell
Fairport, NY (Zone 5b)
Daylilies Cat Lover
Nov 11, 2013 4:39 PM CST
I had no idea that Dottie did crocheting, but I guess it makes sense since we all have to do something to keep ourselves busy in the off season! I visited Dottie and Boots on my way to the Columbus National in 2012. Even with the horrific drought, her gardens looked wonderful. I got a kick out of the boom boxes that are playing in the gardens to keep the deer out! I do purchase from Dottie every year and in 2012, went home with her Cellophane (a late blooming layered double), Jupiter Lighthouse, Chief Black Hand (another late bloomer) , Fingerprints, Hold Your Fire (double) and Frozen Mert. I so enjoyed my visit with them and was delighted to finally meet them. One of my favorite Warrell daylilies in Lindy Twirl, a great late bloomer. This photo was taken the 1st of August this year.

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Name: Char
Vermont (Zone 4b)
Daylilies Forum moderator Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle Region: Vermont
Dog Lover Hybridizer Enjoys or suffers cold winters Garden Photography Keeper of Poultry Organic Gardener
Nov 11, 2013 5:19 PM CST


Great intro Juli!!! Your writing has such a nice flow to it....
Welcome to ATP Mel!

Frozen Mert, Fireworks Display and Sir Elton catch my eye...but the one that really caught my interest was Cold Cold Heart. Love the crepe texture with the watermark!

There are three of Dottie's intro's growing here, Orchid Majesty although I can't seem to locate an image of it right now..
Joseph's Coat
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and Rings and Things

Her crochet work is amazing! I used to enjoy crocheting, knitting, quilting, crewel and cross stitching before the nerve damage to my hand. Great way to pass the long winters.

Name: Vickie
Elberfeld, Indiana, USA (Zone 6b)
Bee Lover Garden Photography Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Region: United States of America
Region: Indiana Garden Art Annuals Clematis Cottage Gardener Garden Ideas: Level 2
Nov 11, 2013 5:26 PM CST
Amazing pictures and what fresh, clear colors! Joseph's Coat, Holly Dancer, Divine Design, Sir Elton... I want them all!

That crocheted afghan, Prancing Reindeer, is beautiful Hurray!
May all your weeds be wildflowers. ~Author Unknown

Nov 11, 2013 9:00 PM CST
Wonderful article Julie! Dottie is an amazing woman, there is nothing she can't do and is the best at everything she does! My personal favorite of hers is Zach Of All Trades. It is an amazing spider that performs beyond expectation every year with such unique coloring (looks to be a sister of Josephs Coat?). Unfortunately I don't have a picture to download at the moment but will dig one up to share!!
Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
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Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Birds Ponds
Nov 11, 2013 9:08 PM CST
Julie - I really enjoyed reading this article! Wonderful job!!! Thank you!
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.
Garden Rooms and Becky's Budget Garden
Name: Cynthia (Cindy)
Melvindale, Mi (Zone 5b)
Hybridizer Irises Butterflies Charter ATP Member Birds Cat Lover
Region: United States of America Region: Michigan Vegetable Grower Daylilies Hummingbirder Heucheras
Nov 12, 2013 6:19 AM CST
Welcome! Welcome! Littlemamma and MelodyeC!!!

Sure would love to see a pic of that one Littlemamma. Smiling
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Name: Mike
Hazel Crest, IL (Zone 5b)
There's a place of quiet rest !
Nov 12, 2013 7:23 AM CST
Welcome! MelodyeC and Littlemamma !
Name: Nicole Willis
Westland, Michigan (Zone 5b)
Daylilies Dog Lover Pollen collector Region: Michigan Plant and/or Seed Trader
Nov 12, 2013 8:13 AM CST
Juli, it is so cool that you were able to do this write-up since you actually know her well! Loved reading it!
I admired Dottie's intro photos online for several years before I actually bought anything of hers. My first was CHALK TALK. I had been wanting to add something of hers to my garden, but I had never seen anything of hers growing in another garden. I took a chance on CHALK TALK without even seeing a photo...a seller I was already ordering from had a really good deal on it. This one got me hooked!

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Not the best photo, but this flower is just so beautiful. Daylily (Hemerocallis 'Chalk Talk')
Since then, I have made it to a couple Regionals in OH and the National in Columbus as was able to see a few Warrell intros 'in person'. Every one of them had an awesome presence in the garden! I find that Dottie's daylilies always look far better in the garden than the photos would suggest.
Last year I contacted Dottie to place an order directly with her. She had done her closeout sale to downsize just the year before, but she was still able to sell me some of the older varieties I wanted. She was such a pleasure to communicate with and she gave me some great deals. I am anxiously awaiting her 2014 intros!!
The database is telling me that I currently have 18 Warrell intros. Here are a few:

BRAND ON NOVELTY - this one has some really usual colors that are hard to capture in a photo...really cool! Juli has a great photo of it in the database. Daylily (Hemerocallis 'Brand on Novelty')

DOUGLAS DEBATE - LOVE how unusual this bi-tone (almost a bi-color) double is!!! The sepals recurve a bit, so it is hard for me to get a really great photo that shows the true look in the garden. Here is on of my photos, but there are a couple more in the database that show it off a little better IMO.

Daylily (Hemerocallis 'Douglas Debate')

TURKEY TROT -this one has such a cool personality,
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Here is one I saw at the Franklin Park Conservatory when I went to the 2012 National in Columbus. It immediately went on my wishlist. Dottie wasn't able to sell me this one. She did check around for me, but couldn't find any available for sale. So if anyone knows where I can get OLD BLUE EYES let me know.


Name: Betty
MN zone 4
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Lilies Irises Hummingbirder Hostas Garden Art Echinacea
Nov 12, 2013 8:35 AM CST
Juli you did a wonderful job on the write up of Dottie. I was totally unfamiliar with her daylilies they certainly are beauties.

I want to welcome the new people to ATP!
If you want to be happy for a lifetime plant a garden!
Faith is the postage stamp on our prayers!
Betty MN Zone4 AHS member

Name: Cynthia (Cindy)
Melvindale, Mi (Zone 5b)
Hybridizer Irises Butterflies Charter ATP Member Birds Cat Lover
Region: United States of America Region: Michigan Vegetable Grower Daylilies Hummingbirder Heucheras
Nov 12, 2013 9:02 AM CST
Have not heard or seen Chalk Talk before. That sure is a nice one.
About 5 years ago I placed a large order with her and Turkey Trot and Frozen Mert was part of the order. Unfortunately, those two contracted crown rot and I was not able to save either one of them.
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Name: Debra
Nashville, TN (Zone 7a)
Daylilies Cat Lover Butterflies Region: Tennessee Seed Starter
Nov 15, 2013 8:17 PM CST
I very much enjoyed the article and all your lovely photos. Holly Dancer is the clearest red I grow.
Name: Nora
Castlegar, B. C. Canada (Zone 5b)
Region: Canadian Roses Organic Gardener Garden Photography Echinacea Butterflies
Birds Irises Daylilies Xeriscape
Mar 28, 2016 2:39 PM CST
Thank you for the inspiring story of Dorothy Warrell's journey through the realms of Irises, Daylilies and beyond. You have enriched my vision of people with a dedication to plants. More power to all of you who have responded to this touching story. Group hug
Name: Signet
South Western Ontario , Canada (Zone 6a)
Jun 19, 2016 12:43 PM CST
Great article ! I enjoyed reading it . I grow a number of Dottie's cultivars, Joseph's Coat, Chief Blackhand , being 2 of them but have never found the one that first drew me to Dottie's cultivars . I have never seen Dane Craft offered anywhere. Saw an image of it maybe 10 years ago on line and started searching for it ...... no luck but sure would love to grow this one in my gardens.

Borrowed this image from the internet
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Spent most of my time in the garden the rest of it I've wasted

Jul 4, 2016 8:31 AM CST
Thank you for this thread! There are several that I have added to my never ending list.

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