Posting this one early, I'm headed out in the morning to visit some friends for a few days.
Can the hobby hybridizer produce quality, garden worthy daylilies working on a small scale when larger hybridizers produce thousands of seedlings to choose from, is hybridizing a “numbers game” or does everyone have the opportunity to produce daylilies worthy of recognition? This is a question often asked and thought about by many small scale or hobby hybridizers. Hobby hybridizers may find inspiration and the answer to this question in Lancaster, Pennsylvania with the daylilies and hybridizing program of Don Herr.
Several years ago Don retired from his veterinary practice. Now he enjoys doing advanced dentistry for a variety of species one day a week. He and his wife, Trish, share a passion for antiques with Don being an expert on antique pewter. He is the author of “Pewter in Pennsylvania German Churches” and has assisted in the recovery of a rare pewter flagon by recognizing it at an auction 30 years after it was stolen.
The daylilies began after visiting a friend’s home, seeing the beauty of their garden and the variety of colors and forms of the daylilies. For Don hybridizing is a hobby and he began making his first crosses in 1992. He has introduced daylilies in a variety of forms spider, sculpted, polymerous, unusual and double forms, round, ruffled, tall…clear colors, eyes, large, small. He works with both dips (diploids) and tets (tetraploids) and plants approximately 800 seedlings each spring from crosses involving carefully researched parents. The crosses are planned with goals in mind for hardy plants, better than average budcount and branching, daylilies that bloom for long periods of time and of course, beautiful flowers.
His first introductions were ‘On Display’ and ‘Top Attraction’ in 1996. ‘You are My Sunshine’(2000) was awarded a Junior Citation(JC) during the 2000 AHS National Convention held in Pennsylvania. A Junior Citation is the first step a hybridizer can take when considering the worthiness of an unregistered seedling. To receive a JC, ten votes from garden judges are needed recognizing the seedling as being distinctive and showing qualities better than the average daylily registered within the past five years. A seedling receiving a JC must then be registered within the next year. Other seedlings of Don’s with JC’s include ‘Dancing Gypsies’ (2009),’ Her Late Bloomers’ (2011) and ‘Big Bertha’ (2012).
‘Her Best Bloomers’( Herr –D, 2001).
‘Her Best Bloomers’(2001) has been recognized with several awards, the 2006 the Florida Sunshine Cup, an award voted for during the AHS National Convention, the Annie T. Giles Award for best small flower and an Honorable Mention(HM) both in 2007 and an Award of Merit in 2010. Other HM winners include ‘Whistle a Happy Tune’ (2001) in 2007, ‘Trish Herr’ (2002) in 2008, ‘Beth Herr’ (2002), ‘Summer Fireworks’ (2005) and ‘Lavender Suspenders’ (2002) in 2009.
‘Whistle a Happy Tune’ (Herr-D, 2001)
‘Summer Fireworks’( Herr-D, 2005)
In 2010 ‘Martha’s Memories’ (2003) and in 2011‘Tall, Dark and Handsome’ (2006) were awarded Honorable Mentions.
‘Martha’s Memories’(Herr-D, 2003)
‘Tall Dark and Handsome’(Herr-D, 2006)
Don is active in AHS Exhibitions receiving four AHS Achievement Medals for his seedlings. The first medal was in 2001 for ‘Whistle a Happy Tune’(2001). In 2006 ‘Aaron Brown’ (2006) caught the judge’s eye for the second medal and in 2008 ‘Carolyn’s Curls’ (2008) received a third medal. ‘Dancing Gypsies’ (2009) received the fourth AHS Achievement Medal in 2009.
The polymerous form has been a focus for the past few years with several outstanding registrations having high percentages. ‘Star Poly’ (2009) and ‘Jolly Polly’ (2010) are both high percentage poly forms. Other polymerous forms from the Herr garden include ‘Poly Want a Cracker’ (2012), ‘Fours Are Wild’ (2011) and ‘Dolly Polly’ (2013).
With this brief introduction I am unable to completely cover the true extent of the quality, performance and beauty of the daylilies hybridized by Don. I hope ATP members will help me out with images and comments. To visit his website...
and don't forget to check the ATP Database, there are many images there as well!