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Aug 19, 2013 4:22 AM CST
|Last week we visited Dan Bachman’s hybridizing program in Lebanon, Ohio. This week’s hybridizer is located a short drive away in Dayton, Ohio at Pleasant Valley Gardens, the home of hybridizer Joel Thomas Polston.|
Joel Thomas Polston (he prefers “Tom”) started in daylilies much like the rest of us. Looking to fill some empty spots around the yard with color, he purchased a few daylilies. The ‘’yard” is 38 acres purchased in 1996 complete with an 1843 federal style farmhouse, outbuildings and barn. What started as a few daylilies has evolved into one of the premier hybridizing programs for daylilies with teeth earning Tom the nickname “the dentist”. Tom believes you should hybridize what you like while working for good plants, bud count and branching. He starts his seedlings indoors in February then hardens them off outside before planting in April/May. With several thousand new seedlings to plant and care for each year added to the thousands already in the garden, time spent weeding became a concern. The answer was developing a system of drilling holes with a doorknob drill into several layers of black plastic. This method has become a timesaver for other daylily hybridizers as Tom freely shares his creative idea to a centuries old problem of gardeners, weed control. Along with the thousands of seedlings are display beds containing over 2000 registered cultivars and summer pasture for the resident Clydesdales.
Deadliest Catch (Polston 2011)
With names like ‘Deadliest Catch’, ‘Born to Bite’,’ Interview with a Vampire’, ‘Riding a Chainsaw’, ‘Carnivore’ and ‘Swimming with Sharks’ it’s not hard to relate Tom’s main hybridizing goal of daylilies with teeth to his inspiration for names.
Carnivore (Polston 2010)
Interview with a Vampire (Polston 2008)
Riding a Chainsaw (Polston 2009)
Swimming with Sharks (Polston 2009)
Only in daylilies for around 16 years, Tom’s hybridizing is being noticed not only by growers and collectors but by others looking to work with teeth and with the AHS garden judges. As of 2012 his cultivars have received 18 Junior Citations and 5 Honorable Mentions (HM). The first HM’s were in 2010 for ‘Forever Blowing Bubbles’ and ‘Raspberry Goosebumps’.
Forever Blowing Bubbles (Polston 2005)
Raspberry Goosebumps ( Polston 2004)
In 2011 his ‘Bob Faulkner’ received an HM and in 2012 the cultivar’s ‘Interview with a Vampire’ and ‘Lady Stephanie Victoria Redding’ were awarded HM’s.
Bob Faulkner (Polston 2006)
Lady Stephanie Victoria Redding (Polston 2007)
In 2011 Joel Thomas Polston was awarded the AHS Region 2 Howard Hite Award, an award given yearly by Region 2 to a Region 2 hybridizer to honor a hybridizer’s continued efforts to improve daylilies.
While Tom’s main goal is teeth, he also works with sculpted and unusual forms and diploid patterns.
To see more of the daylilies from Pleasant Valley Gardens visit their website at....
Aug 19, 2013 6:32 AM CST
|Gorgeous teeth and colors!|
May all your weeds be wildflowers. ~Author Unknown
Aug 19, 2013 6:39 AM CST
|Don't have any of his but sure would like some. |
Aug 19, 2013 5:48 PM CST
|I have INTERVIEW WITH A VAMPIRE that was new last fall and did not bloom for me this year. I like many of his flowers and can't wait to see his future intros. BTW, did any of you catch what a SF of DEADLIEST CATCH sold for on the auction recently?|
Aug 20, 2013 1:08 PM CST
|Yes, last I saw it was around $300!|
Aug 20, 2013 2:08 PM CST
|Have none, wanted to comment on the great job Char and Juli are doing with this hybridizer series. |
You can tell a lot about a person by the way they handle these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.
Aug 24, 2013 6:00 PM CST
| Thank you Debra & Betty. Tom's Wild Hair was new this year and I didn't get an image of it when it bloomed I really like the fine fringy edges rather than the thicker edge with large teeth. Would LOVE to get Deadliest Catch some day, not only for the bloom but it's one of my husband's favorite shows. Have to add a few dl's he likes so he'll help wih the tilling and mowing.|
There are two others of Tom's growing here, both are from his sculpted form lines...
Neanderthal from the side
and a normal "mugshot"
Ruffles and Ribbons
Aug 24, 2013 6:14 PM CST
|adding Neanderthal to my "want list"... I love the upright form and can't wait to see what comes out of them in the future.|
Aug 24, 2013 6:24 PM CST
|Just planted Ruffles and Ribbons nice to see your picture, this is my only Polston daylily.|
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
Hazel Crest, IL (Zone 5b)
There's a place of quiet rest !
Aug 25, 2013 5:37 AM CST
|Char, there's nothing wrong with a little bribery ! LOL! |
I don't have any of Mr Polston's intro. They are very nice.
"Life as short as it is, is amazing isn't it ?" Michael Burton
"Be your best you".
Aug 25, 2013 5:42 PM CST
|Received Swimming with Sharks and Swimming with Barracudas as gifts will have to wait for next summer to see the blooms. |
What doesn't kill you makes you stronger .
Apr 9, 2014 6:03 PM CST
|Yes Mike, a little bribery goes a long way! I still need to find 'Deadliest Catch'.|
In 2013 Tom's 'Ruffles and Ribbons' (2003), a pretty red lightly pleated sculpted form, received an AHS Honorable Mention.
Apr 10, 2014 7:08 PM CST
|Tom will be in Indy May 7, and I will be there with my check book.|
Apr 11, 2014 2:44 AM CST
|Gerry I was hurrying through and I thought your post said you would be there with your cheek bone.|
Apr 11, 2014 8:25 PM CST
Love visiting Pleasant Valley! I try to make it there every year for Northern Mecca weekend. And I always want the seedlings he won't sell me!!!!!!
I don't have the budget for the wonderful toothy/ tendril ones ( but I do keep buying a lottery ticket and dreaming )
I do have(and love):
Drops of Jupiter
Queen City Dreamin'
Here is my favorite Polston seedling ( actually belongs to my 13 yr old son!)
Love what you teach and teach what you love!
Apr 12, 2014 12:26 AM CST
So glad you started a Polston thread, because he is rapidly becoming a favorite of mine. I have Red Ragamuffin coming in May.
Red Ragamuffin (Image by Polston)
And I have the following 18 Month old Seedlings Growing in my Seedling Bed
Briar Patch X Deadliest Catch
Fourth of July in Georgia X Deadliest Catch
Fourth of July in Georgia X Van Helsing
Horned Viper X Dr. Celia Stump
Pastor Z X John Kulpa (new this year)
Ruffled Strawberry Parfait' X 'Van Helsing'
Thistles and Thorns X Van Helsing' (new this yr.)
Vampire Slayer X Brer Rabbit & Briar Patch (New this Year)
Besides the tets, all of his diploids this season are amazing Lemon Drop Lollipops, Star Of Kryptonite
Apr 12, 2014 5:03 PM CST
|Lucky you Lisa, one of these days I will get out to Tom's and see his place. Pretty image of Sea Dragon and your son's seedling...he's got great taste! Love it |
Alex, the few of Tom's that I grow do very well up here. The only toothy one I have I think is Wild Hair. Red Ragamuffin should be a good one, I almost bid on one of the listings for it on the LA over the winter. Those seedling crosses should give you some nice seedlings to work with.
Apr 14, 2014 8:44 AM CST
|Char…..It's difficult to get your hands on Polston's toothy plants. Not too many southern growers have them, and a lot of his plants are only available through his collections only. When Polston's plants show up on the LA, they are still expensive and get snapped up quickly. I was lucky with 'Red Ragamuffin'. I brought it as a reserved buy from James Hall (mljomo) last October. Since I work a lot with seeds and seedlings, the easiest way for me to get these toothy wonders, is to buy the seed crosses. But even the seeds are tres chere (expensive)! I am very excited about these seedlings, I am growing. |
I don't buy many diploid plants, but am rapidly changing my mind after seeing his collections. You are correct, Char, his 'patterned' daylilies are to die for. There are several, I would like to get my hands on "Lemon Drop Lollipops", "Crimson & Clover".
I also love his tetra "Pussycat Swallowtail". Just yummy!
Apr 14, 2014 5:01 PM CST
|Alex it is cute Lemon Drop Lollipop |