Daylilies forum: dormant, evergreen and semi-evergreen

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Name: Donald
Eastland county, Texas (Zone 8a)
Region: Texas Enjoys or suffers hot summers Raises cows Plant Identifier
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needrain
Jan 18, 2015 7:13 PM CST
In my part of the world, we've had a number of hours of freezing temperatures reaching as low as 16F. Because I don't have a lot daylilies (compared to some folks) and because of my growing methods, I printed my data and took it outside to see

My purchases had 13 evergreens. All of those still have a considerable amount of green fan showing. There are 20 registered as dormant, but two are still showing some green. Not as fully green as the evergreens, but not totally dead foliage either. The big variation was among the semi-evergreens. I purchased 16 registered that way and only three really matched up today. Seven were completely dormant with no green showing and six matched the evergreens I'm growing, leaving only three with green fans somewhere in between dead foliage and quite a bit of green fan. I added the info to my list. It's data like recording bloom dates, I guess. May or may not be useful down the line. At this point in time, the trait is not a consideration on what is purchased.
Donald
Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
Region: Alabama Composter Garden Photography Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Seedfork
Jan 18, 2015 7:34 PM CST
You could not have timed this any better, because I have been out looking at mine. Because of the very early cold I think things may be a little distorted this year. I have some evergreens that I can't even find. The big discrepancy I am finding is in my plants planted last year, so I am assuming maybe they had not be established fully yet. I have also just started taking the dormants off my wish list. Looking back it seems most of the daylilies that have a very short life in my garden have been dormants. I wanted to check my newer plants and see if they were acting as stated, but I found just a few name tags still left in place and most of those had no daylily showing at all by them. I know there must be some dormant that do perfectly well here, but there appear to many more that don't.
Edited to add: I am currently in the process of adding that information in my plant list, it has become that important to me.
[Last edited by Seedfork - Jan 18, 2015 7:37 PM (+)]
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Name: Pat
Near McIntosh, Florida (Zone 9a)
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Xenacrockett
Jan 18, 2015 8:06 PM CST
I have some dormant purchased this year that haven't gone dormant --- look about the same as evergreens.

Other old dormant varieties purchased over years ago went dormant on time and are still on schedule every year.

I think there might be "cold" dormant and "light" dormant, so "dormant" can act differently in some cases.
Semi evergreens act like evergreens here.

I'm in Florida, 9a
South San Francisco Bay Area (Zone 9b)
"The mountains are calling..."
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Polymerous
Jan 18, 2015 8:12 PM CST
This is a very timely thread!

I just came in from working on one of my seedling "beds" (in this case, two plastic storage containers filled with daylily seedlings in tree pots). I was finally getting around to triage.... throw those ones out, save these ones (either for a 2nd look, or because they still haven't bloomed), pot these four up larger (for another look and maybe some pollen dabbing).

Of the 14 or so total that I kept out of that group of seedlings (yes, small time pollen dabber here), only 1 or 2 were clearly dormant daylilies. One or two were almost certainly evergreen daylilies. The rest, I had to note as either "SEv -> Ev" or "SEv -> Dor".

For my garden, in my climate, I don't really care what the foliage trait is, so long as the foliage is disease resistant and otherwise good looking (no upright foliage). I do have a growing fondness Lovey dubby for blue-green foliage, though; the registered cultivars in my garden that have such foliage, also appear to have the healthiest foliage (though that could just be serendipity). And those are all dormant daylilies.
The current avatar image is that of a volunteer daylily seedling showing cristation.
Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
Region: Alabama Composter Garden Photography Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Seedfork
Jan 18, 2015 8:20 PM CST
Last year I became aware of the term "hard dormant" I had not heard the other dormant terms.
But here is a link describing different types of dormants, I don't know where the terms originated from.
http://www.mikesbackyardgarden.org/daylilygen.html
Name: Donald
Eastland county, Texas (Zone 8a)
Region: Texas Enjoys or suffers hot summers Raises cows Plant Identifier
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needrain
Jan 18, 2015 8:47 PM CST
Polymerous, I like "SEv -> Ev" or "SEv -> Dor". Those I acquired sure fell on one side or the other in a pretty definite way. They mostly were either very green or very dormant in appearance. It'll be interesting to see how they kick off growth this spring. On that the dormants looked better early last year, but once the warmer weather settled in for a while everything looked to be growing about the same. The hot, dry heat caused temporary dormancy is going to be harder to evaluate because I don't let them get too dry. Nearly all the daylilies showed some stress post bloom during the heat. Actually, some even before bloom was finished. In fact, bloom stalks and stalks with pods may have aggravated that. At least the growth was consistently better soon after I removed the stalks. I'll have to observe that more, though, before I can be sure there is a correlation.
Donald
Name: Arlene
Ponce Inlet, FL (Zone 9a)
Tropicals Daylilies Bromeliad Region: Florida Enjoys or suffers hot summers Birds
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florange
Jan 19, 2015 7:49 AM CST
Seedfork, remember that the trend from EV to Dor is a sliding scale. SEV's ARE the sliding scale. There is almost no way to determine the evergreen-ness or dormancy of a SEV without growing it in your own particular climate.

I research the parentage of plants that I'm interested in to try to establish whether or not they will thrive here. One issue is that a lot of the hybridizers simply label their plants as SEV without any effort to establish the actual type of foliage. Many, in fact, use SEV as a marketing tool. I won't comment again on those that don't provide parentage, so it's a crap shoot whether or not their SEV's will grow in a southern garden.

With your location, you should be able to grow some dormants. The only advice I can offer is to focus your attention on hybridizers in the southern half of the country, rather than the northern half. That should work pretty fine for you and still gives you a large pool of plants from which to pick.
Name: Maurice
Grey County, Ontario (Zone 4b)
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admmad
Jan 19, 2015 1:49 PM CST
I am looking at dormancy (growth patterns) and evergreen (leaf lifespans) so I have a favour to ask those of you who have posted.

Donald, can you please list the names of those daylilies that were registered as dormant and that you agree are being dormant in your garden this year?

Larry, can you please list the names of any daylilies that were registered as dormant that acted dormant in your garden and that you have lost?

Pat, can you please list the names of the older dormant varieties that you purchased years ago that went dormant on time and still are on schedule?

Maurice
Name: Donald
Eastland county, Texas (Zone 8a)
Region: Texas Enjoys or suffers hot summers Raises cows Plant Identifier
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needrain
Jan 19, 2015 3:06 PM CST
My purchased dormants that appear truly dormant are:
Chesapeake Crablegs
Galaxy Explosion
Grey Witch
Holly Dancer
Mad Dogs And Englishmen
Milady Greensleeves
Nyiragongo
Paper Lion
Parade of Peacocks
Primal Scream
Selma Longlegs
Spider Miracle
Wilson Spider
Heavenly Jet Fire
Monkey Shine
Richard Herbert Haynes
Sandra Henson
Topguns Arkansas Traveler

The two dormants that I'm currently calling semi-evergreens are:
Green Arrow
Judge Roy Bean

This is how 'Grey Witch' looks. No green visible
Thumb of 2015-01-19/needrain/f007c1

These next two are 'Green Arrow' and 'Judge Roy Bean' dormants that have some green and look like three that were purchased as SEVs.
Thumb of 2015-01-19/needrain/297fa6 Thumb of 2015-01-19/needrain/a72841

This is 'Marked By Lydia' evergreen. Some of the SEVs have this much green. Others have none and look like the 'Grey Witch' photo above. I've just made notations of the behavior. If I based the classifications just on how they look today after the weather here, I wouldn't have very many SEVs, but the numbers of DORs and EVEs would increase.
Thumb of 2015-01-19/needrain/fc0da2

Edited to add two I left off.
Donald
[Last edited by needrain - Jan 19, 2015 3:10 PM (+)]
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Name: Maurice
Grey County, Ontario (Zone 4b)
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admmad
Jan 19, 2015 3:12 PM CST
Thank you, Donald.
Maurice
Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
Region: Alabama Composter Garden Photography Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Seedfork
Jan 19, 2015 3:18 PM CST
Dormants I have lost:
Children's Festival
Double Bold One
Siloam Peony Display
Strutters Ball
Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
Region: Alabama Composter Garden Photography Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Seedfork
Jan 19, 2015 4:40 PM CST
Dan Hansen has a series of videos on you tube about dormancy. Sorry to say I can get no sound any more on the first of the series of four.
Here is a link to the others, I found it interesting and thought others might also, it is not a cut and dried decision to make.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1F1le0CyoSw
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cQXXfbKTD0A
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sFgZDhqelVQ
[Last edited by Seedfork - Jan 19, 2015 4:57 PM (+)]
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South San Francisco Bay Area (Zone 9b)
"The mountains are calling..."
Region: California Garden Photography Garden Procrastinator Daylilies Pollen collector Dog Lover
Moon Gardener Irises Heucheras Vegetable Grower Garden Ideas: Level 1 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Polymerous
Jan 19, 2015 5:15 PM CST
Excellent links and photos, everyone. Thank you!
The current avatar image is that of a volunteer daylily seedling showing cristation.
Name: Larry
Augusta, GA area (Zone 8a)
Daylilies Hybridizer
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LarryW
Jan 20, 2015 7:48 PM CST
Hello Maurice,
I live near Augusta, Georgia, and have been growing some dormant daylilies here over the last several years. I have gotten rather mixed results although more positive than negative. Perhaps you can use this information in your study. They divide into 4 categories:
1. No problem - they go dormant, increase and bloom annually
Aftershock (Benz) Bicolor Beautiful (Carpenter) Cast Your Crown (Korth) Evening Sparkle (Benz)
Forestlake Ragamuffin (Harding) Mary Lena (J Rice) Rosy Spiketail (Gossard) Ruckus (JA Rice)
See Me-Feel Me-Touch Me (Holmes) Susan Ruoff (Bachman) Swimming with Sharks (Polston)
2. Dormants that act as Evergreen in my garden
Shores of Time (Stamile) Venus Flytrap (Gossard)
3. Dormants that have died - although in both cases, they died in the summer from crown rot
Cactus Blossom (Gossard) Upon This Rock (Korth)
4. Dormants that have struggled
Alan Lane Agin (Agin) - like the two listed in #3 above, this one died in the summer of crown rot. I replaced it and the replacement plant is doing well. Now in its third year in my garden
Dragon Slayer (Polston) - Did well and increased the first two years, then died back (during winter) and came back as a single fan. Now going into its third spring since the die back, it is still only 2 fans.
Heavenly Pink Fang (Gossard) - Much like Alan Lane Agin, this did well for two years, then died back in the summer from crown rot, but two or three fans remained. It is back to six or more fans now.
Ruffled Strawberry Parfait (Reckamp) - Behaves more like Dragon Slayer. It grew well (from 2 fans to 7) then died back in winter to only two fans. It has continued to live over the last three years, but has increased only slightly and bloomed sparingly or not at all. Our winter last year was the coldest we have had in years, but there was no change for this plant in the spring - still small and only two small scapes with few blooms.
Name: Donald
Eastland county, Texas (Zone 8a)
Region: Texas Enjoys or suffers hot summers Raises cows Plant Identifier
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needrain
Jan 20, 2015 9:18 PM CST
This is good information. Do evergreens and semi-evergreens get crown rot at about the same rate? I do these kinds of observations, but I'm always afraid I'm attributing what I see to the wrong cause. It's really easy to do that when natural growing conditions are really variable. My guess here is that some years will tilt toward dormant as beneficial and other years will favor the evergreens. It may be more clear cut for people who have consistently cold or consistently warm winters without all the ups and downs. After a week of warm weather, I saw some green peeking up on some daylilies that looked dead last week. If they don't get put back to sleep soon, I'll be able to see if all are greening up or if some are more inclined to stay dormant. And, here, there's always the issue of how much water to give them in the winter months.
Donald
Name: Maurice
Grey County, Ontario (Zone 4b)
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admmad
Jan 21, 2015 10:09 AM CST
Thank you LarryW, Larry and Donald.

Here in zone 4 it is easy to tell - all of the daylilies I grow are dormant. It does not matter whether they were registered as dormant, semi-evergreen or evergreen they will all remain dormant for the entire winter.

I am hoping among the cultivars that you gentlemen have listed I may find a daylily that is dormant, since from the basis of my tests I have been unable to find any daylily that is dormant.

Although this will be a long post perhaps by its end I will have successfully explained that contradiction above and begun to provide some preliminary information about how daylilies grow.

Lets look at the registration information for foliage from http://www.daylilies.org/AHSregister.html

"FOLIAGE HABIT

Circle the abbreviation which best applies to your cultivar. Daylilies have three types of growth.

Evergreen (ev.) These daylilies retain their foliage throughout the year. In the north, these plants over winter as a mound of frozen pale green foliage. Evergreens may resume growth during a mid-winter thaw in mild climates.

Semi-evergreen (sev.) The foliage of these daylilies dies back nearly to the ground in very cold climates. Some green will be seen near the base. Generally, semi-evergreens wait until spring to resume growth.

Dormant (dor.) These daylilies lose their foliage completely before or shortly after frost and over winter with pointed foliage buds, usually just beneath the soil surface. Dormants will resume growth in spring. "

Unfortunately these definitions mix two different plant characteristics. One of these is growth. Dormant means more or less not growing. The other is how long leaves live or whether leaves are present or absent in winter. Evergreen means more or less that some green living leaves are present in winter. If you look at what your daylilies actually do in your garden then trying to fit their behaviour into these categories will often be like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. They do not fit.

A daylily is dormant when a special part of it, the growing point or apical meristem (shoot apical meristem or SAM) on the crown is not visibly growing. The job of that part is to produce new baby leaves. After a baby leaf is produced its growth (getting longer and wider) is the leaf's job not the job of the SAM. We cannot properly tell if a daylily fan is growing by looking at it only one time. Just as we can only tell if our children are growing by measuring them at two separate times and checking to see if there is a difference we must observe the daylilies on at least two separate occasions to know whether they are dormant or not.

To know whether a daylily fan is dormant we have to look for new baby leaves. They can be seen in the centre of the fan. A new leaf will appear in the centre of the fan every few days when the fan is growing. How long it takes before a new leaf appears will depend on the temperature. When it is warm new baby leaves will appear more quickly than when it is cold. In the figure below we can assume that the shorter leaves have been appearing, one every few days and that the fan is not dormant.


Thumb of 2015-01-21/admmad/04053c

The longer leaves are adult or mature leaves.
In the next figure there are no short baby leaves - none have been produced for some time. All the leaves are now adult and mature and the fan is dormant.

Thumb of 2015-01-21/admmad/0a3317

A daylily can be dormant whether it has green leaves or not. One cannot tell if a daylily is dormant by looking at it only one time. If new baby leaves appear in the centre of a daylily it is not dormant and if they do not appear then it is dormant.

Leaves live for a certain amount of time - they have a lifespan. We can expect that in cool conditions, when temperatures are low but the plant can still grow its leaves will probably be able to live longer than when the temperatures are warmer. If it gets too cold or too hot green leaves will start to age or senesce. They start to turn yellow, start to dry and finally turn greyish-brown and die. Since the leaves were produced one at a time separated by some number of days then they may die one at a time separated by some number of days. Or sometimes there may be a sudden extreme event (for example a very cold or very hot temperature) and all the leaves start to die at the same time. When the leaves start to yellow and die can be completely unrelated to when the growing point went dormant.

Lets look in more detail at the daylily in the second figure which has green leaves but is dormant.

Those leaves could stay green for several months and no new leaves might be produced during that time. All that time the daylily would be dormant. After the two months the leaves might have reached old age and each might slowly begin to die. When enough of the leaves have died the growing point might break dormancy and start to produce new baby leaves again. The fan would no longer be dormant. It might have a few old mature green leaves from the first round of growth and to begin with, a few new baby (short) leaves from the second round of growth.

OR

The fan might stay dormant until all the old leaves have died. In that case it might disappear completely underground. Whether it does or not would depend on whether it has large buds that peek a little above the soil level or small buds that remain hidden below the soil line. The plant might remain dormant until cold weather arrives or it might break its dormancy and start to produce new baby leaves before the weather becomes too cold to grow.

What about the plant that never goes dormant. It is always producing new baby leaves. Therefore it always has some green leaves. It is evergreen but more precisely it is evergrowing. The new leaves might be produced more slowly when the growing conditions are not the best and they might be produced more quickly when the growing conditions are good. The speed at which the new leaves are produced will vary. If the plant experiences an extreme event, for example the temperature goes well below freezing or very high then all the leaves it has, will start to die but it still will produce new baby leaves to replace the dying leaves (unless the growing point was killed by the extreme event).

When temperatures are too low plants do not grow. By definition they are dormant. That kind of dormancy is caused by conditions that are outside of the plant - in the environment. That type of dormancy is called ecodormancy.

All daylilies can become ecodormant. For example, they can all stop growing (producing new baby leaves) when it is too cold, or too hot or too dry.

In winter, all the daylilies in my garden are ecodormant. The temperatures are too low for them to grow and the daylilies will not be able to grow again until spring, possibly late March or early April when the temperatures have become sufficiently above freezing. If a daylily is only ecodormant then if I dig it up and bring it inside and provide it with good growing conditions, especially warmth, it will start to grow without much delay. Lets look back at the registration definition for dormancy, and we ignore the loss of leaves part (because it is not a requirement for plant dormancy) but focus on the requirement for pointed buds and no growth until spring. According to that part of the definition, in locations where there are warm spells during winter a dormant daylily should not start to grow. My interpretation is that ecodormancy is not the type of dormancy required for a daylily to be registered as a dormant.

There is a second type of dormancy. This type of dormancy does not depend on the external growing conditions. Even if those are conducive to growth in these cases a dormant daylily will not grow until it is ready to grow. This type of dormancy is called endodormancy because it depends on conditions within the growing point. If a daylily is endodormant during the winter and I bring it inside and give it good growing conditions it will not start to grow relatively quickly; it may never start to grow at all; it may not grow for a long time or it may take a lengthy time to start to grow and then not grow normally - it may or may not then die. In locations where there are warm winter spells an endodormant daylily will not start to grow again until spring.

So far, every daylily that has gone dormant in my conditions and that I have brought inside to test has started to grow quickly. None of the tested daylilies are endodormant - they all have been ecodormant. Stout did the same test. He took a number of daylilies inside into a greenhouse in November in New York city. They all started to grow quickly. None were endodormant; all were ecodormant. I have tried bringing daylilies inside in mid-October - they were only ecodormant. This next year I will try bringing them inside in September or earlier. Stout thought that a few specific species-type daylilies might have become endodormant while growing in the greenhouse during winter. The reason he thought this, was because they became dormant after growing in the greenhouse for some time and then sometime later when they started to grow again they did not grow normally. Some endodormant plant species need to experience sufficient cold (chilling hours or days) to properly break their dormancy. When Stout chilled the abnormally growing daylilies for 30 days they then grew normally.

In my tests I have found no daylily that grew abnormally after I brought them inside. I have found no daylily that required chilling to grow properly. I am now testing the same daylily species (I hope) that Stout found required chilling to grow normally after going dormant inside. But even if that daylily species does require chilling so far it seems that endodormancy may have been bred out of all modern daylily cultivars.

In Dan Hansen's videos about dormancy he talks about dormancy in 'Taos'. From the AHS registration database:
Taos (Stamile, 1999) height 24in (61cm), bloom 6in (15.0cm), season EM, Rebloom, Dormant, Tetraploid, Fragrant, 26 buds, 3 branches, Pastel cream pink blend with gold edge above green throat. (((Ming Porcelain × Crush on You) × sdlg) × Shimmering Elegance)

'Taos' is registered as a dormant. I am growing a row of 'Taos' for testing. My notes indicate that as of Sept. 17 of last year the 'Taos' plants were dormant but still had some green leaves. Beside them other daylily cultivars were not dormant. I dug up three fans of 'Taos' on Dec 27 of last year. At that time all the leaves were dead and the plants were completely underground. The next three photographs show the three buds after I cleaned off the soil on Dec 27.

Thumb of 2015-01-21/admmad/c2f91b


Thumb of 2015-01-21/admmad/8a1df1


Thumb of 2015-01-21/admmad/5a4152

All three buds had been completely underground. Only one bud had a pointed tip. Because two of the buds showed an M-shaped tip (the separation labelled A) I guessed that all three buds were only ecodormant, that they had already started to grow in the autumn and then the temperatures became too low and they stopped growing and that all three were only ecodormant. In fact all three started to grow within two days of being brought inside. (the three buds are in the same order below as they are above). They have continued to grow.


Thumb of 2015-01-21/admmad/b64030


Thumb of 2015-01-21/admmad/d05992


Thumb of 2015-01-21/admmad/3946a4

'Hyperion' goes dormant in Florida (Gainesville); goes completely underground and does not reappear until spring (March?). I tested it here. It starts to grow quickly when brought inside - it is ecodormant not endodormant.

Perhaps I will find an endodormant cultivar among those listed above. (typing errors will be corrected later and I may add more information, please bear with me.)
Maurice
[Last edited by admmad - Jan 21, 2015 1:22 PM (+)]
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Name: Gale
CentralWa (Zone 6a)
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GDJCB
Jan 21, 2015 8:14 PM CST
Hello, First let me say, that I'm not sure what zone I am. Three years ago, we were changed from 5b to 6a, this year while looking at different sites, I have noticed that when entering zip for zone, it has been listed as 7a, over half the sites. I'm not sure if the sites are trying to get you to purchase from a larger pool of plants or if the AG department has changed the zones again, LOL. I do know average temps would put me at zone 6a about 70 % of years, zone 5b 20% and lower to a zone 4a about 10%, when a artic blast comes down from Canada into Washington state. Four years ago we had single digits for three days at the end of May, it even killed some of my ornamental trees (flowering plumb). All of this is to say, that despite eight years of serious gardening (paying attention to all of this, what does well and doesn't), I am still clueless to mother nature's fickle ways. I can say that as of today, that all my Daylilies are performing as Dormants, even though, many are registered as Semi-evergreens and Evergreens. Even the seedlings purchased from Michelle from Florida have no green. I did, however, notice that some had green longer than others. Not sure if this helps, but it is what I have observed here.

Happy gardening,
Gale
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
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Hemlady
Jan 22, 2015 6:53 AM CST
Very interesting Maurice. I did not know that dormancy was so complicated.
Lighthouse Gardens
Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
Region: Alabama Composter Garden Photography Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Seedfork
Jan 22, 2015 8:14 AM CST
GDJCB,
I have gone though a few cycles of gardening with long spaces in between, so I always feel like a beginner. It is encouraging for me to know that others even after 80 ys. gardening still have not got it all figured out.
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
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Hemlady
Jan 22, 2015 8:42 AM CST
I agree I agree Guess we are never done learning something new.
Lighthouse Gardens

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