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Clarke Farms
Hello and Welcome to my Garden!

Barrie is located 90 kilometers north of Toronto, Canada and we are in zone 5. You can see from my winter garden shots that the area is in a snow belt that blows in off Georgian Bay. The one saving grace is the normal 3 feet of snow cover for the daylilies.

My hybridizing goal with the reds is to cross newer fancy Southern red stuff mostly obtained from the seed auction with my Northern hardy plant base. The base consists of a combination of my many "keeper seedlings", selected introductions, plants from the Guelph garden of Mike Georges and many seedlings from Bonibrae Daylilies located near Bloomfield, Ontario.

I'm always on the lookout for a beautiful clear red colour with some sort of distinct breakthrough from the genes used in the cross. I prefer the "orange-red" shading but breed the "blue-red" and some bi-tones.

All my red seedlings seem to have a good inherent northern plant habit as far as size, branching and bud count. This pushes my hybridizing goals more towards increasing dormancy and perfecting an edgy bloom that has something special.

I think "chasing" is the right word to use when hybridizing for PATTERN CONSISTENCY as a "must goal" in my program. Many times this summer I was pumped when the first bloom of a patterned seedling cross showed exciting potential with a slightly new, clearly defined pattern twist; but alas, by the second and third bloom the pattern seemed to melt away as the summer days grew hotter and dryer.

Some of the nicest patterns re-appeared near the end of the summer and on second bloom scapes, as the nights cooled off. My hopes rose again which made me decide to keep most of my patterned seedlings for another go-round next season.

This variegated leaf seedling I mockingly gave the garden name "Garry Bewcyk 2.0". Garry is a member of the O.D.S. and a neighbour of mine who is the namesake of Dan Hansen's fine 2014 Introduction, Garry Bewcyk.

Using pollen stolen from Garry B, I put it on most of my variegated seedlings and this summer the results I think are something special. My previous variegated seedling "As Tough as Nails" (see 2011 seedlings) X Garry Bewcyk produced a large, consistent bi-tone. It's an intense burgundy flower featuring a pronounced thick wavy gold edge, with a delicate watermark and nice green throat. And if the bloom is not enough, the seedling also carries moderate variegated leaf markings and is dormant.

After 5 years experimenting with variegated leaf breeding, I'm pretty well resigned that the smaller, less enthusiastic plants have better variegation in their leaves. (strong white streaking and pattern). However, the opposite is true, the larger and more explosive the flower blooms, generally means stronger plants with less variegation in the leaves. Through the photosynthesis process, it would seem that nature has a way of controlling one of my hybridizing goals; however, 5 years is a rather small sample size in this game, so I will push on.

For the past seven summers I have been selling off my unwanted seedlings to friends and locals and donating half the proceeds to Gilda's Club Cancer Centre. As I walk through the neighbourhood I see many good-looking daylilies, some perhaps I should have kept for more observation. Please visit my 2016 seedling page. All my seedlings are exclusively Tetraploids.

Feel free to browse my site and offer comments or questions.

John Clarke
Barrie, Ontario,
Canada L4N 4V2

Email John at:

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Nov. 5, 2016
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