We have looked at the basic species forms and the more commonly seen or standard forms of the domestic hybrid daylily population. In this installment, we will look at some of the more advanced form traits such as Flat formed flowers, Sculpting, Doubles and formed Edges.
Please bear in mind that in this series I am only seeking to express my personal interests and opinions - my own aesthetic - about which colors/forms that I prefer. I have sought to explain why, citing the influences that color my perceptions. Nothing I say here is in any way, form or fashion meant to impinge on your aesthetic sense or influence what you do or do not like, nor to imply what you should or should not breed and select for. This series has been prepared merely to allow a space where I can express my artistic interests and illustrate why (and from where) those interests derive.
This series represents a singular vision (mine) and I have to believe there are as many singular and unique visions as there are daylily breeders. I encourage everyone to find their own influences, to apply those influences into their own programs in whatever way they see fit and to create truly unique, interesting and admirable lineages for themselves. There are literally hundreds, perhaps thousands, of daylily breeders, and so there is much room for many visions. If you don't like my vision, please go create your own. If you do like my vision and are influenced by it, please take any aspect that suits you and modify it, tailoring it to your own unique self - your own special inner vision that gives you joy and expresses your own unique creativity.
Having grown all of these, I will have to say that I find Substantial Evidence to be the flattest of the group, and to most consistently be flat, but it is only a bit more, just an advancement over the flatness of the earlier Siloam types and their tetraploid descendants through conversions. So let me define what I mean, exactly, by flat.
The key to the flat flower is that there is little to no "trumpet" at the base of the flower (throat). Even modern hybrids with very open flowers will show a slight bit of "trumpet" as the base of the flower, where the petals emerge from the ovary at the connection of the flower to the branch or the area we might refer to as the throat. If you look at such cultivars from the side, you will see that a "trumpet" emerges from the ovary and then the petals and sepals fold outward from that "trumpet", becoming opened and flat above that small "trumpet" usually an inch or so past the ovary. You might also say that these types show a distinct trumpet shaped throat.
The true flat flowers show this "trumpet" at the base of the flower more flattened and open, so that there is little to no throat. They all usually have some slight "trumpet", but are noticeably reduced in comparison to even so-called "open" modern cultivars. The most extreme examples can show little to no trumpet at all, with the petals folding outward above the ovary, allowing the petals to lay back open and flat. This reveals the entire throat, opening it and makes the flowers appear larger than they would be otherwise, even with no actual extra petal tissue at all. They also appear to have extended throats for this reason, when viewed from the front, and eyes or any patterns present seem to be extended further up the petal. For me, this opened-up throat allows a wider 'canvas' upon which to work our art, while also creating apparently larger flowers without actually increasing the petal size.
I love the work that has been done on making very large flat flowers, but one drawback I find is that these absolutely must be deadheaded, often leaving a gooey, sticky mess sprawled all over the next days flowers and other buds when the large, flat flower wilts down after its day of glory. I have worked with smaller flowers in my flat projects, looking into several different directions with smaller and medium flat flowers. I still have a few large flowered flat select seedlings though, of course.
These flat flowers remind me of many things. From nature, I see the moon and sun (when the petals are wide and the colors are right), the collar of the Frilled Dragon lizard, the tail of the peacock and turkey, and the oceanic Sunfish. In domestic animals, I see the flat fantails of pigeons, and I specialized in breeding flat tails in my chickens much like those seen in the pigeons, so that is a given parallel. I also see the flattened, rounded tail (caudal fin) of some goldfish breeds such as Tosakin and butterfly tails. In domestic flowers, these flat forms can remind me of pansy flowers and fancy hibiscus flowers. A major influence in my mind from history and fashion is the Elizabethan ruff collar, popular with men and women of the time, and the drum Farthingale underskirt also popular in the Elizabethan English fashion panoply.
The doubles are not a big focus for me, with the hose-in-hose being my favorite, but I do have examples of both types.
These, obviously, remind me of many types of double-petalled flowers. I think the double-flowered lilium, especially the tiger lily, are quite reminiscent of the double daylilies. The stamen-transformation daylilies are rather reminiscent of double flowered peonies, which also incorporate stamen transformation. There are several types of double flowers in peonies. Some of them do not transform the stamens, but show multiple layers of petals, as in the hose-in-hose daylilies.
The creation of double-flowered unusual form daylilies and spider type daylilies is very interesting, with much potential for future development. Some of these remind me of Hydra, Medusa's hair and sea anemones.
Ok, so I have to admit that I LOVE edges. They add to the complexity and I love complexity. That isn't to say that I don't love daylilies without fancy edges, but the edges are very attractive to me.
There are three major types of edges that I quite like - Ruffles, Piecrust and Teeth. Of these my two favorites are ruffles and teeth, with teeth being my very favorite.
The ruffles are elegant, feminine and soft, and remind me of ruffles from fashion. The piecrust feels very much like rococo architectural edging or heavy garment edging or embroidery. Teeth make me think of nature, of predators of all kinds: bird's beaks and talons, carnivore's teeth and claws, the quills of porcupine and sea urchins, the fangs of snakes and even spikes seen on some few snake species, horns and frills on some lizards, the teeth of crocodiles and alligators and the horns and tusks of many large herbivores. However, teeth also remind me of spiked hair, overdone false eyelashes, spiked leather garments, the thorns of cacti, roses and many shrubs and trees, broken glass and icicles. Last but not least, of course, are the spines and spikes of the mythical dragon.
We are swiftly coming to the end of this series. Next time we will look at the aesthetic influences that have formed my tastes and opinions in regards to the daylily plant, the scapes, branches and bud count, flowers sizes and performance.