I am still an exhibitionist! | Daylily Blog on beating slim odds

I cut the scape the night before (as you know I grow all my seedlings about 30 miles from my house) and I was worried that it wouldnt open.  Even if it did open, the chances of the bloom being perfect was slim.  Seedlings hardly ever win a purple or a blue ribbon, as 25 points of the 100 they are allowed goes for distinction.  If the judges do not think the seedling "speaks" to them, shows some qualities superior to other observed daylilies, or contributes to the daylily landscape in general...then the chances of winning 90 of those 100 points aren't great.  

But, knowing that seedlings are a tough section, I needed to bring this scape.  

She towers over everything else in the bed, and for a red, the surface and hue are flawless.  You know red is not my color.  Red in the daylily garden rattles my rhythm.  It is so hard to mess up red.  Its browny-red, or purple-red, or brick-red, or tomato-red.  I like crayon red.  Real, rosy, radiant red.  And I think this daylily has that color in spades.  It is clear and clean and I wanted judges to comment on it.  I cut it 13 hours before the show, immediately plunged the cut scape into cold water and left it outside to soak up the moonlight.

5am came early, and I thought about this scape before my feet hit the floor.  I shuffled outside, still shaking the dreams from my hair and the sleep from my eyes, to see how she faired.

Oh.  My.

I ran back inside.  I wanted to scream.  But the house was still silent, gentle snoring coming from two bedrooms and no one awake to celebrate.  I did a solo happy dance anyway.  

None of the other exhibits in my buckets compared with the screaming red one on the left.  She not only opened well, but was perfect.   I packed the car carefully...knowing that if I was going to lose this flower, it would be in transport.  

I took 39 scapes.  Many seedlings, since this is the first opportunity I have had to really show anyone what Ive been doing the last five or six years in hybridizing.  Until this summer, I have only seen these daylilies once or twice a season, and for only a day or two even then.  I think I took 12 seedling scapes and entered 8.  

The big red one stared at me in the rearview mirror the whole way to the show.  I watched it bounce up and down as I seemed to hit every big bump on the road there.  In the picture above, its the one on the far left.  You can't miss her.  With my favorite tunes blaring, I enjoyed the 45 minute ride in...  

She was the first scape I entered with classification.  I wanted the exhibit on the table as soon as possible to avoid any accidents near grooming and placement. 

The rest of the morning is a blur.  Grooming questions and placement questions and computer database questions and wi-fi issues kept me busy.  Keep in mind hardly ANY of these volunteers have been to a show, let alone WORKED at one, so we had lots of teamwork and patience in play.  Everyone rocked.  Seriously rocked.  I am so proud. (On a side note, 16 people came to my gardens the week before the show to learn how to select, transport and groom daylilies.  They were serious about doing this right!)

There was a nice representation of daylilies in the show except for unusual forms and spiders.  In those two sections, there were only 4 entries.  I thought about my own garden and was disappointed I hadn't looked more closely for some of those.

H. 'Dyna Girl' and H. 'Threshold of a Dream' - both by Paul Owen of Slightly Different Nursery

I took Paul Owen's H. 'Threshold of a Dream' and his H. 'Dyna Girl' and scored purples with both!  It is the first time I have used his cultivars in a show and they really rocked!  The branching on TOAD was bananas.  Had it not been for a tiny color break on a petal, I think that one would have won the section.  Sigh.  H. 'Dyna Girl' had two well-spaced blooms open and was a contender as well. They are both great garden plants and translated very well inside, too!

When the dust settled, 13 exhibitors won blue ribbons!  Almost half of the 111 scapes were awarded first place honors!  I won 22 blue ribbons, which made me the Sweepstakes Winner!  I have never won that award before, so I am so excited to check that one off the list!  

And, as the Best In Show ballots were tabulated, it was revealed that this seedling had won Best In Show!  

Are you kidding me?  
I almost cried.  
I did.  

Had it not been for the existence of Facebook and YouTube, I may have broke out in that happy dance again, but I was not risking an appearance on America's Funniest Home Videos, or worse, someone else's blog doing a really bad macarena.  Thank God I have the threat of social media to help curb my outbursts in public...

So, that's it.  We did it.  A third Best In Show, and a real boost of encouragement for our daylily eye in the seedling bed.  A big shout out goes to my dad, who first saw this seedling in 2008 and told me that there was  a red daylily I would finally like.  And he was right.  I love it.  

We will divide up this huge clump once it is finished blooming, and if it does well next summer after the dividing, we will introduce it next year.  The name is already reserved, and was suggested by my darling husband, Steve.  If he has to admit to liking daylilies at all, he says he loves the red ones.  

Here she is in the garden, standing on a 45" scape with a consistently extra large 8" bloom.

Congratulations to all the winners of the first AHS-accredited daylily show for the Southwestern Illinois Hemerocallis Society.  

Way to go, folks!  WE DID IT!


Mary Collier Fisher said...

Congratulations on your seedling, your Best in Show, your Sweepstakes awards, and the team success of the first show for SIHS! You are all terrific.

Nell said...

Wow, that is one magnificent daylily! Congratulations to your club as well as you. I'm in awe of anyone who can not only produce such a color, but capture its image.

Bethany Benton Art said...

Wow! The red one is absolutely stunning. I like crayon red too ... the true red, in my opinion. Congratulations on all of your awards! :-)

Nikki Schmith said...

Thanks, Mary! I am so proud of the "little club that could." Someone already asked about next years event! HOORAY!
Im off to my first daylily show west of the Mississippi River this weekend. Looking forward to it!

Nikki Schmith said...

Thank you! It was quite a surprise. And for someone who doesnt seek out red daylilies...it was REALLY a surprise!

Nikki Schmith said...

Hey, Beth! I am so excited about it!! I hope all is going well with you and the rest of your daylily season...you have any rebloom down there?

Bethany Benton Art said...

Hey, Nikki, Yes, all is going well, but my daylily bloom season is almost finished. Thank goodness, the stargazers have begun to bloom, so I don't get too depressed! Yes, I've had a few re-bloomers already. They are: Spinnaker, Lemonberry Truffle, and Rocket Booster as well as several inherited NOIDS (learned that term from you). :-) Happy Gardening!

Susan Okrasinski said...

Congratulations Nikki! This is one of the best daylily show descriptions I have ever read! It really should be in one of our magazines. I could see it reprinted in the Journal followed by photos from other shows around the country also. I know in our region the show count is lower than normal. I could see this as the linchpin for a rallying call to the fun of putting on a show.

Anika said...

Congratulations on your successful show!


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