It became obvious this year that we need to start a page dedicated to the breeding abilities of IDA MAE NORRIS. This introduction has become the clear leader in breeding in the SUBSTANTIAL EVIDENCE line. With the virtues of giving clear bright colors as well a vigorous, healthy plants with good bud counts and good branching, IMN is the clear choice as the best of the line for breeding so far. I currently have some (hopefully) converted pieces of IMN in the greenhouse. Such is my belief in the breeding ability of this cultivar that the entire production of seed this winter (2011) will be hanging on the use of tet IMN. With operating costs of the winter greenhouse running well upwards of $1,000 for heat alone, that is a lot of faith.


Here are some early results of the breeding efforts in the diploid lines.


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This is seedling 06-1 a direct baby of IMN with MARY FRANCES RAGAN. The picture does not begin to convey the visual impact of this seedling. But the baby from it shown below may give an idea of its breeding ability. This seedling, introduced for 2014 as MARTHA EDSON NORRIS has edged out our IDA MAE NORRIS as the premier breeder in our SUBSTANTIAL EVIDENCE lines. The images below will help to illustrate why.


At as much as 9 1/2" in diameter, seedling 11-37 is a shocker. The image shows it as much more toward the red spectrum while in reality it is more purple. However the size and impact of the blossom is not easily missed. The cross is two of our 2014 introductions, EVIDENCE OF ROYALTY and MARTHA EDSON NORRIS. This one is now introduced as SUBSTANTIAL TREASURE. The sad fact that we have had to face up to is that there is never any pollen and the pods that set are aborted in a few weeks every time. That is true even if we use tet pollen instead of dip. 

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The seedling above has generated a lot of buzz here at Ashwood. Three hybridizers of note have zeroed in on this sparklingly clear lavender. One hybridizer, arguably the most prominent hybridizer in his area, offered us $500 for a single fan of this beauty. The seedling number is 12-14. It is a cross of IN YOUR DREAMS and IDA MAE NORRIS. In our several years of being able to evaluate this fine seedling, we have grown to appreciate it for the balance of a very consistent, clear and smooth coloration and the excellent plant underneath. It is a very likely introduction for 2016. We have been assured that the clarity of the lavender is exceptional in its color range. And once again the contrast with the large throat coming out of IDA MAE NORRIS finishes off the whole package as one that is going to be a sure winner. 12-14 is now introduced as BRYAN'S SONG giving a nod to our friend that excellent Canadian hybridizer, Bryan Culver.    

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Seedling 11-30 joins the ranks of the truly fine babies coming out of IDA MAE NORRIS. Crossed to SHARON'S DELIGHT, IMN produced this purple which sports a throat that reads nearly white in the garden. The camera picks up and overemphasizes the green component in the throat. But in person the white component dominates. Contrasting with the purple of the blossom, the color combination is fantastic. If you are familiar with the white component in SHARON'S DELIGHT you may find this combination even more intriguing. 11-30 as of 2016 is INSIDE LOOKING OUT. The feeling of looking out a window from a dark house onto a gorgeous snowy scene is the inspiration for this name. 

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We must thank our wonderful friend Heidi Douglas of Brown's Ferry daylily gardens for making the seed that gave us this one. Heidi crossed her future 10-23 out of ROSE F KENNEDY with pollen from IDA MAE NORRIS and the seedling above resulted. As you may be able to see the color of flower is an absolutely clear and pure shade of red which puts this seedling in a class by itself. This is a likely future for us as it seems to have the plant qualities we seek as well.  



Showing a different look but with size and bloom quality in abundance, seedling 13-9 measured 9 1/2" and bloomed for a very long time on well branched scapes. A cross of IDA MAE NORRIS and Carpenter's MY CUP OVERFLOWS. 13-9 was a much used parent for size and plant quality in 2014. 


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Named in honor of my exceptional and talented brother, DANIEL HOWARD NORRIS, this seedling is the realization of what I was breeding for when I first set upon the journey into these lines from LIGHTS OF DETROIT X WHEN I DREAM. I envisioned in 1993, a very large, flat and intense red with a gigantic throat of green. DHN will be a stepping stone in the further pursuit of even larger blossoms (as if 7" isn't enough) with deeper green throats. All indications are that this one should give us some exciting reds with spotlight throats. I like a flower that commands attention from a distance and DANIEL HOWARD NORRIS is surely one of those! To convert DHN and use it in tet form with out new tetraploid star, T10-30, would be pure dynamite. It would seem that we will be able to introduce this one in 2012 if we don't get too excited and kill too many fans in the conversion process.

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Another fine direct baby of IDA MAE NORRIS and also a seedling out MARY FRANCES RAGAN, 07-2 is headed for introduction. A very large and very flat flower approaching nine inches this seedling has the kind of garden impact we love. This daylily is now known as SIGHT FOR MORE EYES. It is a 2012 introduction and continues to wow garden visitors. 

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The 2010 bloom season showed the wide range of possibilities coming from IDA MAE NORRIS breeding. This one caught our attention with the beautiful, intriguing eye zone. The seedling number is 10-16. It is on the fast track to introduction as it brings yours truly and most visitors to a dead halt when they see it. It is simply one of the prettiest daylilies I have ever seen. Now known as ALETA EVERETT ADAMS, 10-16 continues to be a paragon of beauty and performance in the gardens here. 

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The soft, ethereal beauty of the babies of IDA MAE NORRIS is illustrated in small part by the above image. I will say it again, IMN is the best breeder of daylilies for beauty I have ever used. ( We now will pass that title on to the baby, MARTHA EDSON NORRIS. But IMN is not to be denied. 

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In addition to the ethereal beauty I mentioned above, the ability to put amazingly large throats in some of the babies is valued highly here. The addition of the expanded throats in green and in yellow give an added dimension and feature to the repertoire of daylilies that is badly needed in a world of look alike introductions. 

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Another illustration of the variation in the breeding ability of IMN is this red with a prominent midrib stripe. I generally do not look for plants with a midrib. But sometimes one simply works better with it than without it. This one of the seedlings that Mike Derrow zeroed in on when he visited last summer. It also is one of many, many seedlings that illustrate the new characteristic of this line, enabled by IDA MAE NORRIS. This is the ability to produce pure, clear colors in the SUBSTANTIAL EVIDENCE lines. IMN is head and shoulders above any other cultivar in the line for that ability. We looked at perhaps 1,500 direct babies of IMN last summer and there was hardly a muddy color anywhere among them.