Date: Sun, 21 Feb 1999 17:05:46 -0500
From: Bobbi Brooks
Subject: Bob Sobek, great NE hybridizer
Bobbie here in Gloucester Ma
Last week we had a great meeting at NEDS to clear away the winter blues...lotsa pics, discussions and we did a preview of what is to come from the hybridizers at NEDS...looking at the seedlings and hybridizing programs- always a highlight!
But to the topic at hand. Bob Sobek. Now, some of you might know of Bob, or of his intros, but being such a quiet person and not much into marketing his own things, I think He is a BEST KEPT SECRET of NEDS! To make his marketing even harder, some of his breeding lines are for earlies, and lates, which of course do not get seen during the regular garden visits of mid July here.
Some of his that you might recognize, and help me out here, if some of you are growing others of his that I am missing...
AERIAL, seen in a journal against something very dark like ED MURRAY, this small gold is tall and has many buds, and the slender scape allows it to move in the breeze. Not many that I can think of has the plant habits and look of this unique cultivar.
3 SEASONS, yes early, and late! and blooms its head off
IN STRAWBERRY TIME, one of his earlist (cross of Rose Cherub and Stella), repeats
PUMPKIN TIME, which I just ordered from Gail Korn in Nebraska to get a fan of it! one of his lates
FACE TO FACE, tall and small, out of Stella
ECHO THE SUN, which, again, small, yellow and repeating is one of the best landscape plants that I can think of!
BACKSTROKE which has a dark side to the sepals, a bronzey brown, making it neat to observe from all sides! (one thing that Bob looks for is shape as in trumpet, and good looks in the garden)
COOL ONE - Bob is into cool green yellows, and this one he calls a great landscape plant, lotsa blooms and tall, large, and cool yellow
Bob has gone back to the species, watches closely for all characteristics and doesn't give a hoot about whatever the latest trend is! His plants will be good quality and have great characteristics and be unique somehow, or else he would not be introducing them! Looks for bud count, branching, fragrance, noctunal bloom for early morning openers, and extended bloom.
His presentation was very helpful, showing parents and then seedlings, telling us what he was looking for, and got!
NOW, I picked up on more things than just his seedlings...like: DO NOT JUST LOOK AT BUDCOUNT- that was the big issue a few years back, thinking the more buds the better the plant???? nope! Sometimes budcount makes the flowers open get disfigured bumping against one another, and also the plant can bloom itself out too fast.... he suggested that SCAPE COUNT be a better plant habit. Have fewer buds but on scapes than can come regularly and several to a fan. One fan producing more than one scape. How many plants do you know of that do this? I know that Mike Huben, of NEDS and this robin, is looking into that characteristic also.
He has one unique one that is starred next to my notes out of SUPER PURPLE AND AFRICA, looking for sunfast dark colored daylilies.... And then he surprised us with seedlings from his first TETS! PALMISTRY, out of ERIN PRAIRIE AND GULFSTREAM 'out of howard brooks, Maine' and is introducing COPPER CHAMELEON which he showed three slides of, each looking like a completely different flower! Bronzey, Black and Hazey. Heck it even had a metallic sheen to it! (luckily I am growing this one for evaluation next season!!!! I cannot wait!)
For breeding with species and spideries, his 90-60 out of CAROL SING (Saxton), a late spider x H ctirina looked interesting.
For lates, his 93-43 out of CAROL SING X ORCHID CORSAGE, has great branching and is VERY LATE (meaning SANDRA ELIZABETH time) He mentioned that PARDON ME, Apps, was being used in all 4 of his lines, something that certainly means that newer is not the only way to go! (Bob had given me Corky and Altissima to work with recently...maybe this year I will do that on his advice)
I asked him about his lates and if they opened well. Heck it does us no good to brag over a late that has bad form, just because there is a bloom there (BG). He has a 92-28 VL, that is melon Extract x his 88-45 (now I know numbers are not exciting, not to me anyway, but as a hybridizer, he is well aware of each of his numbers! LOL!) He says this one opens in 33 degree weather! Hey, I will take that! Another starred is FLOURISH OF TRUMPETS, a late from RAIN FOREST X BOUNTIFUL VALLY). Sorry, I dont remember what it looks like, but I do not star things unless they are really of interest...guess we just have to keep looking for it.
He is using PASTEL PINK from the Late MR LACHMAN, of NEDS quite a bit, and told us that this is a great clarifier, it opens up, and although not fancy, it is a breeders plant) He has seedlings that look great from PP with BERMUDA CORAL (Another NEDS breeder and late cultivar, from DON MARVIN) and with SANDRA ELIZABETH (yes, from yet another NEDS breeder, the late Don Stevens) Heck that one was introduced in 93 and still is the VL landmark.
Bob is now introducing through Tranquil Lake, and is in no hurry. He knows that he is breeding and looking for good plant habits and is not in contention for the latest shapes, sizes, nor edging breakthroughs. He is looking for the daylily to be a good garden plant. His conditions of growing in his Ma home are something to be seen....large field with no watering system, horse manure and wood chips. Bob is also a hybridizer of median iris, and those will be seen at his farm also.
I am glad that there are these small backyard hybridizers making unique and quality contributions to our hemerocallis. Bob certainly has shown us that we can all make a hybridizing program which counts, if we watch for good plant habits, observe what is happening for garden traits in F1, F2 and grow plants in clump strength and wait! I always come away from these lectures with more little side notes and tricks than just names of plants that I might want to purchase. One great thing about belonging to a daylily society is the sharing of information from growers and hybridizers.
And I certainly hope that more of you purchase cultivars of Bob's knowing that you are going to get a great daylily. I think with some arm twisting you might be able to get Bob to talk at your clubs as he LOVES to talk daylilies! And hunt down his cultivars. Watch Tranquil Lake for his new intros and seedlings under evalution, contact other NEDS growers who might also be a source.
any others care to comment on Bob's thing?
Bobbie Brooks, MA zone 6.5
Gardens In An Old Fashioned Way