This is a daylily with a story. ...a rather lengthy one. Ten or twelve years ago, when I was first starting to collect daylilies, I visited a hybridizer in Ohio. I was into 'cheap' daylilies then, and he had some potted seedlings that he was selling for $2 each. I figured I just needed color, so picked out a pot with nice foliage that had a scape but was not blooming. When it bloomed, I have to say I was disappointed. It was JUST yellow...a boring yellow at that. It had nothing about it that made it different or even very pretty, so I banished it to the "Woods Garden", behind a monster Hosta.
The next year it towered above everything else in the Woods Garden, and the yellow was brighter than I remembered. The color stayed lovely all day...no matter how hot and humid. The flowers were much bigger than the year before.
OK...it could stay.
By the third year I was shocked to find that our $2 plant was growing elongated petals, curly sepals, and many of the blooms had a cluster of small, extra petals in the center. After checking about classifications, it wouldn't qualify as an 'unusual form', but it certainly was different. It would be classified as a double, but to us, it was a very UNUSUAL DOUBLE.
We moved it up next to the house, where we could see it from the picture window. It pouted for a year, not liking to be disturbed, and only gave us single blooms...but by the second year it started to double again.
We then took a picture of it to the hybridizer who had sold it to us. His words were..."Had I known it would look like THAT....you would NEVER have gotten it!" Perfect name....our yellow weirdo had it's 'garden name'.
Some time later we took a bloom to another hybridizer, who specializes in spiders and spider variants. As we walked into his yard, "Had I Known" in hand, his wife
approached us with a worried look on her face, and asked us nicely if we would please not pick any blooms, as they were breeders. We smiled and told them that this was not something they would find in their gardens, but that we would love their opinion. They were very interested, and we struck up a deal. We would trade them a fair amount of "Had I Known" for something I couldn't ordinarily afford, and as a bonus, the growers would put "HIK" in their field, and would help us in the process of gathering statistics needed to register the plant. We haven't gotten that far yet, and when we do we plan to register it in the name of the original breeder, as well as our own.
So far we have determined that "HIK" is very pollen fertile, but can be a reluctant pod parent. With persistance we've been able to get pods, and seedlings.... some of which bloomed in '06.
**As of this update, we have a lot of new seedlings that will but put in the garden in the spring of 2009.
With his Spring 2006 Collection, Pat Stamile introduced the first of it's kind, a Tetraploid double spider named SKEEZIX. We decided to bite the bullet and spend the money to purchase this exciting new variety as a prospective mate for "HAD I KNOWN" It has been a difficult road, as Skeezix does NOT like Ohio winters, but we have managed to get a few seedlings from the cross, as well as a decent number of seedlings from Had I Known bred to ([MIchelin House x So Many Stars] X Skeezix) offspring. Any results will be chronicled here.
UPDATE 2009....we had been wavering about registering this plant, but we've finally made up our minds. I think Had I Known is different enough to deserve some kind of recognition, but there are a couple of things that kept us on the fence until now.
One is the bud count....which is low for daylilies in this day and age. It averages around 10-12.
The other is doubling reliability. Most years we could count on 70-80% doubles....but in 2008, it barely doubled 50% of the time. That could be directly related to two years of serious drought, although we tried to supplement with several waterings a week. We went for most of two summers with no measurable rain, and Had I Known wasn't the only cultivar that showed signs of distress. Some varieties that HAD been blooming, didn't even send up a scape in 2008. At least HIK bloomed and set pods.
On the plus side-the scapes are strong, the foliage is nice, the increase is decent, and although it takes some work to get pods, it is fertile both ways. And it is definitely DIFFERENT.
We plan to do all the measuring required during the 2009 bloom season, and register HAD I KNOWN sometime in 2009 or 2010.
First billing will go to the original hybridizer, Dave Jackson.