Saturday, October 30, 2021

Groundbreaking and Dedication for NDSU's Arboretum and AHS Historic Daylily Display Garden

Two October Weekends in Fargo–Groundbreaking (2003) and Dedication (2004) for North Dakota State University’s Arboretum and AHS Historic Daylily Garden
Mary Baker

North Dakota State University (NDSU) President Dr. Joseph A. Chapman and his wife Gale invited me to attend NDSU’s fall 2003 homecoming weekend festivities, in particular the groundbreaking ceremony for the new 15-acre arboretum at the northwest corner of 12th Avenue North and 18th Street. Since the NDSU Bison played my alma mater, the University of Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks for the homecoming football game, President Chapman graciously included two football tickets with his invitation. 

A new College of Business Administration building and parking lot will occupy the original location of NDSU’s Horticultural Demonstration and Research Plots. Plants growing in the original location that will be relocated to the new arboretum site include NDSU’s AHS Daylily Display Garden, which features the largest public AHS historic daylily collection in the world in addition to a nice modern daylily collection. 

Per NDSU Plant Sciences Department Chair Dr. Albert Schneiter’s quote excerpted from the October 8, 2003 issue of Fargo’s newspaper, The Forum, “This will be a tremendous addition to NDSU. It will make a nice welcome for visitors coming to campus from Interstate 29. The first thing they’ll see coming over the 12th Avenue overpass will be the NDSU gardens.” The Forum goes on to mention that the project’s first phase encompasses annuals, perennials, an iris collection, and the modern and historic daylily collection. Future plans will incorporate a rose garden, turf research plots, and a garden composed of plants native to the Fargo, North Dakota area. 

Karen Schock; Bryce Farnsworth; NDSU President Dr. Joseph A. Chapman; Mary Baker, NDSU Vice President Patricia A. Jensen, J.D.; Janice Dehod; NDSU Plant Sciences Research Specialist Barbara Laschkewitsch; and NDSU officials (summer 2002)

What an exciting celebration! Rich and I arranged to take Friday, October 10th 2003 off work as a travel day, as it’s an 8-hour drive on Interstate 29 from Omaha, Nebraska to Fargo. In South Dakota, we took the Aberdeen exit to fill up with gas and saw a beautiful dog sitting in the driver’s seat of a Ford F-350 pickup. One paw was on the steering wheel while his owner gassed up. The owner told us his dog is a very intelligent Weimaraner who thinks he can drive as he always moves to the driver’s seat whenever his owner fills the truck’s gas tank. Inside the convenience store, two women were engaged in a lively discussion about country music. One of the women said country music always makes her cry, and that the only time she listens to it is when she visits South Dakota.

We arrived uneventfully in Fargo and checked into our motel. We then met Bryce Farnsworth at Red Lobster for a delicious seafood meal. 

During the next morning, it rained heavily. Bryce picked us up, which was a good thing, as many of the streets were being blocked off for the Homecoming Parade. Bryce took us to the new arboretum site for the arboretum groundbreaking ceremony, where a large tent had been erected for the speakers and groundbreaking attendees. Region One Web Master and Science Liaison John Becker, who is an NDSU student, met us there. We had a wonderful time visiting with John. John, who is a gifted photographer, took many photos during the ceremony. 

We saw NDSU Vice President for University Relations Keith D. Bjerke and Plant Sciences Department Research Specialist Barbara Laschkewitsch there and exchanged greetings. NDSU Plant Sciences Department Extension Horticulturist Dr. Ronald C. Smith opened the ceremony. He described the arboretum project, pointed out a drawing exhibiting its beautiful design, and commended everyone for their hard work and dedication. Ron introduced Dr. Joseph A. Chapman, who spoke briefly but eloquently. Dr. Chapman introduced Vice President and Dean of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Natural Resources Patricia A. Jensen, J.D., who provided further detail about the arboretum’s future plans, including a building that will house an on site classroom, a visitor information area, drinking fountains, and public restroom facilities. After Pat finished speaking, NDSU Alumni Association President John Shotwell said a few words. The groundbreaking ceremony followed. Bryce joined the speakers and others to turn the first earth with golden shovels. 

After the groundbreaking ceremony concluded, I visited with Pat and AHS Region One member Jean Johnson. At that time, Jean owned Jean’s The Right Plant Place, a nursery specializing in perennials for northern gardens in Perham, Minnesota. Perham is close to Ottertail Lake, which I remember visiting as a child during family fishing trips. Pat invited Jean and I to join her in an ad hoc arboretum advisory committee to exchange ideas and information – we enthusiastically agreed! 

After our chat, Barbara, Bryce, John, Rich, and I joined Kay and Jill, who donated their late father Art Jenson’s iris collection to NDSU in a walk through the daylily and iris gardens. We had to walk through an area of wet Fargo clay while it was raining heavily to get there. We’re all gardening fanatics, because only diehard gardeners would tramp through heavy clay during a downpour in autumn despite the fact that no blooms remained in the garden. 

We said our farewells and went our separate ways. Bryce dropped Rich off at the hotel. Rich then drove to the FargoDome to get a parking spot for the upcoming Bison-Mavericks football game. Bryce and I proceeded to FWB Industries, formerly known as Fargo Rubber Stamp, to get information about a commemorative sign for NDSU’s historic AHS daylily collection. FWB Industries isn’t normally open on Saturday, but Sheri Larson made special arrangements to meet us shortly after the arboretum groundbreaking ceremony. Sheri greeted us with a pot of freshly brewed coffee, which was just what the doctor ordered after a cool, rainy morning. 

While there, I fell in love with a bison. I’m not referring to any current or former NDSU students or staff, but to a lovely bison sculpture made from a lightweight tarnish-proof aluminum alloy. I purchased the bison sculpture, which is proudly displayed in my home office as a fond reminder of Fargo and North Dakota State University. 

Bison in hand, Bryce and I left with samples and other information for NDSU Plant Sciences Department Chair Dr. Albert Schneiter. Bryce dropped me off at the FargoDome where I met Rich for the homecoming football game. I purchased an NDSU sweatshirt that I wore during the game. The Bison annihilated the UNO Mavericks by a score of 34 – 7. Mark Sanders, an NDSU right guard, played an awesome game. Mark is the nephew of Jeff Willer, who is Consulting Services Director for plaNet Consulting, the company I contract for. Jeff, who is an NDSU alumnus, is a former Bison football player. It’s a small world! 

After the game Rich and I returned to our hotel to freshen up. We later met Bryce and Don for dinner at Guadalajara’s, a Mexican restaurant with a full line of authentic entrees, including many seafood choices. Bryce treated us to an excellent meal – thanks, Bryce! 

The following morning, Bryce met us at Denny’s for breakfast with NDSU Plant Sciences Chair Dr. Albert Schneiter. Al had returned from a trip to Tennessee late the previous evening, and we were delighted to have the opportunity to finally meet him in person. During a delicious breakfast, we discussed various types of commemorative signs for the AHS historic daylily collection as well as layout for the sign. Al thought of the fantastic idea of setting the sign atop an angled monument that would rest on the ground. After we finished breakfast, we said goodbye to Al and gave him a copy of our AHS Region One Daylily Pioneer Cookbook as a memento. 

We followed Bryce to NDSU, where we toured the potato grading facility and greenhouses. Bryce showed us where the potatoes are stored as well as the grading equipment, and then he gave us four bags of gourmet North Dakota potatoes to take home, including Yukon Gold and Gold Rush, which became mouthwatering mashed potatoes for a follow-up family dinner. The russet potatoes were the very best baked potatoes we’ve ever eaten! 

We went through the greenhouses and saw mass quantities of potatoes in various stages of growth. Rich was first to spot what might be the first-ever ornamental potato cultivar, and he excitedly called us over to look at it. It has something Bryce has never seen in all his years of potato breeding – a bright red central stamen area, which is usually a soft golden orange color. The flowers, which resembled morning glories, were perfectly flat and round in a stunning shade of lavender mauve. Each perfect bloom contained a darker central star-shaped area that in turn was centered with a brilliant emerald green starburst throat. Stems were reddish purple and the healthy compound scalloped leaves were green with a subtle red cast. Plant habit is cascade, which would make this lovely gem perfect for a hanging basket. Bryce marked the potato and showed it to his boss Susie Thompson on the next day, with the result that it’s been selected for evaluation. I’m keeping my fingers crossed – if all goes well, this potential future ornamental potato introduction might some day be available at garden centers near you! 

Asunta "Susie" Thompson, Associate Professor NDSU Plant Sciences (September 5, 2019; pic courtesy of Mary Baker)

I don’t think there’s anything Bryce Farnsworth can’t do. On Friday, October 24, 2003, Bryce became the first non-Canadian to receive the Prairie Garden Award for Excellence for excellence in horticulture from the Prairie Garden Committee during an awards ceremony in Assiniboine Park, Winnipeg, Manitoba – congratulations, Bryce! 

Bryce Farnsworth (pic courtesy of Debbie Monbeck)

All too soon, it was time to leave Fargo to return to Omaha after a fabulously fun groundbreaking celebration weekend. 

But wait – there’s more! North Dakota State University officials invited me to return as a speaker for the arboretum and historic AHS daylily garden dedication on October 30, 2004. I accepted and flew to Fargo, where I attended Friday night’s Harvest Bowl activities along with fellow AHS Region One members and their friends Bryce Farnsworth, Don Martinson, Barbara Laschkewisch, John Becker, Amber Langford, Central North Dakota Daylily Society President Karen Schock, Canadian Prairie Daylily Society President Janice Dehod and her husband John White, and Terrie Mann. At 9:00 am the following morning, I had the honor and privilege of speaking with NDSU President Dr. Joseph A. Chapman, NDSU Vice President and Dean of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Natural Resources Patricia A. Jensen, J.D., and Central North Dakota Daylily Society President Karen Schock during the NDSU arboretum dedication. Unfortunately heavy rain before and during the weekend forced the dedication ceremony to move indoors to Loftsgard Hall. 

pic courtesy of Mary Baker

As there were no daylilies in bloom and much of the foliage had gone into dormancy, the well-designed layout and beautiful structure of the new arboretum was quite apparent despite the weekend’s rain. The enriched soil will grow NDSU’s daylilies to their fullest potential. The AHS Historic Daylily Garden sign is gorgeous and visible from quite a distance, as is the plaque acknowledging donors. There is ample room for additional daylilies in both the historic daylily area as well as the area featuring modern daylily cultivars. Both areas combine to comprise NDSU’s AHS Display Garden. 

Thanks, NDSU, for everything you have done to showcase and highlight the Plant Sciences Department’s gardens, especially the AHS Display Garden featuring the largest public historic daylily collection in the world. We appreciate you preserving and sharing these beautiful daylilies in a spectacular setting where they will be cherished and enjoyed for years to come! 

This article was first published in the Fall/Winter 2004 issue of the ADS Region One Daylily Pioneer newsletter

Friday, July 9, 2021

Attention, Region One Garden Judges

 Don’t Forget to Vote Your Awards & Honors Ballot

2021 ADS Awards & Honors Ballot Voting Deadline is September 1

About Garden Judging

American Daylily Society (ADS) Garden Judges evaluate daylilies as they naturally grow in the garden. Each pretty daylily bloom is more than just its face; that face is attached to the rest of the plant. Garden Judges look at the entire plant.

Garden Judges Workshops 1 and 2 instruction provides the knowledge and tools to consistently and impartially evaluate daylily performance in garden settings. Garden Judges annually vote the ADS Awards & Honors ballot. The Awards and Honors system relies heavily on Garden Judges, because Garden Judges select a majority of the ADS Cultivar Awards each year. Most awards are based on cultivars observed in the Garden Judge’s own region, so it is important to have Garden Judges in each region. Currently each region is allowed to have up to 20% of their membership as Garden Judges.

There is a $5 fee to take each workshop for credit, and a $3 fee to audit a workshop. Daylily lovers often audit workshops simply to learn more about their favorite flower as it grows in the garden.

The 2021 edition of Judging Daylilies in the Garden is informative and helpful, and is available for a free download to AHS members from the ADS Membership Portal Store. The handbook contains a comprehensive illustration of all the various parts of a daylily. My favorite section of this handbook is the informative Chapter 3: Characteristics of Daylilies, which I refer to often. Click HERE to order the free download version. You can also purchase a printed version of the handbook from Amazon.

Why and How to Become a Garden Judge

Consider becoming a Garden Judge if you love daylilies and want to learn more about them. Garden Judges learn to evaluate foliage, plant vigor, scape height, bud placement, overall beauty and distinction of the bloom and plant, resistance to disease, form, and bloom substance. Garden Judges grow all forms and types of daylilies and visit other daylily gardens in their region.

To begin training as a new Garden Judge, you must have been an AHS member for a minimum of 12 calendar months. When you finish taking Garden Judges Workshops 1 and 2 and are ready to submit your application to become a new Garden Judge, you must have been an AHS member for 24 consecutive months.

Before taking Garden Judges Workshops 1 and 2, you must read and review the 2021 edition of Judging Daylilies in the Garden.
You can take the Garden Judges Workshops in any order. Garden Judges Workshop 1 takes about two hours and is taught by a Garden Judges Instructor (or group of Garden Judges Instructors) in a classroom setting with a PowerPoint presentation. There is a brief (and easy) test at the end of the workshop with a 70% grade required to pass. You can also take both Garden Judges Workshop 1 and the test online when it is periodically offered by ADS.

Garden Judges Workshop 2 takes two to three hours and is taught by a Garden Judge Instructor (or group of Garden Judge Instructors) in a daylily garden during bloom season. Hands-on instruction is provided so students learn to evaluate and point-score registered daylily cultivars and daylily seedlings.

When you finish both workshops, the next step is to fill out and submit an Application for Appointment as a Garden Judge form to ADS Garden Judges Records Chair Claude Carpenter by the October 1 deadline. This application form is in your Garden Judges Workshop 1 and Garden Judges Workshop 2 packet. If you want to vote the current year’s Awards & Honors ballot, don’t wait until October 1—mail the application form to ADS Garden Judges Records Chair Claude Carpenter right away. 

Garden Judge Responsibilities

A Garden Judge's primary responsibility is to annually vote the Awards & Honors Ballot. The voting deadline is September 1. You can either vote online by September 1, or by paper ballot postmarked on or before September 1. Our current ADS Awards & Honors Chair is Rhonda Veroeven.

During your five-year Garden Judge term, you must visit a minimum of 25 daylily gardens during bloom season, including at least 15 in your own region and at least ten different gardens. Garden Judges should visit as many daylily gardens as possible. Keep track of your daylily garden visits on the ADS Garden Judge’s Five-Year Visit Log form.

Garden Judges must take Garden Judges Workshop 2 once during years three through five of their Garden Judge term to renew for another five years as a Garden Judge.

During year five of their term, Garden Judges must fill out and send their Application for Reappointment as an ADS Garden Judge form along with their ADS Garden Judge’s Five-Year Visit Log form to ADS Garden Judges Records Chair Claude Carpenter by the October 1 deadline. Garden Judges will receive both of these forms in the mail from the ADS Garden Judges Records Chair early in year five of their five-year term. The forms are also available on the ADS Membership Portal on the Garden Judges Home page.

Garden Judges should grow a variety of daylilies of various forms and sizes to see examples of the complete garden plant and to familiarize themselves with all types of daylilies in their gardens. Garden Judges should especially focus on growing daylilies hybridized in their own region. Garden Judges should also attend regional meetings as well as ADS National Conventions, where they will see many daylily gardens.

Garden Judges must pay their ADS membership dues on time.

For more information, contact your region’s Garden Judges Liaison. In Region One, that’s Phil Fass. He is happy to help you and answer all of your questions. You can also contact ADS Garden Judges Records Chair Claude Carpenter.

Why and How to Become a Garden Judges Instructor

Once you have been a Garden Judge for one full five-year term, you are eligible to apply to become a Garden Judges Instructor. Consider becoming a new Garden Judge Instructor if you are passionate about garden judging, and if you love to help others learn. Each region needs qualified, active Garden Judge Instructors.

To become a new Garden Judges Instructor, you must have served one full five-year term as a Garden Judge. You must also assist an accredited Garden Judges Instructor with instructing one Garden Judges Workshop 1 and one Garden Judges Workshop 2 (in any order). You must then fill out and submit an Application for Appointment ADS Garden Judges Workshop Instructor form and send it to Garden Judges Records Chair Claude Carpenter by October 1 during the year your qualifications are met. 

Becoming a Garden Judge Instructor does not change the timeframe of your Garden Judge term. For example, if you are a Garden Judge in year two of your five-year term and become a new Garden Judge Instructor at that time, you are still in year two of your five-year term.

Once you are a Garden Judges Instructor, you must instruct Garden Judges Workshop 2 once during years three through five of your Garden Judge term to renew for another five years as a Garden Judge and Instructor. There is no fee for instructors to teach Garden Judges Workshops.

Garden Judging—A Privilege and a Responsibility

I am passionate about Garden Judging, and have been a Garden Judge since 2000 and a Garden Judge Instructor since 2004. As a hybridizer, the Garden Judge’s method of evaluating daylilies assists me with selecting seedlings for registration. I examine balance and proportion of scapes to foliage, branching and spacing of buds on branches, foliage, vigor, flower substance and sun resistance, color clarity, etc., and especially look for distinction. As a collector, I want to grow daylilies that make beautiful, healthy clumps and bloom over a long period of time. Garden Judge training provides the tool kit to analyze overall performance of my seedlings, registered cultivars, and the many beautiful daylilies from other hybridizers that dazzle in my garden.

It is an honor to represent my region as a Garden Judge. It is a great privilege and responsibility to vote the annual ADS Awards & Honors Ballot. It’s wonderful to see daylilies on the ballot growing in several gardens throughout my region, where I can evaluate their performance in locations other than my own garden.

Consider adding your voice—become a Garden Judge!

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Nan Ripley wins AHS Moldovan Mentoring Award!

Nan Ripley from Nevada, Iowa, was awarded the AHS Moldovan Mentoring Award at the AHS National Convention in Hattiesburg, MS last qeekend. This award is for for lifetime achievement in mentoring others through daylilies and is one of the top three personal awards given by AHS. 
Nan was not able to be there with us in person, but was watching the live-streamed show. "I am so blessed", she told me when I called her. "Personal relationships are so important."
Nan has given freely of herself and her garden to many groups, including youth groups, Master Gardeners, garden clubs, etc., for many years. She is a gem in our region.
Kris Henning, AHS Region 1 Director

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Val Hoefer wins Regional Service Award!

Regional President Val Hoefer was announced as the winner of the Region 1 Service Award this weekend at the AHS National Convention in Hattiesburg, MS. She was in attendance and was very surprised and excited when her name was announced. "I did not expect this!", she said. I told her she deserved it with all the hard work that she has done, especially this past year. 

Congratulations to you, Val!!

Kris Henning, Region 1 Director

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Attention Region One Garden Judges—2021 Garden Judges Workshop 2

Because of the Covid-19 pandemic and the derecho that severely damaged many Iowa gardens, the 2021 American Daylily Society (ADS) Region One Meeting has been canceled.

For the convenience of our Garden Judges and those who want to become new Garden Judges, ADS Region One will offer Garden Judges Workshop 2 (GJW2) at three different locations during daylily bloom season in July 2021. Restroom facilities will be provided. We ask that you follow COVID-19 protocols for social distancing and wear masks.

Garden Judges Workshop 2 is scheduled on the following dates in the following gardens:

  • The Central Iowa Daylily Society (CIDS) will offer GJW2 on Sunday July 11 at 9 a.m. in Parkersburg, Iowa at Prairie Wind Gardens. Please contact the Chair and Lead Instructor Phil Fass at if you plan to attend.
  • The Nebraska Daylily Society (NDS) will offer GJW2 on Sunday July 11 at 9 a.m. in Omaha, Nebraska at Mary Baker’s Garden. Please contact the Chair and Lead Instructor Mary Baker at or call Mary at 402-933-1496 if you plan to attend. Cold bottled water will be provided. Mary will host an open garden from noon until 2 p.m. following GJW2. 
  • The Daylily Society of Minnesota (DSM) will offer GJW2 on Saturday, July 31 at 10 a.m. in Woodbury, Minnesota at Steve Horan’s garden. Chair is Kris Henning and the Lead Instructor is Steve Horan. Please contact Kris Henning at if you plan to attend.

Cost is $5 to take GJW2 for credit and $3 to audit GJW2. Go to the ADS Membership Portal Online Store for a free download of the latest edition (currently 2021) of Judging Daylilies in the Garden and read it prior to attending GJW2.

GJW2 taken during years three through five will count toward renewal of your term. Please click 2021 ADS Region One Garden Judges roster to see when your Garden Judge term expires. Garden Judges, please consider taking GJW2 in summer 2021 if you are in years three through five of your current Garden Judge term (taking GJW2 will count for renewal credit if your term expires in 2021, 2022, or 2023). 

All Garden Judges with terms expiring in 2020 received an automatic one-year extension of their Garden Judge terms. 

ADS Region One members who wish to become a new Garden Judge are welcome to attend (you must be an ADS member for 12 consecutive months to begin training; to become a garden judge, you must be an ADS member in good standing for 24 continuous months). Please click how to become a new Garden Judge, scroll down to the What are the steps I need to follow to become a garden judge? section, and read the bulleted sentences for more information about becoming a new ADS Garden Judge. ADS periodically offers Garden Judges Workshop 1 (GJW1) online and publicizes when it is available.

ADS Region One Garden Judges who are in year five of their first five-year term (or in any year of a subsequent term) are welcome to assist with Garden Judges Workshop 2 instruction to become a new Garden Judge Instructor. Please contact the Chair of the GJW2 you plan to attend if you want to become a new Garden Judge Instructor. Please click How to Become a Garden Judge Instructor and scroll down to the fifth section "Why and How to Become a Garden Judge Instructor" for more information about becoming a new ADS Garden Judge Instructor.

ADS Region One members attending the 2021 ADS National Convention in Hattiesburg, Mississippi can also:

  • Take Garden Judges Workshop 1 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursday, May 20 during the 2021 ADS National Convention to become a new Garden Judge (click 2021 ADS National Convention schedule to see the full schedule).
  • Take Garden Judges Workshop 2 from 9 a.m. to noon on Thursday, May 20 during the 2021 ADS National Convention to renew if your current Garden Judge term expires in 2020, 2021, 2022, or 2023 or to become a new Garden Judge (click 2021 ADS National Convention schedule to view the full schedule).

All Garden Judges must vote the 2021 ADS Awards & Honors ballot (see the 2021 Awards & Honors Ballot when available in 2021 for voting instructions).

Please contact me with any questions. As always, I am happy to help!

Mary Baker
ADS Region One Garden Judges Liaison

Sunday, October 25, 2020

ADS Region One 2020 Cultivar Awards & Honors Winners

The American Daylily Society (ADS) announced the 2020 cultivar award winners during the fall Board of Directors meeting on October 24, 2020. Two Region One dayliliesboth hybridized by Karol Emmerich of Springwood Gardens in Jordan, Minnesotawon Honorable Mention (HM) awards. Congratulations, Karol! 

Two daylilies named for ADS Region One members from hybridizers Mort Morss and David Kirchhoff of Daylily World in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky also won HM awards. Congratulations, David and Mort! 

Honorable Mention Award Winners from Karol Emmerich 

Two of Karol Emmerich’s lovely daylilies won HMs in 2020. One is FINISH THE RACE (2009, tet). 

Finish the Race (Karol Emmerich, 2019)pic courtesy of Karol Emmerich

'Finish the Race' (Karol Emmerich, 2009)pic courtesy of Kris Henning
For an additional picture and information about FINISH THE RACE, click HERE. 

The other Emmerich daylily to win an HM in 2020 is VIA DOLOROSA (2009, tet).

'Via Dolorosa' (Karol Emmerich, 2009, tet)—pic courtesy of Karol Emmerich
'Via Dolorosa' (Karol Emmerich, 2009, tet)—pic courtesy of Karol Emmerich

For another picture and description of VIA DOLOROSA, click HERE. 

Congratulations and kudos from everyone in Region One, Karol! We are proud of your accomplishments and thank you for your service to our region. 

HM Award Winners Named for Region One Members 

Daylilies named for two ADS Region One members also received HM awards in 2020. One is KYLE BILLADEAU (Mort Morss, 2014, tet). Kyle is ADS Treasurer, past Editor of the ADS Region One Daylily Pioneer newsletter, and member of the Daylily Society of Minnesota.

'Kyle Billadeau' (Mort Morss, 2014)—pic courtesy of Phyllis McIntosh

For the hybridizer’s picture and information about KYLE BILLADEAU, click HERE. 

The other 2020 HM award-winning daylily is MARY BAKER (David Kirchhoff, 2005, tet). Mary served as ADS Region One President from 2000-2004, is the Region One Garden Judges Liaison, and member of the Nebraska Daylily Society. 

'Mary Baker' (David Kirchhoff, 2005)pic courtesy of Mary Baker

For the hybridizer’s picture and description of MARY BAKER, click HERE.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Remembering gary Schaben: A Tribute from ADS Region One


gary Schaben, award-winning daylily hybridizer and American Daylily Society Region One Publicity Director (RPD) from 2000-2004, passed away peacefully this morning (9/15/2020) while watching the sunrise surrounded by his family.

The original version of this updated article (with title selected by gary) was first published on pages 66-72 in the Spring 2007 issue of The Daylily Journal. Here is the updated version, in tribute to our friend.

About gary Schaben: "I Was Born in a Log Cabin that I Helped My Father Build"
Kathleen M. Lamb and Mary Baker

gary told us he always envisioned that an article written about him would begin with that sentence. It’s the least we can do for gary, who inspires us and countless others to hybridize, including his talented nephew John Becker, creator of the gorgeous Hemerocallis ‘Tie Dyed Moon’ (Becker/Schaben, tet, 2003).

gary Schaben (pic courtesy of Chad Schaben)

gary’s love of gardening began in his home town of La Crosse in central Kansas, which gary describes as a dry and dusty prairie. The lone shady oasis belonged to a neighbor couple who had emigrated from Germany along with their iris collection. While an eight-year-old boy, gary would watch John, a cobbler, work in his shed on leather shoes and harnesses. When John tired of gary, he told gary about the bear hiding in the basement. gary would quickly retreat to the adjacent house, where Pauline welcomed him with freshly baked cookies they enjoyed in her beautiful garden, where it always felt cool on the hottest of days.

gary and Rita Schaben and family (pic courtesy of Chad Schaben)

After moving to Minnesota, gary’s sister-in-law gave him some Hemerocallis fulva to plant in a wet area of the garden. gary liked its vigor and hardiness and then discovered that daylilies also came in yellow. In 1989, gary’s mother-in-law told him that the gentleman from whom she rented pasture land, Marion Hagerstrom, grew and created daylilies in all sorts of colors. gary frequently visited Marion, and Marion gave him lots of seedlings to play with. Gary quickly became enamored with daylilies; as a result, gardening took on a whole new meaning. In addition to physically working in the dirt and designing artistic beds, he became hooked on creating his own daylilies. Sadly, gary’s first promising seedlings bloomed the summer after Marion passed away.

Personal and Cultivar Awards

gary did quite a bit of hybridizing with daylilies before his involvement began with his local club, the Hemerocallis Society of Minnesota (now known as the Daylily Society of Minnesota or DSM), and the American Hemerocallis Society (also known as the American Daylily Society or ADS). It started when gary learned about a seminar at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum by Norm Baker, who owned and operated a nearby daylily nursery. gary joined DSM and ADS, and he quickly became an active member of both societies.

Kathy Lamb met gary and his wife Rita through DSM, and Mary Baker met them while attending ADS regional events. gary served as ADS Region One Publicity Director, a position he held for five years from 2000-2004 while Mary was regional vice president (now known as regional President or RP) and Kathy was regional newsletter Editor. 

Over the years, gary and Rita generously contributed many daylilies and extensive time to local and regional events. Rita served as ADS Region One Director from 2004-2006. gary and Rita received the ADS Region One Service Award in 2003 for their outstanding service and dedication to our region. 

gary received the Honorable Mention award (HM) for H. ‘Debbie’s Vows’ (tet, 2001), ‘North Wind Dancer’ (dip, 2001), and ‘Remembering Joan’ (tet, 2001) in 2004. gary was awarded an HM for ‘Minnesota Morning’ (tet, 2001) in 2005. In 2007, gary received HMs for ‘Emma’s Song’ (Schaben/Rice, tet, 2003), ‘North Wind Drifter’ (dip, 2001), and ‘’Paha Sapa ‘Thundercloud’ (tet, 2003. gary was awarded HMs for ‘North Wind Billet Doux’ (dip, 2005) and ‘Paha Sapa Dreamcatcher’ (tet, 2005) in 2008. In 2011, gary received HMs for ‘Captain Jack’ (tet, 2007), ‘Hakuna Matata’ (dip, 2007), and ‘North Wind Curly Joe’ (dip, 2006). ‘North Wind Dancer’ went on to receive the Award of Merit (AM) in 2007, the Lambert/Webster Award in 2007, and the Stout Silver Medal in 2011.

'North Wind Dancer' (pic courtesy of Janice Kennedy)

gary's introductions have also earned top ranking in the ADS Region One Popularity Poll, with ‘Debbie’s Vows’ placing first in 2003, and ‘North Wind Dancer’ placing first in 2004 and 2005.
Hybridizing Goals

gary says he is always working on everything and enjoys exploiting unexpected characteristics that occur with various genetic combinations. He looks at daylilies from the bottom up, avoiding “to die for” blooms on plants that fail to thrive. His real passion is for vigorous, hardy cultivars with great plant habit, excellent branching, healthy foliage, and overall plant proportion and balance. If all that is in place, he then looks at the blooms, selecting for clear color as well as excellent form and substance.

gary’s favorite hybridizing direction is for complex patterns with fancy faces. His second love is working with spiders and unusual forms, which he admires for their gracefulness. Fancy, full-formed whites also intrigue him, and he works on these a little at a time.

gary never worked toward yellows, but his white program produced some outstanding yellows with large size, excellent form, and substantial green infusion. While visiting gary’s garden, Mary fell in love with ‘Metabelle Beth’ (tet, 2005), which has a Marion Hagerstrom red seedling as a grandparent. ‘Metabelle Beth’, named for gary’s granddaughter, is a pale cream buttermilk polychrome with a pink blush, shocking green throat, heavy substance, perfect form, well-branched scapes, and a bud count of 35 to 42. 

'Metabelle Beth' (pic courtesy of Mary Baker)

Another outstanding cultivar in the yellow family is ‘Lemon Shadows’ (tet, 2006), with 6-inch bright lemon yellow blooms and fringed edges. ‘Our Friend Craig’, named after the late Craig Stahl, is out of ‘Concrete Blonde' X 'Just Another Yellow' and features flowers ranging between 6 and 7 inches with an intensely green infusion. When Mary first noticed that one, Rita asked, “Have a little yellow with your green?” Mary feels her late hybridizing mentor Oscie Whatley would be pleased with the incredible, perfect yellows gary has created in his quest for whites.

Full Formed Near Whites

We love ‘Apostle of Hope’ (tet, 2001), out of ‘Admiral’s Braid’ X ‘Angel’s Smile’, for its many green-throated gold-edged blooms presented beautifully on well-branched scapes. gary says the cornerstone in his white tetraploid hybridizing program is his lovely pale yellow sculpted seedling TOV, out of ‘Just Another Yellow’ and ‘Great White’.

‘Emma’s Song’ (Schaben/Rice, tet, 2003) is one of the most refined edge-no-eye cultivars we have ever seen. Fertile both ways, each graceful cream white flower becomes lavender at the edge with a clear green throat that complements the flower nicely. Mary used ‘Emma’s Song’ in her hybridizing program, and it is the pollen parent of two of her 2013 registrations ‘Megan’s Smile’ and ‘Princess Molly’.  

gary’s outstanding tetraploid seedling T98O-1, registered in 2007 as ‘Pioneer Panache’, is a creamy white polychrome as radiant as a pearl. ‘Pioneer Panache’ grew en masse in Kyle Billadeau’s lovely 2007 ADS National Convention tour garden. ‘Pioneer Panache’ features 6-inch nicely rolled back blooms with tremendous green throats on vigorous plants. gary generously designated that all sales proceeds from ‘Pioneer Panache’, available for sale for the first time during the 2007 ADS National Convention, will go to ADS Region One—yet another demonstration of gary's continual support for our region.

Spiders and Unusual Forms

A significant parent in gary’s diploid spider and unusual forms hybridizing program is his outstanding award-winning cultivar ‘North Wind Dancer’. A beautiful garden plant in its own right, ‘North Wind Dancer’ has produced spectacular seedlings for gary and many other hybridizers. ‘North Wind Dancer’, out of ‘Lola Branham’ and a seedling, is a bud builder that blooms over a long period of time, and it frequently passes this characteristic as well as its gracefulness to its kids.

'North Wind Dancer' (pic courtesy of Phil Greenawalt and Judie Treangen)

We also love ‘North Wind Drifter’ (dip, 2001), a full sibling to ‘North Wind Dancer’ with a different look yet equally dramatic effect. ‘North Wind Drifter’ has ramrod straight 44-inch scapes featuring many beautiful well-spaced 8 1/2-inch bright lavender pink blooms that draw attention from afar.

‘North Wind Billet Doux’, named for Kyle Billadeau, is from (‘Indian Giver’ X ‘North Wind Dancer’). Although its blooms are smaller, gary feels that ‘North Wind Billet Doux’ might be an even better parent than ‘North Wind Dancer’. In gary’s words, ‘North Wind Billet Doux’ would “grow on an ice cube.” It begins blooming earlier and continues blooming longer than ‘North Wind Dancer’ in Mary’s garden. gary describes it as a “gracefully ruffled violet lavender with pale lavender edge and patterned eye of gray, lavender and blue over chartreuse throat and green heart.”

'North Wind Billet Doux' (pic courtesy of Mary Baker)

Other exciting daughters of ‘North Wind Dancer’ (with ‘Susan Weber’ as the pollen parent) include ‘North Wind Curly Joe’ (dip, 2006), a soft clear pastel pink becoming cream and then green in the throat on twisting, curling flowers over 8 inches in size, and its very different sibling ‘North Wind Moe’ (dip, 2006), featuring 7-inch-plus diameter pinched crispate flowers in screaming hot clear pink.

gary’s ‘North Wind Larry’ (dip, 2006), out of (‘Noel Weston’ X ‘Marked by Lydia’), is the third of “The Three Amigos” gary introduced in 2006. ‘North Wind Larry’ features ruffled yellow flowers with delicate beige overlays on multiple branched scapes that present the blooms well.

Complex Patterns on Fancy Faces

gary initially used his greenhouse to get something really dormant with dramatically patterned eyes. Out of (tetra ‘Exotic Echo’ X ’Flameburst’), he produced ‘Surfing on the Styx’, a 4-inch red with a variable smoky black eye pattern that changes with the weather. ‘Surfing on the Styx’ has five- to six-way branching and a high bud count. Its dormancy and hardiness are dominant, and it is incredibly fertile both ways. gary has crossed it with a variety of cultivars, beginning a line of patterned faces on ultra hardy plants.

From gary’s ‘Surfing on the Styx’ line came the exquisite ‘Ciara Marie’ (tet, 2006) as well as a future registration. ‘Ciara Marie’, from (‘Surfing on the Styx’ X ‘Magnificent Rainbow’), is named for the granddaughter of Karen Schock, an ADS Region One friend from North Dakota. ‘Ciara Marie’ produces many heavily diamond dusted violet lavender blooms with a patterned eye, small silver edge, and deep green throat on very well-branched scapes. Flowers are fertile both ways. gary’s future registration out of (‘Surfing on the Styx’ X ‘Tie Dyed Moon’) features large flowers with an amazing eye pattern present on the sepals as well as the petals on vigorous, very dormant plants.

The work of Steve Moldovan inspired gary to cross his award-winning ‘Debbie’s Vows’ with Steve’s 'Mountain Majesty’ to create the beautiful ‘Paha Sapa Thundercloud’, which consistently reblooms in Kathy’s garden. gary feels that ‘Paha Sapa Thundercloud’ is the prettiest bi-tone he grows. ‘Paha Sapa Thundercloud’ is a rich purple with lavender sepals and a lovely, graceful form with an exotic broken eye pattern. It is fertile both ways, hardy, and very vigorous, and is yet another gary says “could grow on an ice cube.” Curt Hanson grows ‘Paha Sapa Thundercloud’ in his garden and feels it is spectacular.

The cross ‘Paha Sapa Thundercloud’ X ‘Gerda Brooker’ produced the elegant ‘Paha Sapa Dream Catcher’ (tet, 2005). The triple-edged blooms, presented on well-branched scapes, tend to dramatically change color depending on weather and soil. Per gary’s web site description, “I have seen this eye so blue it will take your breath away with lavender cream petals, and then I have seen it pink/peach with red violet edging and more of a purple eye; sure wish it would stay blue but that tends to come with cooler temperatures I think, or it could be that it just has an attitude.” Whatever the color, it’s always striking and is fertile both ways.

‘Captain Jack’ (out of ‘Pioneer Panache’ X ‘Julie Newmar’) features an incredible high contrast eye pattern, dramatic edges, and shark’s teeth on a plant that has proven to be winter hardy in gary’s zone 4a garden. Can daylilies get any fancier?

'Captain Jack' (pic courtesy of Mary Baker)

The Schabens’ beautiful Gardens with a Northern Exposure was a featured tour garden during the 2007 ADS National Convention jointly hosted by DSM and ADS Region One, an open garden during the 2013 ADS National Convention hosted by DSM, and a tour garden during regional meetings hosted by DSM.

gary, thank you and Rita for all you have done for our region, for DSM, and the mentoring and inspiration you gave to so many daylily enthusiasts. You will be missed.