Comments from Australian growers and hybridizers

Compiled by Carol Trego

February 4, 2001

The preface information from Debbie Mead gives a bit of history for some

Australian hybridizers.  Thanks to all who participated in the poll and for

helping to educate us about Australian hybridizers.


Comments by Debbie Mead, Acacia Ridge, Brisbane, Australia.

Monica Mead and her sister Maureen Flanders began their hybridising campaign

by importing some Tet seeds from the States nearly 30 years ago. Many of

Monica's and Maureen's early successes were given the prefix ACACIA and

KOLAN. Many of these are still around today.


Monica Mead's breeding program today centers around many of the modern

imports, incorporating the best of the world with the best of her patch.

And as we have seen has been able to produce good quality cultivars that

have received many awards over time. I think this is in part due to the

strict criteria that all seedlings at Meads must meet and they include: Good

texture; high bud count; good branching; good rebloom a must; great

fertility; neat plant habits; as well the ability to grow well in many

different climates. Many a seedling that has looked spectacular in its first

year only to be discarded as inferior in subsequent years. Some of the

cultivars she has produced are DONNA MEAD (has been grown in the USA for


CORINNA CORINNA to name but a few.


Maureen Flanders has produced many quality Daylilies and continues to do so.

Unfortunately I am not familiar with some of her latest varieties.  So I

don't think I can comment on them but I'm sure Gloria can fill in the gaps

here. DOUBLE ROSEDALE, BERT HINKLER are some of her older cultivars which we

still carry today.


Mr. Simpson from Mt. Gravatt in Brisbane also bred quite a few early Aussie

cultivars:  Red Retsina and GOLDEN EAGLE that are also still around today.


Scott Alexander was one of Monica's customers, and on many a visit could be

found in her seedling patch admiring her blooms. He went on to grow and

hybridise Daylilies in Maleny. Some of his daylilies are IN EXCESS, MALENY

DEBUTANTE and Boorobin Magic.


Les Holton from Toowoomba has used his knowledge of genetics, through

breeding both goats and chickens, to produce quality daylilies. He also

began as one of Monica's customers and has produce some really good quality


is strictly a line breeder and is producing lines that have extraordinary

depth. Look out for some of his future introductions.   I'm sure he will

impress you all.


Graham Nunan has been hybridising about 15 years and we have featured many

of his new introductions in our past catalogues. We still carry many of

these cultivars today, some that we can recommend are HELENA PULSAR, HELENA

STARGOLD, GOLD REEF and ASH ROSIE.    He is still producing new cultivars

but we have not grown much of his newer stuff to date.


Ian Wicks was also initially one of our customers and he could be found

quite regularly conversing with Monica with regards to good parent

suggestions. He was heavily into Hibiscus before he defected to Daylilies

about 5 or so years ago. And although we have been lucky to see some of his

seedlings, I'm not sure if any have been registered as yet. We do not grow

any of his at present so therefore cannot comment on their strengths and



Barry Blythe from Tempo Two in Victoria does do some hybridising but many of

his cultivars are dormants and therefore do not perform well here.


Bob Raabe from northern New South Wales has been hybridising for many years

also, and has produced great cultivars such as OLGAS GOLD.  He had also

produced many fine Louisiana Iris cultivars and both his Daylilies and Iris

have been featured in our catalogue.


There are many more hybridisers that are producing cultivars on perhaps what

could be called a smaller scale. Mardi Waring, Laurie Higgins, George Watts

are just a few hybridisers that come to mind.   Just seeing the response at

our Beginners Hybridising Class held at the nursery is indicative of what is

to come. As breeding Daylilies is relatively easily many a "backyarder" can

give it a go and achieve some success, whether it is to world standard

remains to be seen, but getting their cultivar "out there" and grown and

evaluated in many gardens and climates will go towards getting it known and

admired. Registering a seedling is the easy part.   Ensuring it is a

quality, improved or different cultivar is another matter altogether.


We encourage all of our customers to get other peoples opinions of their

"babies" before registering.    We "Guest" our newer seedlings to people in

different climates than our own to get an idea how well they do away from

us. The feedback we get goes a long way in deciding whether to introduce a

cultivar or not.   Constructive criticism is a healthy way to move forward

in hybridising and we always enjoy peoples visits to the seedling patch and

their subsequent critiques as well as praises.    I also think that there

WILL be many new Australian hybridisers in the years to come and this will

certainly make it better for Daylilies all round!


Does size matter? The age old question!

As to the comments that you need to produce large quantities of seed before

you can expect any good results. Two different breeders methods instantly

came to mind.


1. Guy Pierce formerly of Hawaii.   While on a visit to Hawaii in 1998 we

were able to view Guy's "Patch" that consisted of over 40,000 seedlings. Of

which he introduced only 5-10 cultivars.

2. Pat Stamile of Florida produces about 5000 seedlings per year and can

introduce up to 20 cultivars per year.   Now, who is right? Both have

produced excellent Daylilies. Could it be the quality of the breeding

program itself is more important than the quantity of seeds produced when

looking for that special Daylily? Or that by producing large numbers of

seedlings you may chance upon something special?   My own breeding lines in

miniature doubles has produced outstanding results with only small

quantities used. In one line in particular the very first to flower (3 in

total -9 months later) have all been keepers and one went on to win Best

Seedling in Show. I have only begun 5 lines and have produced even in F2,

only small amounts of seeds. I feel that in my case, the quality of the

parents chosen play a huge part in any future successes.


I think that many people will have differing views and what works for you

may not work for another. My advice would be to obtain the best parents you

can afford, produce the amount of seed that you can manage and work with the

best that is produced.   Perseverance would have to be important also.

Happy hybridising!




Comments by Debbie Mead, Acacia Ridge, Brisbane, Australia

Two of my favourite hybridisers would have to be Monica Mead (and not just

because she is my mother-in-law either) and Les Holton from Toowoomba.

Monica has been hybridising for 30 years and was one of the first

Australians to begin work on the hem here. Lately some of her cultivars that

I truly just adore would have to be ELVA MAY LANGBERG (it was just awarded

Best in Show at the Brisbane Daylily Society Annual Show) closely followed

by CHRISTOPHER MEAD (Paula Payne, Paynes in the Grass, Texas U.S., loved


so much from her visit here a couple of years ago that she sent for it on


return) And DEBBIE MEAD a Tet double that is extraordinary. Most of the

above can be seen on our website and certainly all of the descriptions are

there.    Les Holton's EMILY ELIZABETH moves me also.


Comments by Con Carlyon, Toowoomba, Australia

Favourite Australian Hybridiser? We have quite a few good ones, and I don't

think I could name a favorite. I have Scott Alexander's IN EXCESS and

MALENY DEBUTANTE and I know they are quite popular in the U.S. I have Monica

Mead's  DONNA MEAD, Les Holton's JEAN TAYLOR and Maureen Flander's TRUST IN



Comments by Clare Bewsher, Glenbrook, New South Wales, Australia

In my humble opinion, there are many good hybridisers in Australia, of whom

we have not yet heard.  They are gathering together the fruits of their

labours, and in as little as two years time we shall be seeing those

"fruits"  published on their new web-sites.  So, I believe, "the flood is

yet to arrive*!  Also, I just want to remind those of you in the States and

Canada  that we are a sparsely populated continent.... we have a big desert

in the middle (not really habitable).  One result of our lower population,

coupled with many yet-to-be daylily lovers, is that we have a comparatively

small number of hybridisers.  Just thought I'd mention that fact, as I'm

aware how very little people from overseas still  know about our

country...we are far away from almost everything, and everybody (Gr.) Let's

hope the hybridising will snowball. That remark was not meant in any way  to

detract from the value of the beautiful releases from Meads' or Les Holton.

I'm just saying that we'll be seeing a lot more daylilies of that high

quality released by others here, as well.  I grow Monica Mead's TRANQUIL

LOVE, which is a gorgeous colour.  DEBBIE MEAD sounds remarkable, and the

budcount is impressive.  Les Holton's appear to also have a very good bud mean feat.


Comments by Joan Charman, Coastal New South Wales, Australia

There are a lot of people hybridising in Australia now, but very few seem to

register them.  I have seen photos of a lot of the registered ones, but as

yet have only a few myself.  I am sure that if your website idea gets going,

a lot more Aussies will take that further step of registering them.

Nobody, so far has mentioned Graham Nunan.  I have his GOLD REEF and

DALRIADA, and I love them both.


Comments by Mardi Waring, Sub Tropical Climate on Alstonville Plateau on the

East Coast of Northern New South Wales, Australia.   Supposedly climate

similar to Florida.  I (Mardi Waring) have several that I have been 'going

to register' for a

couple of years now. One is Linden Royale - an Always Afternoon x Wedding

Band  - and

another called L.Ruffled Wonder. I have one registered cultivar LINDEN BELLE

, which

is a good garden plant and good parent which was registered two years ago

and now sells for $10 per fan.


Comments by Jim Harvey in Canberra, Australia   Zone

8 Equilavent to American Zoning

I have only been growing Daylilys for 6 months but here are my 2 picks of

Australian  Daylilys (1) Booroobin Magic by Scott Alexander  (2) GLORIA

MCFADZEN by Maureen Flanders.


Comments by Sharon Taylor, Brisbane, Australia

I have been growing daylilies for about 4 years now but have just joined the

daylily society and started to hybridise.  I got into hybryidising following

a course run by Debbie Mead at the Meads Daylily Gardens. I think that the

hybridising will be my greatest joy (and probably headache too).     My

favorite Australian Hybridiser is definitely Monica Mead.


Comments by Gloria McFadzen in north Queensland, Australia

I have been guesting several seedlings, for Australian breeders since we

started our own hybridising programme, and I do believe I could add to the

great letter full of info from Debbie.


Laurie Higgins - He started out on a challenge when informed, that there was

not a great amount of successful breeding being carried out on the SPIDER

varieties--So he set about doing just that.  Registered to date as follows

the" MOANA" series. Some that immediately come to mind are:

MOANA MAURICE, spider 5.68:1---7 1/2"blooms deep burgundy,

MOANA MITZI spider7 1/2"5.68:1

MOANA TWIRLER  spider variant.20:1-pinkblend-large lime throat.

MOANA WHIRLAWAY  spider Variant  4.0:1a9"cinnamon-orange-large yellow eye.

MOANA GLORIA MAY a newie on the block --a consistent (reg as a 75%)

polytepal spider---Quite a sight.

MOANA WINDDANCER also a 1999 intro

Laurie 's wife (MAUREEN) has some large singles and a double registered

after the prefix KIRRA eg KIRRA KING BEE.


I could add more on the Laurie story----------- as he was a giving,

knowledgeable member the.W.B.B.D.CLUB (Bundaberg,Queenland)

He was always willing to part with any available, relevant information on

Hybridising---SPIDERS--MOSTLY --------self learnt" to anyone who would "just

ask" - and

Laurie did just on both counts --to me, (1) personally and (2) by,---adding

to the 2 snail mail robins, that we have both been members of.


Bev Balke

All of Bev's cultivars have been trialed here.  Some that come to mind are

SARAH GRACE - a special double named for her little niece who used to follow

Bev around the Daylilies.   Bev was devastated when this little girl died in

tragic circumstances.  Her first registered was ROBERT STEVEN -  A large

bright single orange very

hardy others are ELSIE MARY, ENID MARY, another---  DOUBLE --ROSELENA

Her latest to be registered is JUST TROPICAL----A seedling from TROPICAL

SUNRISE all are described in the check list a very special double bred by

BEV ('94)

has to be MAUREEN EMILY a 6" deep plum, pink double, yellow throat.

I could sell mobs of this one -in heavy demand, a personal favourite.

This one is naturally named for Maureen Flanders (who has been a moving

force in Bevs daylily life.)    In my first catalogue I was to list a newie

for Bev named for her Mother DOREEN GRACE - It is  a lavender bitone and I

used it in a garden talk to

represent--bitones and everyone in the group had to have it.   So it has

people power------just like its breeder.


Margaret Coombs---of Merinda Magic and MERINDA HONEYBUNCH ---fame

when Paul and I started our collection ---1/3 of our varieties would have

been from Margaret's breeding --the "MERINDA'S" I followed Margaret around

the Brisbane Show on my first trip to it and had her telling me which of

this list were Tets or Dips as I had already starting breeding and needed to

know Tets or Dips. I believe no records were kept on these crosses.  But

never the less they were a very bright and bold eyed varieties.

Unfortunately we have deleted most of these as they were never registered, a

sad loss.   Some in pots in the delete area are Merinda arana- A maroon self

a large Merinda Golden Harvest.   One day here they will be no more.

Except M.HONEYBUNCH and M. MAGIC.   Honey bunch is the parent of Helena

Pulsar (G. Nunan) and Scott used it a lot in his early breeding programmes.


Paul McFadzen --first hybridized about 1994-5?

Paul had crossed Evan's Choice onto---just one bloom of Kolan Dreamy (both

Flanders) the result was five plants--all of which are still growing but

only one of

the crosses was grown on here.    A large orange.    This was named for a

grandson (garden name only of LUKE ALAN.)  Since Paul's death I felt I

should register it and it is preregistered 2000 in Paul's name I chose the

name given to him--each year he was at the Bundy show MR. NOISY---


Gloria McFadzen

I have named one for each of my 8 grandchildren.  At this time I will only

list my registered ones.  Both the following were from my very first, I love

the pinks, ---crosses.   Selected and grown on and trialed at several

locations FOR more years than I care to remember MELLISSA JEAN (McFADZEN'99)

Diploid (Janet Gayle x Kelly's Girl) 26" scapes (Hardy) A pretty PEACH which

deepens into a lovely deep pink during its extended flowering season.   The

heavily textured 5"  blooms are full round and ruffled, with the ruffles

extending into its apple green throat.   Large upright plant habits with

very strong growth Pod and pollen fertile -many keepable kids from it in its

home garden.  All have strong plant habits and many proliferations.

Growing amongst tets it is stronger than most of them.    MELLISSA JEAN is

currently being converted to a tet KATELYN JANE (MCf'99) A pretty lavender

5" blooms 70% double 22" scapes, another diploid from (Nagaski x Kolan

Lavender Splash). Hardy, very fertile---I have some lovely little doubles

seedlings------ and am trialing some that have retained the feature of K.J.

Its lovely  lavender shade.    Hard to capture the colour in a photo.


Other favorites are:

EVANS CHOICE (Flanders'90)-a rich fiery orange red self-yellow throat.

also TROPICAL FIRE (Flanders 98) An intense fiery blend of red and orange.

Petals are bright red fading to a fiery orange on the edges veined in red,

green throat, hardy 5 1/2' blooms 28"scape     This one is wider

petalled than EVANS CHOICE.  Another quality bloom from Maureen's breeding

and I am pleased to list these 2 as some of my favourites that Maureen has



WHERE DO I START about Maureen Flanders who has been growing daylilies for

35 years and in the late 1990's sold her stock plants and nursery name

and --at the time-- she retained a very small supply of daylilies  ----(our

first show (Nov.) after the sale -we could not get over how empty the garden

looked).  Maureen had kept the ones that she had bred and named for her

family, some breeding stock and  just arrived and not yet flowering ---her

new imports. Also my favourite spot----the ubeaut seedling patch.  It too

had big gaps in it.   Well, three years have past since then---during which

time Maureen has imported more after completely studying their parentage and

breed line.  Breeding with these and her own cultivars.   Today Maureen has

a brilliant display, of new imports, and best of all --her babies.  Maureen

culls very heavily, but her garden once again appears as full as ever.   You

name it, it's there.   Her favourites are the Picotee, in all shapes and

sizes.  She also loves-- Tet doubles and singles---especially--Large blooms

with -- wide petals  in self colours with all the ruffling etc.   All you

will find with excellent bud count and branching.  If the seedling does not

deliver in that score it is --out.   A magnificent breed line going down

several generations complete with exacting book work.   She is heavily into

registration where her full parentage is listed,   She quotes that she is

"still learning".   Maureen has always freely given advise.   A lot of

growers big or small would quote her name as their beginning - their intro

to daylilies.


 KOLAN SHIRE EMBLEM (Flanders'00) Chosen by the Kolan Shire as their emblem,

this daylily has a lovely clear cut colours and is a real beacon in the

garden.   5 1/2" blooms are a cream alabaster with a purple eye above a lime

green throat.  Petals have purple edges.  Substance is good and holds well

in the hot sun. Sturdy scapes hold approx. 28 buds.  Strong growing plants

and hardy.  An excellent plant for eyes and edges.  Pod and pollen fertile



PALACE REIGN  (Flanders'97) A rich deep purple with a large creamy lavender

eyezone above a green throat.   Good branching and Bud count.  Hardy and

multiplies well EV. M. RE.TET 28"5 3/4"blooms (KNAVE x ROYAL HERITAGE)  A

good example of breeding back onto older --- proven to be --- hardy ---



MORGAN JAY (Flanders'99) Cream with a bluish lavender eye and fine lavender

picotee, throat is green.  Petals are nicely fluted.  Very showy.  Hardy and

blooms well  E.RE.EV.tet 25"scape 5 1/2"blooms


Comments from Norma Noack - Brisbane, Australia

Re my favourite hybridiser,  can I be greedy and nominate several.  Monica

Mead for ELVA MAY LANGBERG, DONNA MEAD and DEBBIE MEAD,  Scott Alexander for

IN EXCESS and MALENY DEBUTANTE, Grahan Nunan for GOLD REEF and George Watt



Comments by Yvonne Hargreaves, Brisbane, Australia

I have several of George's cultivars growing here and quite a few of Bev's.

I especially like her hose in hose apricot double  "ELSIE MARY".



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