Twenty-Five Years Ago This Year
More Reflections on 1983

Ken Cobb
AHS Archivist/Historian

Although the spider daylily form had been around since at least the 1940's, the AHS Scientific Committee was still assigned to wrestle with its definition. The definitive test for a spider was already generally acknowledged as having a 5:1 ratio of petal length to width, but Lois Burns, an early spider aficionado, went on to suggest, "As a rule, members twist, curve, ruffle, spiral or are animated in some other fashion." Today, somewhat similar wording (twisted, quilling, cascading, etc.) effectively defines an unusual form daylily, not a spider. The spider's definitional saga eventually encompassed 4:1 ratio variants. By 2007, if those animated aspects of unusual forms also expressed the spider's mathematical ratio, then a spider/unusual form "combo" was said to exist. So, what goes around, comes around!

Barely a decade after the world-wide ban on DDT, the care and feeding of daylilies was still a bit problematic in the 1980's. Possibly this was due to a basic lack of understanding of the dangers of Clordane, Cygon, Plictran, and Diazinon for pest control - all reported in use by AHS members on their daylilies. Thankfully, all of these are now restricted or off the retail market. Perhaps the jury is still out on the popularity in that era of using birth-control pills to enhance feeder root growth.

Arguably the most hard-hitting, yet colorfully expressed, journal editorial of the year dealt with the Junior Citation award: Should the J.C.'s be eliminated? Among the colorful statements made were: "like a broken chair, it takes up space, requires dusting, and gives nothing in return"; "a good idea gone bad"; "one place the J.C.'s frequently go is to the graveyard." The most compelling argument, however, was the fact that it "is not a prerequisite for other awards." Is the question still pertinent today!

Among the top cultivar awards for the year 1983 were:

Stout Medal - Hemerocallis 'Sabie' (W.B. MacMillan)
Award of Merit - top vote-getter H. 'Lullaby Baby' (Spalding, W)

Having previously won the Annie T. Giles Award, H. 'Lullaby Baby' eventually would win the Lenington Medal. Another AM with a high vote count was the break-through, ruffled tetraploid from Virginia Peck, H. 'Dance Ballerina Dance'.

As far as flower show exhibitions, design divisions were very popular. Fourteen shows had winners competing for the Tricolor Award (see photo), which was won by Mrs. Doyle Gregory of Oklahoma City, OK, with her entry entitled "Summer Pleasure" - a pleasure indeed!


As the year ended, attention turned to 1984 and Region 12. Orlando, FL, would be hosting its second national convention.

© Copyright 2008 by the American Hemerocallis Society, Inc.