The former. . . Hybridizer’s Round Robin

To Becky Fox Mathews, Mike Berringer, Bill Carter, Mitch Carney, Harold Koopowitz, Bob Spots, Mary Lou Gripshover, Janet Hickman and all hybridizers and those that want to be hybridizers:

I recently had a email conversation of sorts with Sara Van Beck on the state of the Hybridizer’s Round Robins, I hope she doesn’t get upset above me using her name.  Many years ago I was a member of the New Hybridizers Round Robin and later the Hybridizer’s Robin, before it went to daffnet.  It seems that after it went to the daffnet, it died from lack of participation.  I enjoyed the Round Robins and loved to see what others were doing and was willing to add my efforts in the post.  The original Robins was by what is called snail-mail today, but it brought a written version of the members efforts on paper in black and white.  I also got to know a lot of people that I didn’t know existed.    Sara stated that she can see why it died because doing your hybridizing efforts in front of the world was intimidating.   I can see that.

She proposed that hybridizer robin should be by private email, and suggest working something like the historic committee works.  Since I am not on the historic Committee, I have no idea as to what that’s about. She also suggested it has to be run by younger members, which I objected too originally, but am now in agreement as us old timers can’t keep up in the social media world that we live in.  I don’t even try.

However, I think ADS needs to get back into the ADS sponsored hybridizer’s robins, or what ever we want to call them. Hybridizing in this country is severely lacking in my opinion. I’d like the board to consider this but we need to have participants.  I will volunteer to be on that committee, however, I’m not volunteering to run it, I one of the old crowd.

As hybridizers we need to communicate with each other.  This spring, Mike Berringer, and Bill Carter and others posted a lot of information on hybridizing on this media and the results of their crosses, including seed production.  It was good to hear but we need to have a steady stream of it.  We need more hybridizers to share information.  Harold Koopowitz over the years has written some very interesting and informative articles on hybridizing, as well as given lectures and judges refreshers on hybridizing. There was also an excellent article by Graham Fleming in The Daffodil Journal.  Hybridizers need to communicate that type information to each other.

Let me know if other hybridizers or want to be hybridizers agree with me.



36 comments for “The former. . . Hybridizer’s Round Robin

  1. Clay,

    I was a part of the Hybridizer’s Robin years back in the 1990’s.  It was from that Robin, that I learned a lot about daffodil growing.  I also learned from many of the active Hybridizes of that time.

    The Daffnet has provided opportunity for some of what we covered in the Robin, but some of what we discussed, may not be of full interest to the average daffodil grower.  I would be in favor of exploring a way that it could be restarted–possibly similar in format to the Historic Daffodil group.

    Just some thoughts.–Yes we need young blood!!!


    Lewis Turner



  2. Clay, I enjoy dabbling in hybridizing, but I’m not keeping records so that part is not much help to anyone. I do have a little expertise in making the crosses, growing the seeds to flowers and have had a few nice seedlings that even bloomed at show time and won a Rose Ribbon. That’s about it so far though.

    The Historics list was too much for me to keep up with and I’m afraid a Hybridizers list would be the same for me. I think it would be a wonderful thing for someone to get going so I hope one of our young members will step up to get it started.

  3. Gosh Clay,

    Many years ago the ADS published an illustrated article showing the steps of hybridising from me. It is still relevant.

    And if any one wants to tell me what I will get from my last ever cross in 2017 I will send them the bulb if they get it right. About 70 seeds have germinated from the cross.

    Sabine Hay x Stylish (3O-O) x Air Castle x Emerald Pink (3W-Y)

  4. Hi David Adams,

    Do you remember how long ago you wrote that article for the Journal? I can look it up and see about reprinting it.

    Daniel Bellinger wrote a great article with and about Larry Force and his hybridizing a few years back, too. I’ll see if I can find the year & issue it was in.

    And I’m always looking for articles and updates from hybridizers for the Journal, so if anyone mentioned or tagged here would be able to send something in periodically, please don’t hesitate!

    Thanks for initiating this conversation, Clay!

  5. Hi Dave,

    Just for fun since you can’t send me a bulb. I would guess that you will get 3W-Y some with orange in the cup, probably a rim. Because Aircastle can give pale reverse bicolors I would expect some may have pale yellow perianths and if so, probably with an orange rim. None will have orange perianths and none will be pink and I doubt any will have a solid orange cup. So: – muddy 3W-Y; 3W-YO and pale 3Y-YO.

    How did I do?

  6. Jolene,

    Thanks for the statement that I started the conversation on Hybridizing.  However, it needs to go beyond articles, with acknowledgement that they articles have been great.  We need to have a forum for hybridizers to talk to each other and share information.  In other words we need to have a Round Robin, plus other information.

    Mary Lou Gripshover has introduced me to the ADS daffnet Library, even when she didn’t know that she did, by including show results and photographs of show winners on the Library formation on the ADS website.  We need something like that for hybridizers, where we can store information on hybridizing and keep up with current trends.  The main hybridizers communications would be by email to each other and to the hybridizing community, with storage of how to hybridize and other information available on the ADS web site.

    We need more to revitalize hybridizing in the USA.



  7. Dave,

    I would guess most would be something like 3y-yyo to 3y-yoo, maybe a few 3w-yyo or 3w-yoo. Like Lawrence above I feel you would lose the orange perianth and no pink, as Emerald Pink is listed as only a 3w-gwp rim. Air Castle should help the size, form and substance. Gosh, It has been used so many times in LOTS of crosses. That is an interesting cross you made, I would be interested in what you hoped to achieve with it. One I would never have though to make. I have made a number of division 2 or 3-0 crosses but always with another orange perianth cultivar, hoping to intensify the orange color. Have never made crosses with Air Castle or Emerald Pink specifically.

  8. Sometimes it helps to go where no one else has gone. I may get nothing but consider the possible genetic code for the future. FYI It’s first flower last year was an Intermediate sized 1W-P. Where did that come from?
    I once did an ‘I don’t know why I did it cross’ of N jonquilla on to a double. From it I got Little Kiwi, a double with a strong jonquil fragrance.

  9. Lawrence, as mentioned above only one has flowered so far and it doesn’t fit any where. Five to flower in the next couple of weeks, 61 still to go. They are still in a polystyrene box which has not been the best for getting them to flower.

  10. Clay–

    I am not sure that I can find old letters that I may have copied from the past Hybridizer’s robin.  If anyone can find some, it would be interesting to share them again.  Especially to see trains of thought of past hybridizers and the reactions of other hybridizers.  Some of that information included growing seedlings and giving the daffodils good growing conditions.  It was from that material that I developed a booklet–not in publication now, titled ‘Let’s Grow Daffodils’.  It has been copied into a PDF and is now in our Daffodil Library.  — I can honestly say that the Hybridizer’s robin helped me learn to grow daffodils and helped me with hybridizing.

    Also, through it we learned who other hybridizer’s were.  Some became good friends.

    Again–if anyone can find any of the letters from the past robin–they would be interesting to read again.  My thoughts.


  11. Lewis,

    Back in the day when I received the Round Robin Letters, I had no means to copy this, I just added my contribution, put it in an envelope, stamps, and dropped in in the post office for the next person on the list.  I have no letters, but my memory tells me it was all over the place in it’s comments and analysis of daffodils and their breeding.  Some comments were off the deep end, but some were very good and I learned a lot.  I was surprised at how wide spread some of the numbered seedling from England had been distributed back them.  It was educational.


  12. Hi David,

    That illustrated article that you wrote on hybridizing, can you send that to us.  I went into the Daffnet Library yesterday looking for it but did not find it.  I’d like it to be in the Library if we have your permission.

    I’d like a copy myself, can you email it to me at  title=.



  13. Clay,

    The education part of it helped me to write the booklet ‘Let’s Grow Daffodils’  So many plant bulbs and really do not know how to get the best from them.  I personally like to share what I learned.  In putting the booklet together, my daughter created the caricature “Miss Daffy” which was used in the booklet.  It was well done–if you get a chance look at it in the ADS library and let me what you think of her drawing,

    It did not sell many books–at that time the ADS put out another book with out illustrations and pushed that.  Still, I believe it can be helpful to someone wanting to learn to grow daffodils.

    Yes–robins were very helpful and the input from other hybridizers was helpful and educational.


  14. I can’t find it either and with computer upgrades I’m not sure where it will be now. Maybe I put it on Daffnet. In it I recommended putting nylon stocking over the seed pod to keep the bread tag and seed together. There was a photo of it. I clearly remember Bill Lee writing and asking from where he could get the nylon stockings.

  15. Dave,

    I noticed on Daffseek there are two Stylish listed, one was a 1w-y cultivar. Could that be the one you used rather than the 3o-o one? If so, that could explain the 1w-p seedling you bloomed. Time should tell as your other seedlings bloom.

  16. No, definitely the 2O-O version. Last year I named one of them Deb’s Delight. It has very strong colouring.

  17. Clay,

    My wife asked me the question–where are you now living in New Jersey.  Just a few weeks ago, my wife and I made a trip to western New Jersey–to the Town of Washingtton–fairly near Hackettstown, NJ.  She lived in that area for a few years.  Her Dad moved there after selling his farm in New York State–in the early 1950’s.  We saw a childhood friend that she has kept up with over the years.  Also, we visited the library in Morristown, NJ. to do some research for a foundation that we are members of.  We are researching a former school in Virginia, used by the Methodists. The foundation which my wife and I are a part of is working to preserve early sights of Methodism–in the early 1800’s.  One sight has a connect with my family–the sight of the Randolph Macon College–the charter to that college was introduced in the Virginia Legislature by my Great Great Grandfather in 1830, William O. Goode.  that school moved after the Civil War, and a few years later another school started.  A financier for that school lived in Morristown, N.J.

    We have found some historic daffodils at the school sight.  I can talk about what we have found later.

    My wife was curious–also, you mentioned in the past that you had lived in Montgomery county, Md–which High School did you attend?  Probably was a competitor to Sherwood High School, at Sandy Spring.  I went there one year, then my Dad changed jobs and we moved to Illinois in 1961.  Later, the Army brought me back to the East Coast, and eventually I ended up back in Maryland.


  18. Lewis,
    in NJ take I-195 east to the end, turn right go one mile. I’m a long way
    from Morristown. Not familiar with that part of NJ.

    When I lived in Montgomery County MD it was after I retired from the Army.
    I worked for 13 years for DOE in Germantown, MD.

    Sorry no high school there. Went to high school in what is now on the
    campus of the U. Of Arkansas, Monticello. Graduate and undergrad in
    Boston. Army, all over the place including Germany and Vietnam.

    Started hybridizing in Maryland.


  19. Clay–thanks.  I too am retired from the US Army–though most of my qualifying time for retirement was in the US Army Reserves and National Guard, after two years of Active duty.  I was a week-end warrior.

    Since I have been back in the Daffodil Society, I have really enjoyed seeing the work that has been done with Historics.  When I was a part of the Daffodil Robin, there was a lot of focus on perfection.  Both are needed.

    As I get a chance and review some of my older files, I will watch for any copies of letters I may have made.  That may take some time if they are still in my files.

    Hope some others have an interest in sharing with other hybridizers–and restart a type of hybridizers robin that will encourage new people to join in.



  20. Hi All,

    I would be interested in being a part of a group like this. I only have a few seedlings that have flowered, but I have three-four years worth of crosses in the pipeline. I’m taking better records now, too.

    I had a question today in case anyone would be interested in offering their input. I have what I think (hope) is N. serotinus about to bloom. What would make an interesting cross with it? I was think that since it’s supposed to be 2n=10, it might be interesting to cross with a tetraploid tazetta or a hexaploid standard daff to approach the 28 chromosome sweet spot I’ve read about. The only problem is that I don’t have tetraploid tazetta pollen and the only standard daff that may be hexaploid (according to Daffseek) is the old trumpet ‘Queen of Bicolors’, whose pollen I do have saved. Other than QoB, I was thinking of a tetraploid poet (I have ‘Actaea’ and ‘Dulcimer’ saved) or one of the nicer more modern 3 W-O flowers whose pollen I saved, hoping to get an early spring or late winter flowering intersectional cross.


  21. Hello Ross:

    A lot depends on werher or not you actually have N. serotinus. If you send me a picture-closeup of the corona I can confirm the species for you. Is the corona yellow or orange?

    It probably does not matter what you put on it, but it would be wise to exzcise the stamens jusr before the bud opens, ro prevent selfing.



  22. Hi Harold,

    Thank you for the advice. I sure hope it’s the true N. serotinus, but I’m a little skeptical myself. I’ve had it two years, but this is the first time I see a scape. It hasn’t opened yet, but I’ll post a picture when it does.


  23. Dave,

    I certainly understand and agree with your comment saying it can be helpful going where no one else has gone. I sometimes make crosses just to see how the genes line up in the cross, how the colors are affected, if flowers or pollen is fertile, to see what will happen with an unusual cross. One never knows unless you venture out and make the cross. Past couple of years I have been making some crosses with 1w-o cultivars with mine and John Reed’s deep red-pink corona cultivars and seedlings. How will those colors line up, mix and march. Deeper oranges, deeper red pinks, different shades of both, muddy colors etc? Perhaps some of you have already made crosses along those lines, if so, I would be interested in your results. Hope I live long enough to see mine.

  24. Clay,

    I would have some interest in joining a hybridizer’s robin.  Though I am not actively hybridizing, I am still evaluating seedlings –some after 18-20 years.  Definitely looking for those which are strong and vigorous.  A lot often die out after a few years–I can contribute thoughts on that, plus what I have observed.

    Glad for your knowledge and memory on Historics.  Much good work has been done bringing them to the forefront.  I used to ignore them–but no longer.  They have been around for many years.

    You had a good teacher with Richard Ezell.  Also, though I never met Brent Heath personally, I had some correspondence with him in the past and found he really worked to encourage us.  He still does.

    Dr. Bender helped me learn how to prep a flower for the show bench.

    Another encourager in the robin was Meg Yerger.






  25. Hi Lewis,
    Brent Heath is a second generation Daffodil Grower and hybridizer and
    seller of daffodils. He grew up on his fathers daffodil farm and business
    in or near Gloucester, VA and has a historical knowledge of daffodil names
    that I think are better than anyone else I’ve ever met. Richard Ezell I
    consider a friend, but I think when it comes to historics, Brent Heath is
    the best at identification.

    Unfortunately for my historics IDs I can recognize a lot of daffodils that
    I know longer remember the names of, but I “know” them. I’m not senile,
    but at 80 years old the memory is not as good as it used to be.

    I was taught to prep daffodils by Marie Bozievich and Margaret Oswalt.
    Margaret wasn’t a hybridizer but she taught me to stage collections so rock
    solid I think a hurricane would not have moved her daffodils. Sometimes I
    think I have won collections by the fact my daffodils stay where I put them.

    I’m having to slow down on my showing as well. However, I was encouraged
    this spring by seeing Anne Donnell Smith, Kathryn Anderson, Diane Myrak and
    others my age still cranking out those nice collections of 12 or more.


  26. Hi Lewis,

    Brent Heath is a second generation Daffodil Grower and hybridizer and seller of daffodils.  He grew up on his fathers daffodil farm and business in or near Gloucester, VA and has a historical knowledge of daffodil names that I think are better than anyone else I’ve ever met. Richard Ezell I consider a friend, but I think when it comes to historics, Brent Heath is the best at identification.
    Unfortunately for my historics IDs I can recognize a lot of daffodils that I know longer remember the names of, but I “know” them.  I’m not senile, but at 80 years old the memory is not as good as it used to be.
    I was taught to prep daffodils by Marie Bozievich and Margaret Oswalt.  Margaret wasn’t a hybridizer but she taught me to stage collections so rock solid I think a hurricane would not have moved her daffodils.  Sometimes I think I have won collections by the fact my daffodils stay where I put them.
    I’m having to slow down on my showing as well.  However, I was encouraged this spring by seeing Anne Donnell Smith, Kathryn Anderson, Diane Myrak and others my age still cranking out those nice collections of 12 or more.
  27. Back to my cross of (Sabine Hay x Stylish) x (AirCasle x Emerald Pink). Lawrence and Larry got it pretty right. This year I have seven new flowers. All have an orange rimmed corona with a white or pale yellow perianth. Next step is to decide what to pollinate them with except that we are having rain every day and it will be hard to find dry pollen. Now, another five years to the next generation and probably another five to get my goal. That gets me over 90 so I’m not sure that I will be interested by then.

  28. Hi Clay

    Some of us are still hybridising and seeing the results of our crosses. I will post another set of photos showing miniature Division 7’s that are replicas of standards.


  29. When rainy weather is threatening or a freeze early in the season,  I pick a bloom to enjoy inside and harvest the pollen free from the weather’s effects. I would pick the strongest color ed seedling and then place it on its siblings. White dominates colored Peoria the and 1 in 4 should be not white or muddy. Roughly the same with orange versus the pink/ lemon coloring. Frank Galton wrote an article on color dominance for the journal that is still relevant

  30. Michael,

    That article by Frank Galton sounds like something I would like to read. Do you know which journal it was published in? I looked on DaffLibrary but didn’t see any leads.



  31. Graham,
    Non-breeders are more than happy that you continue to breed, enjoy and
    share your beauties with us !
    I’ll bet I’m not the only one that might be drooling over your photos !


  32. Here are some of our new miniature Div 7’s although there were some in the earlier post. We do all Divisions so we have a lot of fertile Division 5 hybrids from miniature to standards as well. I have been busy using some of Lawrence’s fertile Div 7 flowers to expand the range of our fertile hybrids. As we have quite a few miniature tazettas I have been doing both tazetta hybridising and intersectional hybridising to see what is possible. It is late in the season now but there are still flowers to pollinate in our Daff House. In relation to Division 7 flowers, I like to breed flowers with nice overlapping perianths.

  33. Graham,

    Loved the diversity in you Div 7 Miniatures. You may have some show winners in them.  Keep them coming.



  34. Graham,

    I like the overlapping perianths as well.  If you have any bulbs this winter (to us) I’d like to maybe order a few.  Let me know if and when they are available.



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