Twenty-Five Years Ago This Year
Reflections on 1984

Ken Cobb
AHS Archivist/Historian

The year 1984 began with a new AHS President, Texan Bill Ater, who had been growing daylilies since 1960. In the late 1970's he had been a Regional Vice-President of Region 6 and also received the AHS Best Newsletter Award. [Before his untimely death of cancer in 2008, he would eventually also receive the highest AHS service award, the Helen Field Fischer Gold Medal, an honor he would share with his wife, Mary Anne.]


Some highlights of the year 1984 according to board minutes were:

  • publishing of the 'Green' ten-year combined checklist
  • transferring of the Historian's files to the Anderson Horticultural Library at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum [where they would remain until 2003]
  • the retiring of Executive Secretary Joan Senior who was replaced by Sandy Goembel of FL
  • agreeing that the AHS Regional Service Award could be made a dual, not just individual, award
  • accepting Region 4's offer to establish the Don C. Stevens award for eyed and banded daylilies
  • discussing the need for a General Endowment Fund in lieu of one solely for the Journal

Dr. Michael Kasha from Florida State University encouraged hybridizers to take a new path to a blue daylily. He emphasized that scientific evidence from many labs showed that line-breeding based upon 'seeing blue' in a purple cultivar would likely lead only to purple 'if the co-pigmenting genetic determinant was absent.' [As of 2009, there are blue eyes in daylilies, but the elusive blue daylily has yet to be bred.]

Roswitha Waterman [later to become the AHS International Secretary] wrote about 'A Yankee Excursion To The Kingdom Of Daylilies.' Today, arguably, the kingdom would be that Magic Kingdom in Florida (a.k.a. Mecca), which held the 1984 National Convention. In 1984, however, the kingdom was in Louisiana. Roswitha and her entourage toured the gardens of Elsie Spalding, Lee Gates, Clarence and Beth Crochet, Ken Durio, Lucille Guidry, and Olivier Monette. What a kingdom!

Attendees voted Kate Carpenter's Hemerocallis 'Alec Allen' the President's Cup at the Orlando, FL, National Convention. The Awards and Honors Judges [now Garden Judges] of that time voted separately for their favorite -- the double, 'Betty Woods'. That convention gave proof that 'Mecca' was not far off.

Although the definition of neither a spider nor an unusual form had been finalized in 1984, a Spider Robin did exist and its members contributed an ìoff-beatî set of slides to the AHS Slide Library, which depicted spider and ìvariantî daylilies. [Their eighty slides eventually reached 122; the set still exists and the slides will eventually be digitized.]

A most fascinating article was written by Bill Munson, of Florida, on 'Milestones In Twenty Years Of Tet Breeding At Wimberlyway.' He tracked the parentage of many of those he considered milestones. kate carpenterShown here is his 1984 introduction 'Kate Carpenter', which he considered as much a milestone for flesh-pink as his earlier 'Benchmark' had been for lavender.

The Society ended the year with over 4100 members, an increase of almost 700 and over 20,000 registered daylilies.

25 years ago in the AHS for 2008 - click here...

© Copyright 2009 by the American Hemerocallis Society, Inc.