Last updated 10/25/07.
EARLY AND OFTEN (Huben 2001)
26 E Re 4, Peach Polychrome, Dor Dip Ext Fra
Sunny Honey * (Three Seasons * Tuscawilla Tranquility)
Double fans $40 plus $5 shipping and handling.
Sold out in 2001 and 2002!
Order now for spring 2003 shipment. Send checks to:
Mike Huben, 27 Winter St., Arlington, MA 02474
Often when I read a catalog, I wish there was more information to help me decide on a variety, especially comparative information. Since this is my first introduction, forgive me if I wax eloquent (and self indulgently) at great length about EARLY AND OFTEN.
EARLY AND OFTEN is a true northern rebloomer like STELLA DE ORO, and one of the first to leave the yellows and golds behind. EARLY AND OFTEN starts blooming within one week after Stella, then blooms and reblooms continuously for at least 9 weeks in my experience. I commonly see up to 3 sets of scapes per fan, the scapes staggered a month apart. EARLY AND OFTEN does not take a midsummer rest the way Stella does.
EARLY AND OFTEN, more melon than usual on a cool morning.
(Annual Blue Woodruff, Asperula azurea, is in the background.)
It is a pale peach color that blends well with other colors in the garden, and is always open flat early in the morning, even in cool weather. It has prospered through zone 4 and 5 winters. It is pod and pollen fertile, a great parent. It is the same height as Stella in my garden. There's a fair amount of ruffling, heavy diamond dusting, an unobtrusive yellow throat, and faint yellow veining.
Why would you want EARLY AND OFTEN? It's not large or gaudy. Well, it's a season extender at both the early and late ends of the season, and one of the few that's not yellow. If you want to sell it like Stella is sold, it is the first strong northern rebloomer in its color class that is NOT PATENTED. And if you want to breed rebloomers, it is a fast route away from the yellow. It's larger than Stella, and throws beautiful kids in the first generation. Most of the kids are early morning openers if not nocturnal, and they readily take green throats from the other parent.
Interestingly, EARLY AND OFTEN has been highly rust resistant (tolerant) during two years of testing with rust in West Virginia.
STELLA DE ORO (yellow) compared to EARLY AND OFTEN on a cool morning.
EARLY AND OFTEN is named not only for its terrific performance, but for a locally famous campaign slogan of Boston's reknowned criminal Mayor Curley (who served part of his fourth term of office in jail in the 40's.) "Vote early and often for Mayor Curley of Boston."
Another feature of EARLY AND OFTEN is rapid increase in northern gardens under real garden conditions, like Stella. In my sandy soil with tree root competition and partial shade, EARLY AND OFTEN increased from seed to 25 fans in only three years, despite almost every flower having been podded. That's rapid increase, and in my conditions it is unbelievable. How many northern hybridizers can start shipping a new variety in just four years from seed harvest?
In the greenhouse, the increase is still faster, as the above picture shows. A single fan (beginning to show a scape) has produced 4 fans on each side, a veritable fan of fans. I've observed similar (though less photogenic) behavior outdoors: every time I turn around, another new fan has popped up!
EARLY AND OFTEN has no conspicuous faults, though it does have room for improvement. It melts under the same sunny, windy conditions as Stella. The foliage is not as deep a green as I prefer. It is only average in spider mite resistance. It has the same low budcount and branching as Stella. It is not as extended a bloomer as Stella because it is not nocturnal. The throat color is yellow, not green. Under warm conditions ( or when grown in a greenhouse) the blooms can have more yellow coloration. Its performance in a clump is not yet known: it has been divided every year. None of these are big negatives.
APRICOT SPARKLES (left) compared to EARLY AND OFTEN.
The only daylily available that is comparable to EARLY AND OFTEN is the patented APRICOT SPARKLES (Apps 00). If you want one, you likely will want the other. It's too soon to make a full comparison between the two, but EARLY AND OFTEN is earlier, taller, paler, fuller, and flatter. APRICOT SPARKLES seems more resistant to melting in the sun, and has darker foliage. In 2002, in my garden, EARLY AND OFTEN's first bloom was two weeks ahead of APRICOT SPARKLES: mid June instead of the end of June.
An important question in all catalogs is "can I trust the photos?" These photos were made with a Nikon Coolpix 950 outdoors in natural daylight, reduced and sharpened with GIMP, a freeware equivalent of PhotoShop. No other alterations were made. Even so, no two monitors will show exactly the same colors, or even the correct colors. On my monitor, the colors of these photos are less yellow than in real life. But the alternative (adjusting the colors) might well give me colors that are inconsistant and even worse on some monitors.
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