By the time you read this message, we may be well into another Saskatchewan winter, but as I write, we are enjoying another beautiful late October day with warm temperatures and exquisitely coloured leaves. The summer of '99 certainly presented prairie gardeners with may surprises and challenges. The cool and rainy weather led to some problems with botrytis, which affects several ornamental garden plants including lilies and peonies, and thrives in the environmental conditions which were present during this growing season.
The lengthy and pleasant fall season has provided ample time for clean up of botrytis infected foliage, which is necessary because the pathogen overwinters in the plant debris. As well, newly acquired lily bulbs have been planted and overgrown clumps have been lifted and divided. At our Heritage Lily Plot at the University of Saskatchewan, Stan Dunville has done a tremendous amount of work amending the soil and planting more bulbs of lily hybrids which have been developed by Western Canadian hybridizers- such as C.F. Patterson, A.J. (Bert) Porter. Thanks to Stan and his crew for all their hard work.
One of the hybridizers whose lilies are represented in the plot is Dr. Cecil F. Patterson. Dr. Patterson was the head of the Department of Horticulture at the University of Saskatchewan from 1921 until his retirement in 1960. He made enormous advances in lily hybridization, adding colours such as pink, white, cream, lemon and combinations of colours to hardy lilies, which had been previously confined to the yellow, orange and red colour range. Dr. Patterson's cross between Lilium davidii var. willmottiae and L. cernuum led to a number of pastel coloured hybrids including 'Edith Cecilia', 'Lemon Queen', 'Apricot Glow', and 'White Princess'. Both 'Lemon Queen' and 'Edith Cecilia' are fertile and were used extensively in the hybridization program at Oregon Bulb Farms.
In his book Lilies: A Guide for Growers and Collectors, Ed McRae calls Dr. Patterson's introduction of L. cernuum into the Asiatic Hybrids one of the greatest lily hybridizing breakthroughs of this century. From the Star Phoenix, Saskatoon, February 22, 1961, in an article following Dr. Patterson's death cones this quote:
It would be difficult to name anyone, anywhere in the world, who has made a greater contribution to the development of the lily than Dr. Patterson."
At the North American Lily Society International Show in Chicago this summer, Dr. Patterson was honoured (posthumously) with a very long overdue award - the prestigious E. H. Wilson Award for contributions towards breeding the genus Lilium. Those of us who grow and/or hybridize lilies owe Dr. Patterson a great debt of gratitude for his work and we are very pleased that he has finally been honoured with this award.
I hope everyone had an opportunity to add to their lily collections through the Fall Bulb Sale. Thanks to Bulb Sales Chairperson John Bond and to all who helped with digging, packaging and working at the sales tables.
The sale of bulbs is an important source of revenue for our Society and allows CPLS to fund two scholarships in memory of Andy Dingwall ( University of Saskatchewan) and Milt Bell (Olds College, Alberta).
Don't forget to renew your CPLS Membership.
On behalf of the CPLS Executive I wish everyone a safe and joyous Holiday Season.