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Neighbors of DuPage

The Chicagoland Daylily Society

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James (Gus) Guzinski will present Daylily Flower Color—a Two-Layer System at the April 14, 2019, meeting of the Chicagoland Daylily Society, and he has graciously agreed to offer some of his hybrids for our 50/50 auction after his presentation. Gus is a retired research chemist whose field of expertise is natural flavor and natural color. He published the first report identifying lycopene as the carotenoid pigment responsible for the melon colored daylily flower. Gus has been a member of the American Hemerocallis Society (AHS), now known as the American Daylily Society (ADS), for more than 25 years. He was the Region 2 Newsletter Editor and has written several popularized science articles for the newsletter and for the Daylily Journal. He served on the AHS Registration Committee and is now on the Scientific Studies Committee. He is also a garden judge and a popular garden judge instructor. His interests in hybridizing are heavily weighted toward the genetics of color inheritance and the study of unusual genetic traits in daylilies. For the past several years he has been working predominantly for early bloom in daylilies. Peak bloom in his Kalamazoo, Michigan, display gardens is about the third week in July—but, in his seedling beds, peak season occurs in mid-June. Gus says he is not interest in becoming a commercial daylily hybridizer and rarely registers his seedlings. “Three named cultivars in 25 years seem enough.” This should not be taken to mean that his hybridizing program is small. He plants about 3,000 seeds a year with about one quarter of those dedicated to projects to study foliage types, scape branching patterns, and other traits of interest. Most of his hybridizing uses diploids because the genetics are simpler and there is more variety available. His garden is a piece of his acreage, “just enough to be too much.” Cultivars are grown in raised wood beds near a small pond that often has baby turtles. His acre of seedlings is nearby and is open to garden visitors by appointment. Gus is also an expert on chili peppers and hops. He has been teaching part time since his early retirement from industry.