There are a plethora of awards for daylilies through the American Hemerocallis Society. You might wonder what these awards are, or how some daylilies get nominated and some others do not. Here is my interpretation of the AHS "Pyramid of Awards." (click picture to see larger version)
I wanted to take a moment to explain the fact that the first step in path to a Stout Silver Medal is the Honorable Mention.
I was talking with Greg Schindler, hybridizer of H. 'Matchless Fire' and H. 'Morningcloud Marmalade,' and mentioned to him that he should definitely consider nominating H. 'Matchless Fire' for an HM next year. He asked me what the process was, and was unaware of one key fact:
Hybridizers nominate their own cultivars for both the Honorable Mention section of the ballot as well as the Specialty Awards.
Julie Covington, chair of AHS Awards and Honors sends out letters to hybridizers each November, asking them for nominations for the Honorable Mention and Specialty Awards. Anyone who wants to be added to the hybridizer's list may contact her to have their names added to the list. Approximately 10-15 new hybridizers are added each year. Once the letter goes out, it is also available on the AHS website and can be downloaded from there.
There are two items that are super important to note if you are a hybridizer considering nominating your own cultivars for an Honorable Mention (126 were awarded in 2009) or a Specialty Award. First, note that cultivars nominated for the HM section must have been registered for a minimum of three years. The date that you see for eligibility on the 2010 ballot will be moved back one year for the 2011 ballot. Many hybridizers (except for those perhaps in the Deep South) will actually wait 4-5 years before nominating cultivars to allow ample time for distribution. So first, you must have been registering cultivars for several years in order to have some cultivars which meet the time requirements. For the Special Awards, note that those must have been registered a minimum of 5 years before they can be placed on the ballot.
The second item - which I can't emphasize enough - is that anyone who nominates cultivars for the ballot should know that those nominated have fairly good distribution to OTHER regions of the country besides one's home region. For a daylily to win an HM Award, garden judges in at least 4 AHS regions must see it growing and be impressed enough to vote on it! Julie urges those who are nominating for the first time to start out small - perhaps only nominate two or three the first year to see how they will do.
So, in summary, if you are a hybridizer and think you'd like to get your daylilies on the ballot for Garden Judges to consider awarding an Honorable Mention to, you must nominate them yourself.
A little self-promotion never hurt anyone – that I know of!
Thank you to Julie Covington who provided some of the content for this post. She does a thankless and hectic job managing Awards and Honors. THANK YOU, JULIE!