Fran Harding

Howard 2018
[(Forestlake Lacy Bloomers X Forestlake Ragamuffin) X (Forestlake Pikachu X New Direction)]
4 way branching,27 buds
Fran Harding is the hybridizer of Forestlake Ragamuffin,perhaps the most famous toothy daylily of
all time. It is in the parentage of a remarkable 225 introductions as of Nov 2017. The above image of
Fran was taken in 1997 circa her 50th wedding anniversary.

Her namesake (with her permission of course) is a light yellow/cream blend with a green heart and very
ruffled edge with teeth, horns and tendrils. It also has some sculpting going on. Fertile both ways.I
believe the plant came from seeds I purchased from Fran years ago,or it may have been from some
seedlings she sent me to evaluate.I have never seen, nor grown, one of the parents, Forestlake Pikachu.

I was fortunate to be able to meet Fran's daughters Becky and Laura at the National in Virginia in 2017.
They are lovely individuals. Fran's hybridizing was top notch in many areas! Fran passed away in March
2019. My interactions with her via e-mail a few years ago were some of the most memorable
experiences daylilies have enabled me to have. Here is some info from her obituary:

"Frances Privette Harding was born in Raleigh, NC in 1926 & grew up in Chapel Hill, NC. She met my
dad, John, at UNC Chapel Hill, where the US Navy sent him to Officer Training during WWII; he heard
her sing in church, followed her home &, according to Mom, never left. They married & moved in 1946
to Dayton, Ohio, where Dad’s family owned a printing company. They raised five kids in Ohio & moved
in 1973 with part of the printing business & loads of daylilies to Fredericksburg, VA. Mom died March
16, 2019, in Fredericksburg. She was 92 years old. Fran was preceded in death by her husband of 68
years, John Raymond Harding, Sr. and a son, Robert (Bob) Harding. She is survived by two sons,
John Jr (Jack) & Steven Harding, and two daughters, Laura Harding & Rebecca (Harding) Hartigan, as
well as three grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

Mom was a chemist (UNC ’45) until she had kids & was adventurous, curious & incredibly competitive;
she was a killer athlete growing up (fast pitch & basketball) & played very competitive tennis into her 70’
s. She had a beautiful soprano voice and sang opera, folk music & show tunes throughout her day.
She designed our house in Ohio & it was featured in the local paper. She was political & active in her
causes. Son Bob won a HUGE pumpkin in a contest & she made 58 pies from it. Mom did everything
full out.

Likewise, when she became interested in daylilies she went all-in. She had a microscope on the
kitchen counter, surrounded by flats of seedlings under grow lights waiting for spring. She loved getting
her copy of the Robin & pored over everyone’s letters before writing her own addition. She dabbled in
treating diploids with colchicine (not sure if she ever had any real success) and helped me treat wild
violets with colchicine for my high school science project.

Mom had a wonderful relationship with her garden and reveled in her alone time there. She was
observant, methodical, careful & let the plants & soil teach her. Going to the garden to see the day’s
blooms was her joy. Those blooms gave her the energy & drive to weed, dig, hack, drag… the chores
of the garden. She was careful to require little assistance from us kids in order to guard that privacy,
her respite in a busy noisy house. Except when she dug in the garden & invariably came across a big
fat worm, the one critter she was afraid of. My sister & I removed many worms to the woods for her;
she eventually got to where they didn’t bother her at all."