Ury Gene Winniford
November 15, 1908 - January 17, 2001
by Ray Houston

Ury WinnifordUry Gene Winniford was born November 15, 1908 , in Dallas, Texas, the son of Henry Douglas Winniford and Ida (Hulse) Winniford.

Ury was one extremely interesting person. He was always willing to share his knowledge about daylilies with anyone who asked.

It was not unusual to see Ury with multiple pollen anthers sticking out of his mouth like toothpicks when he was hybridizing. He would have pollen coating his fingers and as a consequence, everything he touched had pollen on it. It was very difficult to keep from laughing about the pollen that had been deposited on his face and ear lobes.

Some of Ury Winnifordís best known daylily registrations are Hemerocallis 'Bertie Ferris' (1969) which won the American Hemerocallis Society Stout Silver Medal in 1980, H. 'Little Greenie' (1972), and 'Touched By Midas' (1979).

In 1983, the American Hemerocallis Society honored Ury by presenting him the Bertrand Farr Silver Medal for his hybridizing achievements.

When Ury reminisced about his courtship of his wife, Elna, he said he courted Elna via written communication before he ever spoke to her. When they married, Ury had $7.50 that he had earned "child sitting." The marriage license cost $2.50, and he paid the preacher $5. He had a truly zero based marriage. Ury and Elna grew and hybridized daylilies for over forty years. Elna specialized in the development of small flowers before ill health stopped her work.

While making his rounds for the Dallas Water Department, Ury spotted a pretty yellow daylily, 'Hyperion' (Mead, 1924), growing in a customer's yard. This sparked his interest in daylilies, but he didn't really start hybridizing in earnest until after a visit to the Hughes garden in Mansfield, Texas. Before then he had visited other gardens, done some hybridizing, and grown several varieties of daylilies, but without any particular goals in mind and without keeping records. He found the flower form that appealed to him among the miniatures in the garden of Lucille Williamson.

Ury was one of the Region 6 pioneers in his efforts to produce tetraploid daylilies. He used Lucille Warner's 'Small Prize' (1978) to test for tetraploid capability. He said that if the cultivar is a true tetraploid or converted diploid, the pollen would take on 'Small Prize'.

His life-long hybridizing goals were wide petals and round sepals. He was often quoted as saying, "I want them to roll back and hold water. I won't keep pointed sepals." He also wanted the flowers to open early, saying, "I want them to be looking at me when I come out to the garden in the morning."

Ury made a practice of naming his daylilies after local club members. His 'Wynelle Clifton' (1983) and 'Ruth Ratliff' (1981), along with many others, are lasting tributes to club members.

He unselfishly shared his talents and flowers with the visitors to his garden, his local club, and American Hemerocallis Society. Countless numbers owe their interest in daylilies to his gifts of seedlings and his shared knowledge of horticulture.

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