a Girl and her Garden

...learning about daylilies one blog post at a time!

Browse through over 300 stories below!

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Welcome to 'a Girl and her Garden'

I am so glad you are visiting today! Since 2009 I have been using this space to share photographs, haiku and stories about my 20-year love affair with the daylily.

Relax and enjoy your stay here.

I dig the daylily beacuse it is forgiving, surprising and beautifully brief. Why do YOU dig it?

Thursday, July 16, 2015

DAYLILY HAIKU THURSDAY | How long is long enough?

<posted July 16, 2015> This is Richard Norris EMPIRE OF DESIRE.  If I could have only one sculpted daylily in my collection, it would be this one.  Google 'Ashwood Daylilies' to see his complete catalog- you wont be sorry.  Your wallet might be, but you wont.  I would recommend ASHWOOD DARK SIDE, IDA MAE NORRIS, REMEMBERED KISSES and MARDI GRAS BEADS.  That is a great start to a great collection of northern hardy reblooming daylilies!  Promise.

The daylilies are on their way toward Fall and I have not been disappointed at all.  What an amazing season!  The rain has been (too) plentiful, the sun has been hot on my shoulders, and the season has filled me with more inspiration that I have had in past years.  Intentional inspiration.  The kind that you act on and not stumble over.  I am loving it.


I've held on to this idea for a post for quite a while, and I when I saw it in my drafts today I thought it was a good time to pull it out and ask you the question. 

My friend Melodye Campbell wrote: "It's that time of year to give my daylilies a hard look. Poor branching and bud count? Not impressed with the bloom anymore? No bloom at all? Like many of you, my gardens have reached critical mass. My mantra of "one goes out if one comes in" is hard to stick to, especially when you get bonus plants with every order, bus plants at conventions, etc.
So, my question is, how long do you give a daylily to perform? Three years used to be my limit, but sometimes I let them go longer than that. For example, ROSE F. KENNEDY took 3 years to produce a scape, so I kept it. In it's 4th year, she took off and produced 4 scapes with lots of buds. I'm in love and glad I kept her another year. I try not to move the daylilies too much, I let them stay in the same spot for the 3 years. But come on, after 3 years, if the plant is still 2 fans, that doesn't bode well . . . ."

So, what do you think?  

How long do you hold on to the idea of what you think a daylily could or should do, until the reality of what it IS going to do sets in?  

The answer for me is 3 summers.  If something doesn't wow me, doesn't make me want to take a photo of it, doesn't make me walk over to see what its doing, doesn't perform near how it was advertised, it is outta here.  3 summers is fair.  

Most of the time natural selection kills off the weak and unnecessary here, and for that I am thankful.  LADY BLUE EYES died FIVE TIMES before I realized that I was never going to get to grow it and see what I still remember as the bluest thing I have ever seen in a garden.  I took this photo in 2003.  I remember it so vividly, that of over 10K photos on my computer I knew exactly which folder it was in without searching for it.

This was Twelve years and twelve cameras ago.  
I still remember Margo Reed was standing next to me when I saw the lone bloom in a national tour garden. I let out an audible gasp and she smiled knowingly and walked by.  We didnt know each other then, but we do now and that memory makes me smile.  I bought and killed this daylily five times before I finally decided it wasn't in my fate to possess it.  Big frown face, but I still have the memory.

I also just re-bought DUST AND GRAVITY for the third time.  That one seems to spend all its wad in a fabulous display and piddle out the next year.  I couldn't be without it after I culled out its dying remains this spring.  I love it so Ill gamble on it again.

Such is the life of a gardener.  One beautiful, maddening green gamble after another.

 Til next time, sink into the above photo of PICOTEE PRISM...ahhhhhh.

Thursday, July 2, 2015


<posted July 2, 2015>  This is Nicole DeVito's BULLETPROOF, just one of about 15 of her introductions growing in my Illinois garden.  I had the great fortune of visiting her garden in Florida this past May and it was a real treat.  I bought 4 unregistered seedlings (unheard of for me, since I am a stickler for registered cultivars I can exhibit in daylily shows.)  They are all four thriving here so far.  

I also picked up KEEPER OF THE STARS and FORTUNE'S BLUEPRINT during my visit.  She also gave each visitor a special daylily to honor her "Breakfast in the Garden" tradition during Florida Mecca.  The peach one she gave this year was STUNNING!!!  There it is in the photo on the left.  Thick substance - this photo was taken at 2:30 in the afternoon on a hot Florida May day.  WOWZA. What I like about Nicole is she does things her way.  She follows her hearts direction in hybridizing and in gardening.  Her garden was a bubble of fun in so many ways.  I wish more gardened that way.  I can guarantee you that visitors to your garden pick up on the undercurrent of emotion on which you garden. That might sound strange, but your green space is an extension of your inner vibe. 
The karmic rhythms and meters in your garden transfer to those who visit just as you leave a bit of your own vibe behind in those you visit.  

Here are some more photos of my visit that day.   All of the daylilies featured below are unregistered seedlings as of this post.  The third pic below is one of the four seedlings that I bought and brought back here to Illinois!  It was at least 9" in this photo.  I hope it thrives here, too.

Nicole's mom fashioned this chandelier for the picnic area.  Notice all the garden tools?  F.U.N.  There she is in the blue hat below...  (she also grows a mean blackberry.)

After the crowds left, Dreamer was able to come out and roam. More fun.

The above seedling was one of my favorites of the day.  It was so big and so flat and had a deep, heady fragrance.  You can find a complete list of what she has available and contact her directly on her website here.  

I hope you enjoyed these pictures and I hope I left behind some good vibes when I left her garden that day.

Til next time-

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Daylily Haiku Thursday | It's all happening...

<posted June 17, 2015>  This is H. 'Hawkeye Fringe,' a daylily introduced by my friend Don Lovell.  I love everything about this daylily, including its clear color and large, open form.  It never has trouble opening correctly here in Illinois and the edges are always well adorned.  I especially like the carving that sometimes appears on the petals in the throat area.  Yummy.

Its raining here again today (5 days in a row now)- lucky for me because it makes me slow down and not feel like I need to flit about the garden furiously doing this or that.  The last two days I have simply grabbed the umbrella and meandered in the rain, letting the wet grass soak my feet and gather between my toes.  These are the days I have imagined since they were here last, and it feels surreal that they are back again.

 H. 'Just for Breakfast' and H. 'Siloam Grace Stamile'

This Saturday afternoon, I'm hosting a garden party and I'm looking forward to sharing my space with the local women I love so much.  Our kids have gone to school together for years, and we have remained thick as thieves.  It will be great to relax and serve them my favorite treats and summer peach sangria in my exploding summer garden.

Saturday the 27th of June is the Central Illinois Daylily Society’s Exhibition Show at Washington Park Botanical Gardens.  Consider this your official invitation to exhibit and/or attend the event. It’s the only accredited show in the state of Illinois and its growing each year. Please come.  Email me for more info and check out this website for more info, too!

Today the first three blooms on NIKKI SCHMITH (left) opened, a daylily introduced by a soul sister, and I smiled when I saw it today and recalled some of our most raucous adventures.  Life really is a long, strange trip.  I’m loving the journey…

I am decompressing from a weekend filled with a thousand emotions – all of them swirling in my memory as the 2015 National Convention in Atlanta fades into the past.  It’s a bittersweet event, really.  I connect with hundreds of AHS members through Facebook and email and my blog each day, each week, each month and seeing hundreds of them all in one place at one time for a short few days is overwhelmingly amazing.

Also blooming its first bloom today in my garden is HAT’S OFF TO SUE (below, right), which reminds me of Tim Herrington and the tearful hug we shared after I presented him with the 2015 Steve Moldovan Mentoring Award last weekend. LOVE IS DEEP is showing off two rainsoaked blooms today, saturated with water and yet not shedding any color.  That one reminds me of Georgia and the piece of my heart that lives there.  TAVERN ON THE GREEN from my new friend Paul Lewis is showing off exactly how its name implies and GRANITE CITY BELLE has its first flower open, which reminds me of my early days in daylilies – some 25 years ago- as this one was named for and introduced by a lady from my childhood hometown.

In Atlanta, I shared a few (but not enough) funny moments with Nicole DeVito, fell in love with my new friends Brittany Mitchell, Lynn Hopkins and Jacob Henry, hugged Eddie Ray Andrews and Paul Owen and Charlie Harper and Oliver Billingslea and Libby Hickman, kissed both Heidi and Charles Douglas, shared a dinner and great conversation with Janice Kennedy, laughed with Lois Hart, cried with Bill Monroe, told Sandy Holmes that I really did listen to her advice about grace, enjoyed immensely meeting Greg Goff for the first time and waxing intellectual about some what-ifs, listened intently and admiringly to Tim Herrington and Julie Covington, basked in the calming auras of Marcia Zech, Mary Collier Fisher and Nan Ripley, started a virtual viral video war with Scott Elliott and his nice Bus 5, felt proud sitting next to Melodye Campbell, smiled with new friends from Willow Rock, and accepted sentiments of congratulations and love from hundreds of other cherished friends.   Here are some random people photos from the two days of tours...

Sitting across from Bill Waldrop in his gorgeous church made the BBQ lunch served there even more special; he is a true gem who loves this flower like no other.  Congratulations to him on winning the President’s Cup for BLAZING CANNONS. 

I enjoyed some time on a tire swing, lounged on a river bank, ate more than my share of the most delicious lemon fudge handmade by Martha Carpenter, felt a butterfly land on my shoulder and allowed the sun to kiss my cheeks. Sometimes I walked alone, reminding myself to soak this all in.  Building new traditions with my partner in crime Theresa Roth and my sparkle sister Elizabeth Trotter was amazing, and I missed sharing space with my kindred spirit Nicole Willis and whooping it up with my Kimberly.  I don’t think the world could handle it if we all were ever in the same place at the same time.  These people are my family.  They have watched my son grow from afar, offered an ear when I have felt like an island and sent a silent thumbs-up from across the room and country to calm my restless spirit.  You can count on them to give you a shoulder or a shirt off their back, most often when you don’t even know you need it.  

(photo above courtesy of Ken Cobb)

Attending a National Convention is exhausting.  And thrilling.  And soul filling. And refreshing. And worth it all – the money, the time, being away from my own garden and my own family – the collective experience is worth what it means to our community and our mission to GO.  AND DO.  AND CONTRIBUTE.  

I'll do it as long as the universe allows, and I hope you will too.

You can see a lot of photos from this years convention on many Facebook pages even if you aren't a member.  Check out this one  or this one.  

Here’s a cheer to Atlanta, and to everyone who had a hand in our collective experience this weekend.  We appreciate you.  Deeply.

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