a Girl and her Garden

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


"Who IS Nikki Schmith?" Find out using the links at the top right of this page!

Click on above links for more information...

...or read bout a 20-year obsession in the posts below!

a Girl and her Garden

filled with tales of digging daylilies and dishing the dirt!

Exclusive Introductions from Nikki Schmith

selected for distinction, show performance and garden value

Welcome to 'a Girl and her Garden'

Since 2009 I have been using this space to share my photographs, haiku and daylily adventures. I am so glad you are visiting today! Relax and enjoy your stay here. If your group is looking for a fun and informative seminar on daylilies- please email me for more information. My garden is also open to garden groups during peak season to come and enjoy over 500 unique hybrid daylilies integrated with other perennials - some seen no where else on the planet. I dig the daylily beacuse it is forgiving, surprising and beautifully brief. Why do YOU enjoy the daylily?

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.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Daylily Blog on Stretching Out

<posted May 10, 2015>  It's Mother's Day today and what a day it has been.  Spring seems to have come and gone over the span of a weekend and as the temperatures climb near the 80's, the garden is taking off.

Today I planted the two large planters at our Village hall with a bright mix of foxtail fern, spider plant, geraniums and creeping jenny.  I threw some vinca in there for spilling interest.  I think I'll really like this foliage combination and hope that visitors to our Village Hall will enjoy them, too.  Our old building has so much character. 
Then I was off to the Community Park where I am expanding the rain garden with a large swath of daylilies, both registered cultivars and promising seedlings.  It is a LARGE expansion, that will hold about 300 daylilies by the time I'm done.  It helps that I was the director of Parks and Recreation for our Village for the last year, and I thought it quite a reward that it was approved to expand on what the Girl Scouts had already started with their small rain garden.  Many people will get to see daylilies outside of fulva and Stella, and I hope it is a legacy garden for years to come - maybe even a fundraiser for the park as plants need dividing.  Here is a photo of it in early April when David and Donna Williams donated their seedlings to my project before their move to Tampa - and really kicked off the inspiration for this entire project.

All of these pots have now been emptied, organized and inventoried.  The rain garden (the large winter-weary brown splotch in the front of the photo) has been cleaned out and the plants are green and flourishing now.  Some are even in bloom!  Ill post pics for you soon so you can see its progress.

The large front loader will come this week and scrape the grass where I have laid out the beds-to-be.  Some of these potted plants did not make it through the winter, but the dirt was used for other plantings and the pots were recycled to good use.  I've moved many 20+ fan clumps of my own promising seedlings out here, too, and cannot wait to see them stretch in the sun.  The phased plan includes benches, butterfly-attracting perennials and even a few flowering trees.  Every village needs a large flowering garden where residents can discover flowers and pollinators and good smelling stuff and I'm doing my part to bring one to my own village.  It is a lot of work, on my own dime and sweat, but worth every drop of it all.

Someday maybe it will look like one of these beds at Blue Ridge Daylilies in North Carolina - spilling forth with color and promise and inspiration...

The spark for this post today came as I moved some of those potted seedlings around and noticed the crosses on some of them. What was I thinking when I made that cross or bought that seed?  What am I expecting?  How will it contribute to the already over-populated daylily landscape?  What is missing in the universe's daylily toolbox?

Is it patterns on a form and plant base like MARGO REED INDEED (below)?

Is it a wildly splashed black eye on a form and plant base like ORANGE VELVET(below)?

What about keeping the form and plant habit of BROOKWOOD WOW and add serrated teeth to it (below)?

I don't know what it is, but I'm not looking to make something that already exists better.  I don't want a "better" H. 'Shores of Time.'  I don't want a better-substanced H. 'Delicately Yours.'  I want something different.  I don't want more rippling patterns on a muddy pink, thinly substanced 5" flower.  I don't want another white with ruffly gold edge.  I don't want another H. 'Hold Your Horses.'


True pioneers do not try to make what already exists better, they strive to create something new.  Breakthroughs that contribute the most to the community are those ideas that are different from ones we already know.  Don't get me wrong, current ideas (and ideals) should always be improving and growing and stretching - but, the moments that occur when something new emerges and functions are the golden ones.  

Almost anyone can observe something and evolve it.  With today's 24-hour news-cycle and the ability to one-click share your ideas with everyone you know,  ideas and inspiration spread faster than soft, Thanksgiving butter.  You gotta reach out and grab your piece of the bandwidth.

I don't know what it is, and there are surely hundreds of hybridizers out there trying to make a name for themselves either on their own sweat or that of others, but I'm sure looking for it.  Searching for what stands out - what talks to me - what makes the garden better for including it.

What do you envision as different?  As new?  As better?

Tell me.

Til next time - 

P.S.  if you ever wanted to know what is the perfect outfit for touring, that lady in the pic at the beginning of this post is wearing the example of what you should wear while on a bus tour.  
1.  Layers.  2.  Hat.  3.  Sunglasses.  
Sometimes you are burning up and other times you are freezing.  A lightweight, lightcolored button down is the best way to stay comfortable.  I also like to take a frozen washcloth in a baggie with an ice pack for quickly cooling off.  In my bus bag you'll also find wet wipes, bandaids, neosporin-like ointment, mosquito bite relief and hand lotion. And sometimes vodka.  Just kidding.  Maybe not.  :)