Daylily Karma

As I walk around the daylily beds, I realize I am emotionally attached to some of them. Not always because they are gorgeous flowers, or have great plant habit, but because of who gave them to me, what memories I recall when I think of the name of certain daylilies, or where I was when I first saw or bought it.

WATERMELON MOON has such a story. I first saw this one on tour in Long Island at the AHS National Convention. The hybridizer, Pat Stamile, and his wife Grace were sitting behind me on the bus for the two-day tour and I remarked to him about the unusual color and nice size when I saw it in Pat Sayer's garden. We had a good conversation about it, and I have admired the photos of WATERMELON MOON since that day. I like recalling the emotion I had when I saw it. I like the unique color. When you go on tours a lot and see lots of pretties every year, the ones that really make you feel your heart beat are the ones you really remember.

Last summer I went to the daylily sale at Missouri Botanical Gardens. It is an annual event, one that draws a massive, and I do mean massive crowd. The sale kicks off with bagpiper's playing and parading into the sale area – leading the crowd. It is quite the event. Hundreds of people line up at least an hour before this event to get a chance at the goodies. I grew up in this area, and have gone to this sale for many years. Even though I now live in Michigan , I still go back for this sale.

This day, I stood second in line, behind a rather chatty lady who talked daylilies for a good 45 minutes with me before the doors to the sale opened. We had copies of the sale list, and casually browsed it together, not really commenting on what we wanted or were looking for. We chatted about our gardens, and the sale, and crazy daylily people we knew.

The doors to the sale opened. When they did, she went to the left and I went to the right. I immediately gravitated to the first sale table where I saw one potted daylily with a tall scape, set in the center of the table full of dried, bare root offerings. Each table had a few potted beauties with scapes and there were about 20 tables in this large gymnasium-like room. I reached out for the pot, turned it around to read what it was, and just as I read WATERMELON MOON on the tag and remembered my Long Island experience, my peripheral vision picked up someone making a beeline for me. My chatty friend approached quickly and asked harshly "ARE YOU GETTING THAT?" - as she reached to grab onto the pot I was holding.

I said I was thinking about it.

She pulled on the pot.

I lightly pulled back.

She accused me of overhearing her ask the salesperson about WATERMELON MOON and told me I was horrible. How dare I?! I tried to explain that I did not overhear her, and that I was attracted by the scape, then of course, realized it was something already on my wish list. She didn’t listen to a word I said. She continued barking.

She got even more irate and continued hollering at me, all the while never letting go of the pot. Well, at this point, it could have been the most hideous daylily on the planet, I wasn't giving it up now based solely on her nasty attitude. She left in a huff to loudly complain to more of the staff, while I strolled among the tables, smugly holding my pot, stunned from the experience and watching out of the corner of my eye for an attack dog. Over the years I have seen fist fights at daylily shows (really, I have), pushing matches at sales and arguments at club picnics. I have seen heated debates at board meetings and dissolved friendships over seedling registrations. But I have never been a direct party to any of this. Now I was right in the thick of it. Sigh.

By now, most of the people in the sale heard the scuffle and I was feeling more uncomfortable so I headed for the cash out. I paid for my $10 pot of WATERMELON MOON and a few other goodies (including QUILT PATCH, WHICH WAY JIM and WHOPPER FLOPPER) and headed out.

She was still going on about it when I left. She was wasting some valuable shopping time flapping her gums. Sometimes I think it's inevitable that our paths will cross again somewhere in daylily land.

WATERMELON MOON is still only one husky fan. It may bloom for the first time this year - maybe not.

Maybe I should have let her take it.


El said...

I'm so glad you DIDN'T let it go. When it's big enough to split, I have the perfect place for a fan of Watermelon Moon in front of a section of white picket fence. I think you know the place. 8-) El.

Nikki Schmith said...

El, I have tons of daylilies potted for the big daylily sale tomorrow in Birmingham. If you want daylilies...Ive got them to share! Let me know!

Steve Schmith said...

Hi Schatz! Wonderful blog. Hip-hip-Hooray! Looking forward to the sale. For others tha are reading, you have no idea what will be available on Saturday. The fact that I cannot park in the driveway should provide some indication. Come out early. Good stuff!

Karen Phillips said...

Love the story from the Gardens. Too funny! The MBG is my FAVORITE place to go.

Dorothian Meyer said...

I think you would have been justified in feeding it to her, pot and all.

David Kirchhoff said...

How fun! MBG is awesome. So is Nikki. Where is a sharply pointed umbrella when one needs it. BTW, Nikki you proove that one can find the time to share daylily magic, and juggle a "real life" with its myriad comings and goings. Go girl!

Kerry said...

Great blog Nikki. Love the story behind Watermelon Moon.


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