Elitism...in daylilies.

Let me start with the caveat that I do not believe there is anything wrong with being an elitist in some regards. Today in my gardener's eye, there are plenty of ugly, poor performing daylilies. When I was a gardening neophyte, there were no ugly daylilies. With all obsessions, education and experience complicated my vision of virgin beauty and I am remorsed that I have become a daylily elitist.

At the same ice rink where I had one of my first kisses and was a cheerleader for high school hockey (two unrelated incidents) I discovered the registered daylily. A wonderfully knowledgeable and patient Delores Bourisaw was selling small, tagged plant divisions. They had names! They had personalities! I bought a bag full. Among my first purchases were H. 'Tani' and H. 'May May.' The rest they say, is history. I think I called Delores ten more times that summer to get $20 worth. And $30 worth.
Each time I visited her, she would ask ,"Well, what do you like?"
"I like them all." I naively responded.
She was so patient. She dug double fans for me, labeled them and sent me on my way.

Her: "You like yellow?"
Me: "Yes!"
Her: "What about orange?"
Me: "Of course!"
Her (brow now furrowed): "Pink?"
Me (clapping): "Oooo, they come in pink? Yes!"

That was about 20 years ago.
Now I share and sell daylilies and people come to my yard to get new pretties, and I ask them what they like.
They say they like them all, too. (I wish I were them again.)

I always smile, remember Delores and her patience, and dig nice things for them.

I think about when I "liked them all," quietly wish it was still that way and wonder at what point I decided I was a daylily elitist. It is then I recall the years of training to become an Exhibition Judge and a Garden Judge. The devil was in the details for me; the path to become more educated and focused on my beloved blossoms led me (unknowingly) to become more discerning in my tastes and more unforgiving of faults in the flower and its habits.

Sometimes I'm sad about the stuff in my brain that makes me see things differently than I would otherwise.

Another beautifully ironic downfall of age.

P.S. I still grow H. 'May May' in my garden today. It is from those first hybrid divisions I bought in about 1990. No matter how elitist I get about daylilies, I won't give that one up.



5 Most Visited Posts. Ever.

The Entire Vault

My New Podcast - Click Below!