It's spring fever.
That is what the name of it is.
And when you've got it, you want - oh, you don't quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so! 
-Mark Twain

According to the calendar, spring arrives on Saturday. The snow has melted (for now) here in Michigan, and I'm looking forward to turning grandiose gardening plans into reality very soon. The boxes of fresh plants should start to arrive in a month or so, and I'll start my annual game of Gardening Chess.

I. Can't. Wait.

The first quarter of the year is always daylily-filled. Yes, it's winter, but several events pop-up to help ease my winter blues. I usually take the opportunity on these solo-road trips to enjoy the voices in my head. This past weekend was no exception. I drove to the Dayton, Ohio area to join the Midwest Hybridizer's Group for their bi-annual meeting. Pretty Petals garden owner Kimberly McCutcheon (check out her daylily introductions of JAGUAR SMILE and TORNADO CHASER) was my host for the night and we had a grand time catching up and sharing stories of life in and out of daylilies. (I also got a quick, lucky stroll through the River Bend Gardens greenhouse and had fun getting my shoes dirty in the process.)

(L-R) H. 'Fresh Start' (Joiner '91) and H. 'Fashion District' (Santa Lucia '96)

When you are an exhibitor and overall enthusiast of daylilies, you amass quite a collection of hybrids. (can I get an amen?) Some people grow 20 different daylilies, some grow 1000's. As I have mentioned before, I garden in the city, so my space is limited. I grow close to 250 different daylilies now, and each year when the colorful catalogs start coming in and new price lists are released, I plan my purchases.  It is hard to decide where to spend the dollars budgeted for new plants. There are hundreds of options. Do I buy direct from the hybridizer? Do I take advantage of secondary market deals on the Lily Auction? Do I buy from nurseries that specialize in daylilies?

I did all of the above this year, and I don’t spend my daylily money lightly.

I probably over think it, but if I'm sending someone a few hundred dollars for daylilies, I better feel good about it.

As the 150+ highway miles ticked by on my way home from the daylily  meeting last weekend, the radio was my only company. My mind drifted to singers/bands I like, and I noted that I tend to connect more with singer/songwriters than I do other musicians. Dave Matthews, Rob Thomas, Counting Crows, Jeff Buckley, Peter Gabriel, Beth Hart…the list of great examples could go on for days. I connect with them because I believe the words they are saying – as opposed to those who sing the songs of others with practiced emotion.

Are they still great singers if they don’t write their own stuff? Absolutely! I just don’t tend to believe them as much.

A singer/songwriter has a daylily parallel to a hybridizer/enthusiast. I think you can be one without being the other.

As a daylily hybridizer, you move the pollen around using tools you have been given by God – a skill you have either learned or honed over time, much like a singer.

As a daylily enthusiast, you are inspired by the secret folds and tucks of a petal, or the way water collects in the pleated edge of a seedling in the field. You notice intricacies of color. Your insides smile at a dew covered first bloom on a warm summer morning. You see the daylilies as they are – a single, important element in a greater tapestry of gardening joy. Your passion oozes out of the daylilies you grow and create. On the other hand, there are many commercial-minded folks who are in it solely for money, fame and/or notoriety. And many of us can smell the counterfeit emotion a mile away.

I connect with the hybridizer/enthusiast. Looking through the list of hybridizers represented in my collection, it is clear that I favor some over others.  To be clear, it isn't about "being friends" with someone.  Two of the most represented hybridizers in my collection I have never met or even emailed.  I connect with someone who introduces daylilies that sing, daylilies that are diverse, daylilies that tell stories with their names, daylilies that are well thought through, daylilies that add something to my garden that others do not. 

But, as always, that’s just me. Me and my place in this big, green, gardening universe with my big, green heart swelling at the thought of another season of visitors, tours, sunrises, bonfires, laughter, dirt (of all kinds) and new daylily discoveries.

C'mon Spring.  We are waiting for you.

One of the beautiful vistas seen at Daylily World in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky


Unknown said...

What a nice post! I love daylilies but haven't bought many. I tend to spend money on irises. Eventually I would like to add many more daylilies. I love the first one of this post. The ruffled edges are lovely!

I'm a michigan gardener too!

Anonymous said...

You have such a wonderful way with words as well as photos - such an inspriation you are...
Came across this from a facebook post and i have really enjoyed your entries.
Denise Woods


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