2012 National Daylily Convention Recap | The Hensley Garden

When you actually laugh out loud in a garden, and when the whimsy of the garden owner is palpable, you know you are having a rare experience. Many gardens try to be funny and try to be whimsical, and often come off fabricated and forced.
The smallest garden on the 2012 AHS national tour may just have been one of my favorites.  Kim and Chris Hensley (and adorable daughter/chief fairy catcher Isabella) have the cutest corner lot in all of Columbus, Ohio!  

An eclectic collection of daylilies, conifers, grasses and garden art kept us on our toes as we tried to digest it all in 40 minutes.  I heard laughter and gasps of joy throughout the garden - both at the art and at the daylilies.  As two busloads filed through paths, walked under trellises, sat on benches, wandered through fairy gardens, and oogled daylilies, I never felt crowded or cramped on this suburban lot.  As a matter of fact, I'm not sure I saw all of what was to be seen!  (moral - don't ever think your garden is "too small" to have large numbers of people visit.)  What a treat to visit a home where a young family does daylilies so well.  Again, there must have been magic there, because I didnt even notice what they had to eat under the beautifully decorated tent on the side lawn.  I did notice the burlap/fabric covered mason jars, however, an idea I plan to steal ASAP.

Here I saw  H. 
'Gregory Peck' and immediately added it to my wish list.  Oh, this was the color of a fierce midnight thunderstorm.  It was metallic and mysterious and captivating.  I also now see it isn't easy to find.  Let me know if you have some to sell/share/trade...  ;)

I also drooled (as did many others) over H. 'Plane Geometry'.

What I really liked about the above daylily is the scape density and progression.  Many, many scapes and not too many fans.  The scapes seems to be at different times, but all close to blooming, which tells me that Richard's goals of "instant rebloom" is present in this cultivar.  It is on the order I placed with Richard this week.  I hope he has it in stock.

I also LOVED his H. 'Up Against the Sun'.  Again, high scape density and showing instant rebloom.  Any northern-born that can do this needs to be in my garden.  Now.  If you look at the lower left bloom, you can also see the flowers are fringed in tiny saw teeth, which just adds to its distinction.

It may be the appropriate time to say that in my opinion, the star hybridizer of this convention was Richard Norris of Ashwood Gardens.  You may have already heard the ravings about his H. 'Pigment of Imagination' all over Facebook and the email Robin for the AHS - and it was in almost every tour garden and was truly a unique sight.  Here is my photo of it (one of 18 I took in many gardens throughout the weekend.)

Richard's cultivars were the star in many gardens (followed a very close second by Jim Murphy and Margo Reed) and my friends and I made quite a list and quickly mailed an order to Ashwood once I got to Michigan.  I already grow H. 'Pigment of Imagination', which is a good thing because after this convention I doubt he will have any left to sell.  

I about FELL OVER when I saw his H. 'Ashwood Dark Side', but that is a story for another garden.  If your club is looking for a speaker or a keynote presenter, Richard is your guy.  There aren't too many others that can captivate an audience like Richard can, and I have had the pleasure of hearing him on many occasions.  The Hensley Garden featured his introductions well and it was a treat to see!

The fairy gardens were plentiful, tucked in to every sensible space.  Their chief fairy-watcher Isabella popped in often to show us how she likes to play with the little things and rearrange the pieces.  I love to see kids in the garden, allowed to put their hands on things without a "don't touch" coming from their parents.  She was adorable and was happy to share her space with us.


The views were spectacular.  One of the benefits of a smaller lot is that you can have so many vantage points from one location.  I loved the rainbow of color all around, every space filled in with greens of some sort for interest.

The garden surrounded us with its intelligent humor, and I couldn't get enough.  To further emphasize that point, my iPhone was on fire as soon as I boarded the bus, ordering this guy:

I knew if I didnt get it ordered, it would be sold out once I got home (much like those darn peacocks in Valdosta.)  I laughed SO hard when I saw this guy hiding under the tree.  I could hear him screaming with glee at his pink conquest.  WHAT A HOOT!  How original.  

Several more of his breed appeared in the garden:

These guys are from this website and the selection there is UNREAL.  These are all original pieces and I had a hard time deciding what to get, but I settled (for now) on the Flamingo-killer you see above.  They are called "Gnome Be Gones" and they couldn't be more original or more HILARIOUS.  They come in all sizes and occupations, looking like they wreak havoc and bring laughter throughout the garden in every form.  My flamingo-killer is in transit as I write this, and I hope to share his adventures in my garden soon.  Check out Sugar Post for yourself.  Your funny bone will thank you.

The point is that I had a darn good time in this garden. And quite honestly, you cant say that in every garden you visit. I laughed, I enjoyed purposeful plantings and well-grown daylilies and then I laughed some more.  Maybe a bit too loud, but I think the gardeners appreciated that I was tickled in their garden.  A real LOL in the garden is worth a million bucks, and I could tell the Hensleys really like what they do together as a family.  Maybe some day bus loads of folks will visit my garden, enjoy time with my family and laugh the same way.

I can only hope.  

Thanks, Hensleys.

(L-R: H. 'Macao' , H. 'Swallowtail Kite' and H. 'Carrick Wildon')



Seeker said...

Wonderful in every way!

Gotta Garden said...

I, too, enjoyed this garden very much! And, thanks to Tim Herrington, I came home and ordered right away. Now, I'm really glad I did as I'm sure your link will have business hopping...lol! Enjoying your posts very much. Btw, (grin) they had cheese squares and cups of fruit under the tent (possibly other stuff, too)...which our two buses devoured! Garden touring clearly makes us hungry!

Bethany Benton Art said...

What a lovely garden! Thanks for taking us on the tour, Nikki. I'm particularly enchanted with Isabella, "The Chief Fairy Catcher," and with the stunning 'Gregory Peck.' :-)

Nikki Schmith said...

Katie- thanks for letting me know what food I missed. I usually take pictures of the food and eat heartily (LOL) but I was too busy giggling to eat!

Michael- it was just DARLING!

Beth- if you find some h. 'Gregory Peck', let me know!

BoƤng said...

Thank you for showing Gregory Peck. Just as handsome as the original. Now I am going to want something I can´t get..... ;)


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