Thursday, August 30, 2012
9:51 AM 2012 national convention, AHS, collecting daylilies, day lily, daylily, daylily blog, daylily haiku, garden tour 2 comments
Near six weeks later, I am still really enjoying my pics from the 2012 AHS National Convention. My season was near dried up when I left for Columbus, so these are really the last great daylilies I saw before we put the 2012 daylily season in the history books. The seventh garden we visited was the five-acre home garden of Donna Kowalczyk, coolly named "Deep Ditch Gardens."
First of all, this is Donna's front porch. How yummy is this?! Perfect white pillars, perfect deck rail boxes and perfect hummingbirds fluttering all about it... I love the darker foliage accents in the front planting. Its echoed in the deckrail boxes, which brings the eye up and extends the garden "backside."
It is no secret that daylily people can eat, and will eat you alive if your refreshments aren't up to expectations. Over the years, I have collected quite a sampling of photos of food tables at garden homes.
Donna had a great selection of healthy, fresh, fun snacks to eat, and a the most awesome congregating area in which to enjoy the refreshments. Here is Nan Ripley enjoying the great skewers. Skewers are the best garden food implement there is! Maybe Ill try to find a cookbook or website dedicated to cold skewer appetizers for my own garden parties next summer.
Here is Donna, the second red shirt from the left in the picture below. She is hanging out in the snack area, among the macaws, loving cats, children, neat seating solutions and the most delicious beverage served on the National Tour. (See that punch bowl in the back of this photo below? That's it! It was a coffee-chocolate-ice cream-mocha-whipped cream concoction that required its own security guard!)
One of the best parts of this visit were the vignettes of places to enjoy the space. Here is one of the most ingenious seating ideas I have ever seen. Bales of hay, covered with a bit of muslin, tied with jute. Adorable, functional and fun. I am so stealing this idea. You could have seating for 12 for less than $50 at your next bonfire...
Like in most daylily gardens, there was an area of "all blue" where Donna had artfully placed several brightly colored accents in another great seating spot. This small bottle tree caught my interest and may be just the size I need for one of my own. I love the idea of the blue bottle tree, whose origins are apparently rooted in warding off negative energy in the garden. I just cant seem to find a version for me that fits my style. This one was "just enough."
Here is a great article on these from Felder Rushing if you are interested in why in the world we might have started adding these things to our gardens anyway... You can click here for a Google Image search on blue bottle trees. Get your eyes ready for some serious visual overload and inspiration! Don't click there unless you are prepared to spend about 30 minutes drooling.
But I digress. Of course there were daylilies at Donna's, too! She grows about 1000 cultivars, and I especially enjoyed H. 'Marietta Dazzler' with its tiny petal connections in the throat. Notice where the petal segments attach together in the throat. That tight little yellow throat sets off the dark self well. Not a highly decorated daylily, but one that has sass. Donna also had a neat collection of diverse bird houses on posts dotted all over. I enjoyed this arrangement on the side of her house.
H. 'Nowhere to Hide' was here, mocking me as usual. This daylily has escaped my grasp for years. I have tried to buy it many times, and it is always sold out. I did get it once, but when my auction purchase arrived it was a tiny pencil of a fan and it didn't survive. FINALLY I have it on the way from a grower in my area who knows what she is doing, so I hope to have it once and for all. This one does crazy things on the show table, the indoor lighting really sets off the veining and puts on an unmistakable show. I cant wait to show this one!
Much like the Hensley and Lucius gardens, I just plain had fun here. I meandered a lot, which is what I expect Donna wanted us to do. Long, shady paths beckoned to be discovered, and they seemed to go on forever. Long, first-time conversations were had here, too. I got to chat for the first time with Paulette Miller, who is a super interesting lady with a cool vibe.
I also spent time chatting with the bird handler, a few folks who didn't know much about the Stout Medal voting process, and I also spent time alone, enjoying the pond, waterfall, gazebo, the miniature fairy gardens, the Curt Hanson bed, and surprising pieces of art stashed all around the garden. I shared the story of the grossest moment in my life (I'm not sure WHY) with two folks who won't forget the tale, and I laughed hysterically with old friends who are always in my gardening thoughts, even when we are not together.
In this garden, as visitors we were connected and distant. There was enough room for us to spread out and enjoy it in our own way, and in the same breath, Donna created spaces where we congregated together over stuff "to do." If you are ever on a garden tour, I would suggest something for your visitors "to do." We swung in hammocks, ate good food, held a huge parrot and enjoyed a well-thought out daylily collection.
It was a grand visit to Deep Ditch, and it was great to finally see where Donna does her thing. I was inspired when I left it, and that is the ultimate indicator of a good visit to another's garden. I wrote this haiku as our buses pulled away from Deep Ditch that day...
taking time to look
at green spaces of others
inspires me deeply!
Thanks for the inspiration, Donna!!
Thursday, August 2, 2012
4:04 PM 2012 national convention, AHS, awards, daylily haiku, daylily photography, garden tour, region 2 1 comment
Each year, Region 2 hybridizers send seedlings to specified gardens to compete for the prestigious Englerth Award. The seedlings are grown in a Region 2 Tour Garden, and visitors to the garden during the meeting can vote on which seedling they believe to be the most worthy of the award.
This year Region 2 hosted the AHS National Convention, so we were blessed to give all 600 attendees to this meeting the chance to vote on our regional seedlings! The bed was hosted by MarLee Farms and boasted over 55 entries!
Since 1987, Region 2 hybridizers have competed for the Englerth Award for Hybridizing Excellence. The purpose of this award is to encourage and promote Region 2 hybridizers. The award is named in memory of Lawrence and Winifred Englerth of Hopkins, MI. Winifred was known for introducing daylilies with high bud count such as 'Mini Minx', 'Skippy Skeezix' and 'Pinkie Pinkerton'.
Everyone took their vote seriously and I took the time to eavesdrop on some of the conversations. Below are David Hoffmann of Missouri and Joel Park of Michigan (two cool dudes!) discussing the merits of some of the seedlings.
The seedlings in this bed were laid out with care, and even though we are experiencing record drought and temperatures, many were blooming wonderfully. The convention tour-goers spent most of their visit to this garden evaluating what they saw, and making a choice for the winner.
Even though some (most) of the entries had already bloomed out, voters even took the time to evaluate the spent scapes of the clumps that were not showing any bloom!
The award medallions have been donated by John and Geraldine Couturier, who now reside in Region 10. Each medallion is engraved with the winner's name and at the Saturday Night AHS Awards and Honors Banquet, I was pleased to announce this year's winner- Steve Williams of the Metropolitan Columbus Daylily Society and O'Bannon Springs Daylilies!
His winning seedling is the one featured in the opening photo of this post, and also seen below, in this gorgeous photo from my friend Susan Okrasinski.
On our tour day, this clump must have had 25 blooms open. I especially enjoyed the reverse of the flower and the abundance of blooms. We were there in the heat of the day, after a rain, and as you can see from the photo (taken by someone on my bus), it did not melt or slick in the rain.
Here are the second and third place winners, a double from Dottie Warrell (seedling 7WPCD) and another beauty from Steve Williams (seedling 813.1076)!
This double had a few blooms open, they were all double and the branching was very nice. The scapes held up the large blooms and I thought the colors were nice and saturated.
The eye brought some distinction I enjoyed. This double is a daylily I would spend money to own...I hope Dottie decides to register it and offer it for sale.
The third place daylily was (in my own words) a tall, stippled, reverse bitone. It towered over some of its neighbors and was very photogenic. This one was also entered by the winner of this years competition, Steve Williams.
These three were my top three as well. I actually had some entries in this seedling bed (they had already all bloomed out and I was bummed) but the spent scapes looked good and I heard some nice discussion about the foliage condition despite the weather. This was the first year I entered this competition, and will certainly do so again.
I encourage any hybridizer in region 2 to send a few fans (the more the better) to the 2013 and 2014 Englerth beds. In 2013, the bed will be hosted by Gail Braunstein from Ohio and in 2014 it will be hosted by Mark Jankowski from Wisconsin.
You could go to your seedling beds right now and ship several fans to these two hosts. The more fans, the better. In order to win, you want more fans to increase your chance to have it blooming on tour day. You also might not pick those seedlings which bloom early. They might be bloomed out by tour time.
Here are the addresses of who to ship your seedlings to if you choose to enter this competition for the next two years:
Gail and Dick Braunstein
3010 McIntire Road
Morrow, Ohio 45152
4297 Deprey Road
Abrams, Wisconsin 54101
Congratualtions again to Steve Williams of O'Bannon Springs Daylilies on his win! I know he has been a contender in past years, too. I hope to make it to his garden someday to see what is going on in person. Many people visited after the recent National Convention and I hope they enjoyed the visit!
BONUS: My brain is finally free of summer's grasp to flow a haiku. Welcome back to Daylily Haiku Thursday, friends. Thanks for three years of creating 5-7-5 prose about our favorite flower...
dark as cold midnight,
in the unrelenting sun.
not melting. stunning!
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
10:42 AM 2012 national convention, AHS, collecting daylilies, color inspiration, day lily, daylily, daylily blog, daylily expert, daylily meeting, daylily photography, garden tour, humorous stories 2 comments
Below is Bryan Culver's H. 'Spirit Zone.' I have heard the praises of this one for a while, and seen lots of pictures of it, but never saw it performing in a garden. Well. It was worth the wait. This Canadian-born daylily was in grand form this day.
I love the picture below. Follow the green snake of foliage in from the left and let your eye see how far back the daylilies go...
The backbone of this garden -the 60-foot long pergola seen above on the right, was built by Charles and punctuates the center of a garden with grace and place. These are two shots from around the pergola.
I love the design flow of the shot on the left...
The drought was the antagonist of the otherwise lush convention. We know that through challenges, we find strength and inspiration. I think one of the best ways to inspire others is to be vulnerable.
Be willing to show your shortcomings as well as your great successes, so that others can relate. This garden showed me a great vulnerability to the elements, giving way to the strength and will of its owners. I felt at home and welcomed. I was overwhelmed with gratitude that these garden owners gave so much so we could enjoy their green universe. Look at the wide shots below of the landscape - notice the foliage on the daylilies, the full blooms of shastas - these plants were hand-watered for weeks prior to the convention. Seven acres, folks - hand-watered with buckets for days on end in blistering heat. For us.
The horse in the background of the shot above was a surprise! It is metal, beautifully aged, and I am sure there is quite a story behind its presence, but I was so busy enjoying other features, I didn't get a chance to ask about it.
Here is a closer view of that bed above. Again, notice the background. Now picture yourself carrying water over there to keep it that green. Amazing. Amazing. Amazing. Every clump was a superstar.
I saw this feather grass (in the photo on the left below) in many gardens, and I plan to hunt down a few pots this fall to add to the foundational front-yard landscaping. I think a mass planting of these would be very cool.
That is H. 'Erin Lea' on the right. A nice shot of a 1992 daylily with interesting potential.
I sat for a while at the farthest point of the garden, here in this gazebo- enjoying the view over the sales gardens and toward house and the main garden. We rested in the shade, sometimes in silence and sometimes in laughter, and took it all in.
It was a heavily-anticipated, long, hot, overwhelming day. My eyes were about at maximum capacity for daylily intake. My belly was still full from the most amazing lunch at Der Dutchman. (get there, now.)
I started to wonder toward the house, investigate the snacks, and prepare to head back to the hotel. We walked slowly, taking note of some sales garden things to add to my collection.
And then I found the pool.
And sat down.
And then people started to join me.
Don Lovell and Nan Ripley from Iowa joined me for some fun.
Well, before I knew it, Charles and Cynthia were hosting a toe-dipping party.
It will be one of my most cherished convention moments ever.
Some didn't approve of our behavior. Some even mentioned to me that it might not have been good garden etiquette to sit and enjoy a short splash.
Bless their hearts. I hope its not too late for those folks to loosen up and ENJOY THE MOMENT. Right now!
People were laughing and joking and splashing and talking and meeting new friends. They were relaxing and enjoying the hospitality of a garden, surrounded by daylilies, feeling closer to those who share a passion for gardening. When else am I going to be sitting on a pool deck with Vicki from South Dakota, who I know electronically but see once a year? When else am I going to get some private chatting time with Don Lovell from Iowa, hybridizer of H. 'Hawkeye Fringe'? When else is Judie Branson from Arkansas going to roll up her shorts and take a seat on the edge of the pool next to me? Probably every time, but then again - maybe never. We are losing too many of our daylily friends to heaven to pass up times like this. And that makes it totally appropriate to ENJOY THE MOMENT.
I imagine that once they got over the initial shock of their garden guests enjoying their pool instead of their pathways, Charles and Cynthia would have taken a seat and joined the lively conversation. The Lucius' daughter Arielle thought our impromptu pool party was hilarious. So did I. And so did the 30 other folks who felt comfortable enough in their moment to let it go.
So, was it appropriate garden etiquette to sit a spell? In my book, absolutely.
When people come to my garden, I want them to soak it all up. "Make yourself at home!" we say. And we mean it. I think Charles and Cynthia do, too.
I enjoyed every part of my visit to Amity Abloom.
I enjoyed the daylily-shaped chocolate mints, the hummingbird cookies, the crafts and art everywhere, and I especially enjoyed the bronze angel, imported to their garden from The Big Easy. She is magical.
I enjoyed their swings, benches, birdhouses, rocking chairs and spotless pathways dotted with countless points of interest. I enjoyed seeing Dan Bachman swamped by paparazzi while posing next to a clump of his H. 'BJ McMillan.'
I also just happened to have enjoyed my friends on their pool deck, too.
We are alive in those moments when are hearts are aware of the gifts around us. We were certainly alive in your gardens, Charles and Cynthia! Thank you for making us feel at home.
Thursday, June 28, 2012
11:52 AM collecting daylilies, color inspiration, day lily, daylily, daylily blog, daylily expert, daylily haiku, daylily photography, daylily specialist, designing with the daylily, garden tour 4 comments
Signs that peak bloom season is here:
1. I fill at least three grocery bags with spent blooms each night.
2. I have lost track of what has bloomed and what has not.
3. Although most daylilies are not fragrant, when you get 300 of them exploding with bloom in close proximity, the scent is heavenly.
4. H. 'Raspberry Goosebumps' has at least 15 open blooms per day. EVERY DAY. (seen in foreground of the above photo...and it does this for at least three weeks!)
5. My hands are stained from deadheading and I don't bother to scrub them totally clean each day - in 12 hours they will be purple again, anyway.
6. The batteries in my headlamp are dead from overuse. (Don't ask.)
7. My camera lens is treated to lots of "twinning" pictures.
H. 'Carolina Pink Pinwheel' (Gene Tanner, Browns Ferry Gardens)
A couple years ago I complained about the "automatic" $100 price tag on new introductions. I expressed my opinion that the $100 should not be a given if hybridizers expected the larger daylily community to embrace their efforts more quickly. That year, unrelated to my rant, Gene Tanner offered several of his new introductions for below $100 and I ordered H. 'Carolina Pink Pinwheel.' I am so glad I did. 4-way branching on something that was divided and replanted late last fall is a good thing! It has an amazing show scape. I'll overlook the occasionally moddled sepals for that clear bubble-gum pink and large flower that does not hang up when opening.
Here are a few others worth drooling over today...
H. 'Curtis Montgomery' (Mort Morss, Daylily World)
H. 'Hippie Crash Pad' (Tim Tassin, DaybyDaylilies)
H. 'Megs Pick' (Joe Goudeau, Daylilies, Etc.)
H. 'Pictoee Magic' (Martin Kamensky, Michigan)
Although many have noted that this is their worst daylily season ever (due to weather, drought, etc) I must sheepishly say that it has been my best. Once this bloom is over, it is back to garden construction season for me...building a second, massive mixed perennial bed. I am also in talks with a local landscape architect on the plans for our front foundation gardens. Let's just say there will be boulders. Lots of big, Illinois-farmed boulders. More on that this fall...
I'm off to Kansas City this weekend to take in the Region 11 Garden Tours and Summer Meeting. The tour will take me to places of the US where I have not seen daylilies grow in person before, so I am excited to see how they "do daylilies" on the plains - even if it will reach 100 degrees on tour day. I have packed my large white umbrella and plan to use it a lot!
Have a wonderful day, even without this weeks Daylily Haiku Thursday. I'm still giving my brain a break from creating haiku during bloom season. In the meantime, write your own inspired haiku. Simply make the first line five syllables, the second seven and the third five. Let's hear some creativity inspired by daylilies blooming today!