Passionate about daylilies…
Hello, my name is Cassie and I’m delighted to welcome you to what I envisage as an ongoing series of informative and, hopefully, entertaining blogs. As gardeners we all have our little obsessions; sometimes not so ‘little’! This first blog is about how I came by mine. It’s the story of how a dedicated and passionate plantswoman happened to fall head over heels in love with the humble yet glorious Daylily, aka the Hemerocallis.
A particular thrill of mine as a gardener has always been to stumble almost by chance upon some obscure nursery in the very back of beyond. Perhaps you’ve had the same experience; the unadulterated rush of discovering a rare or special plant tucked away in some half-forgotten corner of a nursery that until today you had never even heard of…
And so it was that many years ago I found myself on the hunt in deepest rural Suffolk. I had sourced a fairly small nursery, and gone there out of the usual plantswoman’s curiosity, but with no particular expectation. How was I to know that this would mark the beginning of what I now know to be a lifetime’s addiction to the unassuming cultivars I found there. Yes: love at first sight does indeed exist, especially for gardeners! Somewhere in the depths of a polytunnel, almost forgotten and taking up what the nursery owner regarded as space that could be put to far better use, was a collection of potbound and somewhat overlooked Daylilies. The owner had inherited them from Pauline Henry, the woman famed for hybridising Siloam Daylilies.
Now, ever since that day I have been amazed when even experienced gardeners speak about Daylilies and say something along the lines of: ‘Oh yes, I have the orange one’. I was no different on that first day; naively assuming that Hemerocallis came in only a handful of colours. So how intrigued was I to be informed that actually there were over 60,000 Daylily hybrids now in cultivation, with more being lovingly created all the time. Actually, ‘intrigued’ just doesn’t convey what happened to me that day in Suffolk. It was as if a flashbulb had suddenly gone off inside my head.
These daylilies were emphatically not just orange or yellow; instead they were dainty, elegant, diverse, appearing in subtle creams and pinks, or else in vibrant purples and reds.
Some were delicate and exquisite, others almost regal with fabulously contrasting eyezones. I
was hooked. The woman who owned the nursery wasn’t. Her passion was for hostas, and these Daylilies were simply in her way. I dug deep in my pockets and liberated as many as I could afford.
And that’s how it all began. Since then my love of the Daylily has increased in perfect synchrony with my knowledge about them. As I’ve said, there are over 60,000 hybrids in existence, in almost every size and colour imaginable. I wanted to see, grow and yes, own, all of them. A little ambitious I’ll admit, but even so, this Daylily passion has so far taken me all over the globe; I have been privileged enough to meet some of the most influential Daylily hybridisers in Europe and the USA. And now of course I have even launched my own Daylily mail order company. Yes, I’m on a mission. I want to spread the joy and diversity of the humble Hemerocallis to every gardener. To my mind they bring effortless beauty to any summer border, and all gardens should be graced with them!
Watch this space for how my mission is going, and of course for more information on all things Daylily-related!