Friday, July 21, 2006

Daylily Days

The sun and the deer flies gave up chasing me around the garden about 40 minutes ago and it actually feels good to be able to sit down for a few minutes and not move. Gardening is good fun but tomorrow begins our "Daylily Days". Lots of nurseries in Vermont have little events during the time daylilies are blooming. Here at Vermont Flower Farm we grow over 400 daylilies and have something like half that many for sale now. Gail always has some "buy-this-much-and-get that" program and this year she has several daylilies you can pick from if you make a $15 purchase. One purchase of $15 or greater and you get a daylily of Gail's choice. These are always great daylilies with fine roots. Some will bloom this year, some have already bloomed, all will bloom next year.

I have to be honest about these daylilies. Some are the result of me ordering too many or too few, or getting a mislabeled plant or finding out that the plant tag fairy stole the tags on a whole pile. Gardeners are funny about plants and plant tags. Most gardeners could give a care about a tag and they'll tell you that. If they are looking for a particular plant and you sell it to them, that's the end of the line and they're happy, tagged or taggless.

Some gardeners just have to have the tag. They keep records like a baby book and the tags are like the birth certificate which starts the whole record. At least these folks have a purpose to what they are doing. Then there's the final group like the person who came the other day and spent two hours figuring out that she had bought the hosta 'June" from Home Depot. She bought one of ours for a friend and then actually asked if I would mind if she took another label out of a pot so she could mark her Home Depot purchase correctly.

I will remember this person for quite a while and I will include her in my 'Beloved Country' list. If you don't know me, you don't know that I love America a great deal even on days when some show less respect for themselves and others than I think they should. Hemerocallis 'Beloved Country' is the daylily pictured above. We sold too many and don't have any for sale this year and that will be a problem. It's a strong daylily and a really nice one. It doesn't have any modern day hybridizers special traits but it is one I look for every year. Seeing 'Beloved Country' come into bloom just makes me feel good....and I like the name too!

Another thing that makes me happy is that Gail is making her famous blueberry coffee cake for the first customers who show. Arrive late, no coffee cake because Gail can only make so many of these delights. Now they aren't really famous but when someone you don't remember gets out of their car and asks if you have blueberry cake, it must be close to famous.

Famous can get you in trouble and famous as in Gail's blueberry cake was costly to a gentleman last year. He returned last week asking when the cake would be ready so I guess last years expense has been forgotten. Here's the story. He arrived with his wife on a daylily mission but as soon as Gail pointed out the coffee cake, he sat under the umbrella eating cake as his wife picked daylilies. After a while she was ready to go and she called him to come across with the checkbook. Long and short of it was that she filled the back of the car with her daylilies, emptied his checkbook and reminded him that if he could have been a little easier on the cake and more helpful to her, it would have cost less. I recall a couple minor mumbles and then they waved and smiled as they drove away. I expect they'll be here about 9.

Daylily Days are good days, rain or shine, and we'd like you to join us. If that doesn't work, you can check out what we have to say about our daylilies at
or you can visit another nursery which grows daylilies. Vermont has many fine dayliliy growers and they'll all be happy to teach you what you need to know. I cannot say that they will offer blueberry coffee cake.

From the mountain above Peacham Pond where I'm happy to report seeing 5 monarch butterflies in the mildweed patch today. Some people are bothered by milkweed but to me it's our part of trying to keep a terrific butterfly coming back year after year. When I was in first grade I saw my first one break out of a blackened chrysallis and to this day they remain a treasure--another important 'Beloved Country'.

George Africa

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