Daylilies At Peak

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More daylilies were not needed, that was a certainty.

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This year has been different concerning the daylilies, Hemerocallis ssp., though. There has been regular and abundant rainfall, for one and more importantly, the yearly family beach vacation that usually involves the last half of June has been rescheduled for later in the summer. That means we are at home to enjoy and make note of the Fairegarden peak daylily bloom time. Yippeee!

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Shopping for yet more daylilies, there are already well over one hundred different cultivars growing here, was not on the to do list. (The names and photos for most can be seen by clicking on the side bar list of pages titled Plants We Grow-Daylilies, or click here.) But when sweet offspring Semi wanted to go visit, her third time there, a newly discovered daylily farm out in the country north of Knoxville, Tennessee, I had to go along. Just to look.

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The trip was made to Granny’s Gardens early on a Saturday morning, the place opened at 9 AM. It was still cool and moisty and the sun was shining brightly. Granny herself, Mary Anderson who runs and maintains the farm along with her husband Steve, seen to the left doing some pruning, came over to greet us and give us a lift in the golf cart to the growing fields.

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The flowers were at peak, she told us, with more varieties in bloom at one time than there would be for the rest of the year. They were dazzling! “Just looking” was tossed by the wayside as we were handed small clipboards containing blank invoices and a pencil on which to write down our choices by row number and name. After the final decisions were made, Granny would write each name and row on a plastic grocery bag then go dig the clumps.

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Up and down the rows we went, writing down our favorites. If there was but a single clump in the row, it could not be sold at this time, for she needed it to keep her stock going. All clumps were priced the same, a ridiculously low $4. Extras, those divisions beyond the five or so in each row were for sale for $2 a clump. Tubs of those with missing names and extra seedlings from their own crosses were free for the taking.

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Sitting under the canopy while our selections were dug, Steve explained that the farm had been in his family for nearly one hundred years and had started out as a tobacco allotment back in the 1920s by his grandfather. Granny, his wife Mary was a gardening hobbyist with a love for daylilies and iris, which she sells in the spring. When Steve retired, he told her that there would be no more funds available for buying more daylilies. Mary was ready with the answer that she would make a little business selling her beloved plants to pay for mulch and manure and maybe a few more new cultivars. That is how Granny’s Gardens came to be. It is hard work in the heat of summer, I know. On sales days, Friday and Saturday or by appointment for other days, she spends three hours deadheading the multitudes so the plants look their prettiest for the customers. Pretty they were and the whole farm was meticulously cared for.


Mary and Steve were most delightful, friendly and generous. We talked about legendary local daylily breeders, Hazel and Everett Dougherty, deceased, and about making crosses ourselves, something I experimented with in 2009, the story can be read by clicking here. Above photo taken June 21, 2010 when the babies were planted into the ground in a grid of five rows of three.

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Those seedlings are blooming size now. They are all similar in color, but not exactly the same. Some are taller and more vigorous growers, some are so beautiful it brings tears to my eyes. None can be discarded for they are all my babies!

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It was a most pleasant jaunt and Semi and I each bought several new daylilies which we will share with each other as we have always done over the years. Shown above is Beautiful Edgings from daughter Semi, originally from Champion Daylilies.

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Now, where can these eight newbies be squeezed into an already packed to bursting seams garden?

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My Purchases:

Summer Wind, Victorian Princess, Butterscotch Ruffles, Grand Amazon, Grecian Sands, a Hazel Dougherty unnamed seedling, one of Granny’s seedlings, yellow with faint wine eyes and shown above, Brown Witch.

Granny’s Gardens, owner Mary Anderson, is located at 517 Raccoon Valley Road, Powell, TN 37849, phone (865) 945-2890. Open during daylily season on Fridays and Saturdays. Call for more information. Bring cash.

Frances

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14 Responses to Daylilies At Peak

  1. gail says:

    Oh you lucky gardener! What a treat to see all the day lilies at Granny’s Gardens at their peak. I don’t think I could stop myself from getting a few. Love Brown Witch and think she will add gorgeous genetic stock to any crosses you make! xoxogail

    Thanks Gail. I was thinking about which ones might make good crosses, but where would I put the babies? HA I hope you get to go visit Granny someday when you are around Knoxville. She and her husband are positively charming!
    xoxoxo
    Frances

  2. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    It is dangerous going to a daylily farm especially when you feel the garden is stuffed. Ha.. must bring home a few. I like the names of your newly purchased plants. Especially the “ruffles” . I can see ruffles in my future if I ever come upon them.

    Can’t wait to see posts about your SF trip.

    Hi Lisa, thanks. First off, sadly, I did not attend the fling in San Francisco this year. I enjoyed reading about it on facebook and will read the posts as they are published. Boo hoo! On a happier note, I hope you get you some ruffles!!!
    Frances

  3. Georgiafromgeorgia says:

    Now that is my idea of the the perfect “field” trip. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. I so admire Granny living her dream and creating all that lovliness at the same time. I was late to the party on appreciating daylilies but now see what all the fuss is about. Every time I open your blog, Frances, that list in my purse gets longer. :)

    Hi Georgia, thanks for the kind words. It was such a fun day with my daughter. We both love gardening, thank goodness, so never, ever run out of stuff to talk about or places to go or things to do! If you ever get up to Knoxville, go see Granny. She won’t bust your budget, but bring cash!
    Frances

  4. Oh, dear, you have fed the beast… how did I not know about Granny’s Daylilies? This was actually going to be the year I didn’t buy any new varieties but now that might not be the case. Those are some awesome prices.
    One of my favorites right now is one that was a freebie from 2 years ago at Champion Daylilies. iI was one Keith bred and if you bought some of the named varieties , you could pick from a grouping of free ones. I named it Keith’s Ruffles cause the edges have so much substance and ruffling. I feel lucky to have it. Your “babies” are great looking and it must be quick a tickle to have made successful crossings.

    Hi Michaele, I wondered if you knew, or were related to Granny. Her prices are what drew us to her place. Semi found it on Craigslist. There is no website, no mail order, no advertising. You need to go soon, she said this week is the peak blooming. It is amazing! I have a seedling of Keith’s as well, call it Champion’s seedling in my list. Lots of ruffles, yes. Making your own crosses is easy and fun, you should give it a try.
    Frances

  5. It is so refreshing to hear about someone selling plants at prices that allow her passion to be passed along to so many others! I have a few variety of daylilies but looking at all your beautiful shots makes me want to add more. Thanks for sharing your visit and your gorgeous blooms!

    Hi Karin, thanks for stopping by. These were the nicest folks and the daylilies were fabulous. There were many cultivars that I have seen, and bought for much higher prices. More daylilies is always a good idea, it seems. HA
    Frances

  6. Carol says:

    I know from experience that it is impossible to go to a daylily farm when the daylilies are at peak and not buy any. What foolish talk. I live just a half mile or so from an urban daylily farm and I have learned to limit myself to only spider/unusual farm types to keep myself in check. I know, great discipline on my part. Plus, their daylilies are not $4 each… much higher prices, so that helps me, too. I should try some crosses of my own this summer!

    Just looking, foolish talk indeed, Carol! It was the prices that got us there, and these were the same daylilies offered at other places for much higher cost. You should definitely try the crosses. It is easy, fun and rewarding.
    Frances

  7. pivi says:

    I’ve never seen so many daylilies in one flower bed before ! Marvelous pictures !

    Thanks Pivi. It was quite a sight, well worth the drive!
    Frances

  8. sandy lawrence says:

    Daylilies are a great love of mine, the tall ones, especially. Since I couldn’t be there with my own clipboard and order sheet, this was 2nd best visit wise, but the photos can’t be topped! Thanks.

    Thanks Sandy. The daylilies dominate the mid summer garden here. They do so well, even in drought years, but are quite happy with our rains in 2013. They can be divided, and actually should be about every five years, to fill in gaps or give to friends and relatives. All good!
    Frances

  9. Sounds like a great grower/retailer to visit. I know people who look down on Daylilies because they are easy to grow. How very foolish!

    Hi Jason, thanks for stopping by. Daylilies are the heart and soul of a summer garden. For those with high falutin’ tastes, they can go with the pales colors only. Those show up better in a part shade garden anyway.
    Frances

  10. Semi says:

    Daylilies were in my dreams that night!! Each one so lovely makes it hard to choose! I will be back to Grannys for sure! (there is a little room left in my daylily bed!!) I am so thankful for you and all our wonderful memories. Lots of love semi

    My dear Semi, don’t go back to Granny’s without me!
    xoxoxo
    Frances

  11. Lola says:

    Beautiful. I’m trying to add more lilies to my beds but I need to go for the short ones. Space you know.
    That was a wonderful day that you & Semi had. You had loads of beauties to come home with.

    Hi Lola, thanks. More is better, short or tall when it comes to daylilies and many other flowers. Semi is a treasure and we are lucky to be able to spend quality time together.
    Frances

  12. Rose says:

    So glad you have been home to enjoy your daylilies this year, Frances–I can’t imagine missing out on all these beauties! Beckie and I have visited a local daylily farm a few times in the past couple of years, one of my favorite summer mini-roadtrips. But I wish I lived closer to Knoxville–$4 a clump, what a bargain!! I’d like to go back this summer and add some of the later-blooming daylilies, but I honestly don’t know where I would squeeze them in…though, knowing me, I’ll still come home with some “must-haves” anyway:)

    Hi Rose, thanks so much. Semi has gone back to Granny’s two more times since I wrote this post! She is hooked and the price is right. I have been squeezing more and more daylilies in and it looks better than ever. Of course the rain has helped greatly.
    Frances

  13. Nicole says:

    What a lovely story and experience and those are some lovely day lilies. Boy, I know that I don’t need any more plants only too well! I can’t grow day lilies in my clime but cannas, callas and amaryllis.

    Hi Nicole, thanks for stopping by, nice to see you. There is need and there is want and there is I can’t help it! HA Cannas, callas and amaryllis sound fabulous and colorful.
    Frances

  14. Gorgeous photos…Odd isn’t it, it is the people we discover that are as special, probably more, than the plants we grow and prize.

    Thanks Charlie. You are so right, people and plants are prized here.
    Frances

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