Gotta Garden

Monday, October 20, 2008

Garden Education: Lilyhemmer 14

As we watch our daylilies wind down, AHS Region 3 works to keep our daylily enthusiasm up with its 14th annual Lilyhemmer. This year's program was again in Camp Hill, PA, and drew hemheads beyond Region 3 borders.

The speakers' slate included Tommy Maddox, Paul Owen, Bobbie Brooks, Herbie Phelps, Nicole Harry and Dennis Whetzel. Of course, there were raffles, games, an auction and a dinner. You know I'm going to share it from my perspective, so let's get started.

We (DH came, too) arrived shortly before the start on Saturday, October 18th. Officially, Lilyhemmer runs from noon on Saturday to noon on Sunday. However, many eager individuals arrive on Friday and visit on Friday evening, sharing pictures and thoughts. Friday night reservations were in short supply this year, apparently, so take note (for next year) and make your reservation quite early...if you want to stay on Friday night as well.

Anyway, we arrived and I checked us both in with the Lilyhemmer registration table, collecting our name tags, packets and that all important paper plate with your auction bidding number! Inside the packet were lists of auction plants, attendees, a schedule of events and general information. Oh yes...a handy pen and couple of pieces of candy to sweeten the deal were also included.

On Thursday, I had heard form our Regional VP asking if I would take pictures for the regional newsletter. Like I wouldn't have my camera...ha...I was delighted to be asked and I hope the pictures turned out satisfactorily. You'll get to preview some of them here.

After a welcome by Linda Herhold (an old pro at this by now), Tommy Maddox began his presentation. For those of us on the email robin, Tommy is a well known contributor amusing everyone with his jokes and amazing us all with his daylilies. We were treated to both during his presentation here at Lilyhemmer. One of the things I have realized and have come to look forward the simple telling of each speaker's story. By that I mean (everyone has a story) what is their particular version of how/what/why/when they begin their daylily journery...and where it has led them. It's never the same, which is refreshing.

Tommy Maddox and Pearl

Tommy brings a southern perspective that includes year round growing, copious amounts of water, some chemical enhancement and lots of Mississippi charm. He shares his passion for double edges and the fun surprises that come along with that pursuit. The journey through the daylily years has brought him to a place now where he is moving forward continually. He crosses with his newest creations, only occasionally looking back, but pretty much exclusively using his own plants.

Stu Kending continued his unequaled reign as the King of Daylily Games. We scrambled to match daylily puzzle pictures and then guess the scrambed word on the resulting picture.

The completed puzzle/picture

Paul Owen stepped up next, introducing himself to us by taking us back to his PA garden (an American Horticulture Society Display Garden) that gave him immense challenges. He is a plantsman, patenting various plants including phloxes and salvias. The bluestone, the deer and the hard winters, however, urged him to consider moving closer to family. Eventually, he moved his garden (an awesome task) to North Carolina and a welcoming Zone 7. There he established his Slightly Different Nursery. Even with drought challenges, orange clay, and everything involved with moving/relocating, he is now seeing his new dream come to fruition. Paul has a vision and a perspective that he brings to his flowers...and some unforgettable names, e.g., Hotta Pinkie (the story of this name none of us attendees will forget!) and Janattitude (named for a friend battling breast cancer...with great attitude...) sales of which will go to fight cancer. Sometimes, it's the stories behind the daylilies that leave us with lasting impressions.

Paul Owen

Next up was Bobbie Brooks who brought us a northern garden perspective. She won us all over (all gardening enthusiasts, that is) by telling us that when people ask her to talk about herself, she answers, "Come and see my garden. That will tell you everything you need to know about me." Obviously, we couldn't all go see her MA garden, so she brought it to us. A talented landscaper (pictures of her garden appear in the book Gardens of New England), she focused our eyes on the overall picture. Using her own garden and gardens that she has designed for others (some incredible estates on Cape Ann), we observed her design maxims in action. Simply stunning. Some of her tips on designing gardens were to think about plant combinations (bulbs, garden themes, colors...similar, accent, contrast..., background and groupings), as well as structure (trees, shrubs, perennials and annuals), texture (spikey, moundy, ferny), composition (proportion/artistry) and not to forget soil preparation. Oh yes, she, too, is daylily smitten. Her introductions were not as numerous as others, but nonetheless as compelling. (I speak to truth...I bid on and won one in the auction!) I'd call her a More Than Daylilies Speaker.

Bobbie Brooks

Bobbie receives her Lilyhemmer shirt. Gotta have one of those!

Silent Auction Plants....with a special one....donated by Tim Herrington to honor Katisue Herrington who made her last public daylily speaking appearance at Lilyhemmer 13.

Attendees then left to attend the regional meeting (yes, there actually is one) or to rest before dinner. Returning for the 7:00 pm start of dinner, we all found seats and filled our stomachs.

Dessert, anyone?

Did I mention the hat contest? Can you guess this one? Of course, you can!

Around 8:00 pm, Kevin Walek, the AHS president and auctioneer-extraordinaire, began the auction. The bidding was heavy and yours truly did not win several I had my eye on :( That meant that I felt the need to stay until the bitter end (something I have never done before...I usually pick out what I want, obtain it, pay for it and leave). I did leave with three, so don't feel sorry for me. I won one of Bobbie Brooks' (as I mentioned), SUGAR PLUM JAM, one of Stu Kendig's (having won two of his in previous years at Lilyhemmer....great performers...I thought it was time to return the favor and actually purchase one), PIRATE CODE, and a Nan Wilkerson plant, SWEET CHILD OF MINE, . All plants are donated to offset the costs of this event and to benefit Region 3. All of the speakers made donations, both to the auction and to the Amish Raffle.

Just a very few of the auction plants awaiting bids...

Amish Raffle Plants

So, after a late night (for me), I retired and looked forward to starting it all over early Sunday morning. Unfortunately, my ability to rise early on my own let me down and...shhhhhhh....I was a tad late to the first speaker on Sunday. Herbie Phelps was underway when I slid into a seat in the back. Yet another interesting person, it seems Herbie was an athlete and loved (loves) competing. The competition led him to hybridizing daylilies where he competes constantly...with himself, always working toward a better and more beautiful daylily. He's had quite a bit of success, clearly, introducing a number of beauties including a favorite, Ashton's Giggles. Ashton is his adorable grandson and a future hybridizer, no doubt.

Herbie Phelps

Herbie gets "shirted"....

Herbie Phelps also talked with us about his friendship with the legendary Larry Grace. Larry gave him a valuable piece of advice some years ago, telling him "You wouldn't breed Secretariat to a mule and expect to get a winner." This advice hit home with the Kentuckian and with all of us as well.

Next up was Nicole Harry, a new Florida hybridizer. She has moved her daylilies to a seven acre piece of property approximately two years ago and is in the process of building her nursery. The daughter of avid plant lovers, she has not known a life without flowers. In Florida, you can see daylilies bloom from seed within one year and she admitted that worked with her need for instant gratification. Using primarily the latest and greatest, as well as some Gaskin seedlings, she is releasing and creating beautiful daylilies.

Nicole Harry

The final speaker was Dennis Whetzel, Curator of Historic Plants at Monticello. It's hard to be in that final spot, I think, but this was talk well worth waiting for. We daylily folk like other garden plants and we especially enjoy learning from others. His topic was historic roses and it was covered wonderfully. Beautiful slides were woven in artfully with his talk. They illustrated his points and we were taken on a tour through the different historic roses (even learned how/why they are categorized as historic roses). This was one of the most complete talks I have attended. Dennis even brought a cutting from the musk rose that we passed around and inhaled the incredible fragrance. That's what a rose should smell like! This same cutting he cleverly used (prior to passing around) to demonstrate rose propagation. In addition, he had brought seeds from lilium formosanum to share with all of us...a bit of Thomas Jefferson's garden we could all take home and grow.

Dennis Whetzel

The final 'shirting'...note the plant in the front...part of the rose propagation demonstration...we can do it!

Thanks to all the speakers....we enjoyed your presentations very much! We all enjoyed them!

Lilyhemmer attendees are a diverse group....

If you didn't make it this year....why not??

Ahem...if anyone found a green sweater that zips up the front....well, guess who left it! Me! (The hotel doesn't have it...boohoo)


Rosemary said...

how interesting this conference must have been

hemehostaholic said...

Love your blog- fyi I believe the final photo is Lily, Cynthia Marriott's aptly named Shih-Tzu.

Gotta Garden said...

Thanks for the comments! Appreciate them. The cutie belongs to Tom and Irene Case.

mothernaturesgarden said...

It is always fun when gardeners get together...especially daylily enthusiasts.

Anonymous said...

Excellent review and pictures. I urge all to attend this annual function. Sorry I had to miss this one. First time in 10 years. Mother's 80th b-day celebration took precedence. Kathy in PA

henry said...

I had been one of the earliest to register for this year's Lilyhemmer but had to cancel due to a conflict with my 50th high school reunion on the same weekend. At the reunion we enjoyed a surf and turf dinner, open bar, wine with dinner, and reuning with classmates not having been seen in fifty to sixty years.
Hopefully will be a Lilyhemmer next year, d.v.

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