A Little Bit of Faith’s

yard 3It’s time. The daylilies are blooming in my yard so I know that they are also blooming over in Faith’s garden. I know because, other than the regular orange “ditch” lilies and a single “Stella D’Oro”, almost all of the daylilies in my yard came from Faith’s.  (Okay, I will allow that the more common orange daylilies are probably Tawny Daylilies and not really called “ditch” lilies even though the best place to see them is probably in the ditches along the highway.)

Who is Faith? She is simply the daylily lady as far as we are concerned.  Faith is a daylily grower and collector….the absolute best.  Her garden is a show garden for the American Hemerocallis Society. She does not hybridize them to create new specimens but she does grow quite a few.  I’ve heard she has about 1300 – yes, that is 1300 – growing in her yard.  Every year, she opens her garden to the public and shares its beauty with the rest of us.  While daylilies are the stars of the show, her garden also includes a delightful array of perennials including everything from hostas to clematis to ferns.  It is the place to see daylilies in Anne Arundel County.

yard 4We’ve been going to see this beautiful garden since 2006. The first year I saw an ad in the local paper and went out of curiosity to just check it out.  Heraclitus (an ancient Greek guy) said, “No man ever steps in the same river twice.”   Likewise, Faith’s garden is different every year and not just because the flowers bloom in ever changing combinations.  Like all gardeners, Faith is constantly changing and improving on the garden so that the place is never the same twice.  I do not think I shall ever grow tired of seeing what she’s got growing or going on in any given year.  So every year we go. So far, I have not been disappointed.

yard 1That first year, I ended up buying eight (8) daylilies of my own.  I have amassed quite a collection of daylilies over the years.  Although I promise myself and my husband every year that I will not buy even a single additional daylily ever again, I have not held to that promise – ever.  I have learned to just shrug and say, “I can’t make any promises” when he asks me about buying more daylilies or any plant for that matter.  And so, my flower beds are gradually being filled with daylilies from Faith’s Open Garden.

pondI do have to be clear though that all of the daylilies I have purchased at Faith’s do not actually come from Faith’s garden. The Hemerocallis Society sets up each year and sells daylilies. If you want a daylily specifically from Faith’s garden, you need to identify the particular plant and add your name to a list. When Faith divides the daylilies later in the year, she will call you and arrange for your purchase at that time…if she is dividing and selling the particular cultivar that you want that year.

buyingNow, I have to say, buying daylilies can be expensive. At least the rare cultivars can be expensive. Most on sale at the open garden are very economical at about $8 per “fan”.  I do recall being on the waiting list for several years in a row for a daylily called “Ram” that I had fallen in love with that first year we visited the open garden.  Well, Faith finally emailed me with the particulars (i.e., price) for “Ram” and several others I had asked about.  The price for “Ram” was steep (for me) – maybe $35. I found that I didn’t love it that much although, in retrospect, it is the daylily I didn’t buy that I always wondered if I should have.  On the other hand, I did find a couple others on my list that went for about $15 that I liked just fine.   (Of course, once they are in the garden, they are all the same. It is difficult to remember their names let alone what you paid for them.)

groupshot2Let me stop here briefly and give a plug for the American Hemerocallis Society database. When I buy the plants, I have a tendency not to mark them and, so I tend to forget the names and what is planted where.  The best place to search for daylilies is the database on the American Hemerocallis Society website.  It’s easy to use and has all the information you might need on daylilies.  Nuff said on that.

Now back to my expensive daylily tastes, last year I spotted a beautiful cultivar called Rose F. Kennedy so I asked about it. It goes for about $85. I didn’t even bother to put my name on the list for that one – it was just a little too expensive for me.  But, all was not lost, as you can probably guess; I found a daylily with similar colors and a more reasonable price (for me) and brought it home. Of course, it is not exactly like “Rose F. Kennedy” but it works for me and it is very beautiful too in its own right.

celestialThis year, my favorite was a beauty called “Celestial Empire”. The price is about $49. Again, I did not put my name on the list for it but I am thinking I will email Faith and ask her to add me to the list in case she divides it in the next few years.  I keep going back and forth about the price.  I think maybe this is what separates me from the collectors and growers like Faith. I love daylilies but am not ready and maybe never will be ready to take the next step and become a more avid collector.

ruby spiderBut, even if you do not collect them or you never join the Hemerocallis Society, it is hard not to love daylilies. They are easy to grow, can take lots of abuse like full sun and heat, and they multiply very nicely so you can divide them and share them with friends when your garden gets full. One in particular comes to mind called “Ruby Spider”. We bought it several years ago in memory of a family member named Ruby who died of breast cancer.  It has thrived and blooms magnificently every year.   Our neighbor (who we hooked into going to Faith’s with us a few years ago and who now has his own burgeoning daylily collection) admired “Ruby Spider” from across the fence. Last year, I divided it and he now has his own beautiful “Ruby Spider”.  All the daylilies we have purchased are doing very well and I expect that several of my other friends will reap the benefit over the next few years.

After all, why garden at all if you cannot share with your gardening buddies and friends?

stashFor more information – Faith’s Open Garden. This link is an article from the local newspaper about the garden written in 2012.  Each year, the date is announced locally, and is generally in the last weeks of June or the first week of July when the daylilies are blooming.





Planning Something Big in the Garden

Big Pots 1It started at Keukenhof Gardens near Amsterdam. The slightest germ of an idea, a tiny seed floating around in the corners of my brain looking for a place to settle in and start to grow. We were enjoying a lovely trip to the Netherlands but they had experienced a cold winter that lasted into the spring so the tulips outside were not doing so good. But inside the pavilions at the Keukenhof, the blooms were amazing – just thousands of tulips and spring flowers everywhere. But the things that caught my attention and held on tight were the potted plants. There were hundreds of pots – pots of all sizes and I found myself thinking that I needed more pots in my flower beds at home.  And it was the big pots that I was liking….big, big pots filled with things……not just bulbs and small plants like geraniums or begonias…big things like lilacs. Lilacs in pots….wouldn’t that be nice?


Lilacs in boxes

Now, I’ve done some experimenting with pots in the garden and have been in the process over the past couple years of raising many plants up from their ground-growing spots and putting them into pots. That started a few years ago when we added the sunroom on to the house.  We had a wonderful Hosta called “Sum and Substance” that was huge and beautiful but right in the way. There was no way it could stay in the ground while contractors were tromping all over the place and digging a foundation and pouring cement but it was in a lovely spot and I knew we’d want to put it back into that spot after all was said and done.  So we put it temporarily into a half-barrel just to get through the building process that would probably include the winter. I fretted over that hosta going through the winter in the pot but I needn’t have worried. It didn’t just survive in the half-barrel, it thrived….so much so that when it came time to put it back into the ground, we didn’t. We just left it in the barrel and placed it right outside the window in its designated plot of ground. It has been there ever since and loving life in its little half-barrel home.

hostaYou guessed it. When that worked, my thoughts fell to other hostas and maybe they’d do well in pots too. So over time the hosta bed down the side of the house is gradually becoming filled with potted hostas. I think of it as the “hostas in potsas” bed and it works (definitely a blog for another day). The hostas love being in the pots. They are easy to move when necessary and easy to feed and water. As I get older, I find that gardening in pots is much easier on the joints – you just do not have to bend over as far to weed out a pot.  Watering can be an issue but since it is primarily a shade garden, watering is not such a difficult chore.  But, other than Sum & Substance, most of my hostas are small plants like those tulip bulbs in Holland.  Big plants like shrubs might be something else entirely.

Pots to tryBut the big pot idea stayed with me and I knew just the spot in the yard that could use a couple big pots to lighten up the corner in summer and provide a little structure in winter….add a couple new “bones” to the garden as it were.  So I started looking around for big pots…..and I was thinking BIG pots. But who knew that BIG pots would be so difficult to find? And so very expensive when I did find some? There’s always the Williamsburg Pottery but I haven’t been there in years and it’s something like three hours away so not exactly convenient.  I hoped there would be a big local market for big pots since every building in/around town seems to have those ginormous pots out front planted with flowers to look like they were just interested in making the sidewalk more beautiful when actually the intent was to block the doors of the building and keep people with car bombs from driving right through those big ole glass doors. But I guess regular buyers with smaller suburban gardens and fewer security problems do not really need BIG pots. Most of the pots I found were big but not so big….big enough for a good sized hosta but not quite big enough for a tree…well, not a large tree like an oak at any rate.  But a large but not so large pot would probably do so I scaled my BIG pot idea down to a more reasonable and manageable size. But I was not going to give up entirely so I went out looking for the biggest and nicest pot that I could afford.

Did I mention that I wanted a colorful pot? After all, it would need to have a little something going for it during the dog days of summer when everything in the garden looks a bit bedraggled and faded out in the heat. Plus having a little color will provide a little “pop” in the garden during winter when everything is muffled in grey and white. Now I was thinking purple or lime green or maybe candy apple red but that might be way too much in this neighborhood even though it would fade out after a year or so. So the colors had to be right. It took a while but I finally found a couple pots – green and turquoise – bright but not too bright – good color but not too much…..not BIG but relatively big and they would fit the corner quite nicely. Perfect.

s jasminew jasmineNow for that corner.  Originally, two types of Jasmine (winter yellow and summer white) had been growing on the fence in that corner but a nasty storm a couple years ago (remember that derecho weather?) had taken a wild cherry tree down in the yard and it carried a portion of the fence along with it. The fence was old so there was nothing to do but replace the whole thing. And that meant the jasmine (winter and summer) had to come down.  The jasmine was not great on climbing so had never really adapted to the new fence on its own so it grew all over the place and badly needed some attention.

before 2The corner by the fence needed sprucing up so we took all the jasmine out and put it in another part of the yard where it could sprawl all over the place.

HibiscusNow for the pots.  We already had a Lilac that was the right size for a pot. I had purchased it some years ago and planted it in the back yard. Unfortunately, the spot turned out to be just a little too shady so the lilac never bloomed. I had thought about moving it but the right spot did not present itself until now. So one salvaged lilac went into one pot. Maybe it’ll do well and, then again, maybe not – we will see. For the other pot, I had several ideas but settled on a Hardy Hibiscus. It would solve a few problems with containment for the hibiscus so was well worth giving it a try. So a pretty pink hardy hibiscus went right into the other pot.  I used cinder blocks to keep the pots off the ground and to set the pots at different heights to give a little extra interest. A little pine bark mulch around the bottom and we’re done. The corner is spruced up with a couple good-sized pots even if they are not BIG pots and they should look lovely year round.


I love it when a plan comes together. Now what else can we do?

shoe garden