From piecrust edges, different colored throats and variegated petals to the size, smell and shine of each flower, the Stewarts’ hybridized daylily garden is a rainbow field of beauty for visitors to enjoy.
Jimmy and Carol Stewart may be new to the horticultural world, but the broad variety of daylilies proves they must be doing something right.
The Lake Martin Canoochee Daylily Garden will open late this spring after a family friend sold her flowers to the Stewarts over the past two years.
“Mr. Darriel and Mrs. Joann Lane owned and created the Canoochee Daylily Garden, which is a very small community in east central Georgia outside Swainsboro. When Mr. Darriel passed, Mrs. Joann offered for us to buy some of the flowers to start our own garden, and we began making trips to pick them up a little at a time,” said Jimmy Stewart.
Once the flowers were brought back from Georgia, they had to be planted in the ground immediately to prevent any damage. The Stewarts chose to plant the daylilies in raised beds, so they could move through the soil and spread more easily.
“Daylilies don’t need compacted soil, as sandy soil works best, which is what we have on part of this land,” said Stewart.
The Lanes began hybridizing daylilies by combining a male part of the plant and moving it to another, which produces a seed that will grow into a blend of both parents.
“You get a new bloom that is all different. The flowers Mr. Darriel hybridized were usually registered with, but not limited to, unique names beginning with ‘Can’ at the beginning, for Canoochee Daylily Garden,” explained Stewart.
Once seeds are crossed, they will be brand new unnamed plants, called seedlings, which can be registered with the American Hermocalis Daylily Society with the chosen nickname, the breeder and the year it was bred.
“We have the luxury and freedom to walk around this garden, choose two daylilies with characteristics we are looking for and put them together to just see what happens,” said Stewart.
While many of the flowers came from the Lanes, the Stewarts enjoy the unknown of what they could continue to create based on the hybridizing possibilities of the species.
The Stewarts will begin to sell plants this spring or early summer, with prices varying based on details, such as size and variety.
Other defining factors of the various blooms include petal thickness and edging; weight of the veining; number of buds; whether the petals are diamond-dusted, diploid or tetraploid; and many more characteristics that individualize each plant.
The daylily gets its name from the fact that its buds are open only for one day. Some are nocturnal and open at night, lasting through the whole next day, while others open in the morning and close up in the evening, said Stewart.
“Each plant scape can have single or multiple buds. While some varieties bloom early in the season, there are others that will re-bloom later in the summer for continued enjoyment. They will return the next year usually, between May and June, depending on the weather,” Stewart added.
Care of the plants requires providing at least 1 inch of water per week, at least six hours of sun daily and consistent weeding. In the fall, the larger clumps of flowers will be split apart to allow for better growth and to increase production.
The one color no one has created yet through hybridized daylilies is a true blue, although there are some blooms with shades of blue in them. Jimmy and Carol Stewart are up to the challenge of combining efforts to be the first to do so.
The Stewarts are in the process of clearing more area on their land to put up a sign and to create more plots for flowers. The future goal is to begin a plot list, as well as alphabetizing a record of where each plant is located by plot and bed, said Stewart.
“It’s a tremendous learning process, and it will continue to grow; however, it’s been a fun and challenging adventure. We enjoy seeing what it all entails,” said Stewart.
The garden is located at 7150 state Route 63 South in Our Town. Contact Stewart at 256-794-8684 for more information.