By Blair Thomas
It began as the couple’s hobby, something to keep them busy a few months of the year. But when Karen’s first 350 daylilies needed dividing, she began trading her flowers for dump truck loads of topsoil. Soon, the pair had drilled a well to help keep their garden watered during the dry summer months and had purchased a Bobcat so more flower beds could be built. Today, it’s a full-time job.
In addition to growing and selling their flowers, Delano Daylilies is in its 11th year as an American Hemerocallis Society Display Garden. This means the garden must keep track of its annual visitors – about 1,200 to 1,500 of them come through the Newman’s garden annually – as well as work to educate garden visitors about the perennial blooms, serve other gardeners with problems and questions, and remain active in local daylily clubs.
The garden is also required to grow a wide range of daylilies. Currently, the Newman’s grow 1,400 varieties. And while that may sound like a lot, some 75,000 different daylily varieties are registered with AHS.
Delano Daylilies also serves as a U.S. Southern test garden for Avalonia Daylilies. This Canadian garden hybridizes and grows daylilies and registers new varieties with AHS. But before they can register and sell the flowers, they have to see how the plants will grow farther south. So the Newman’s accept Avalonia’s future introductions and grow them for a couple of years to see how they perform in a more Southern climate. This kind of testing prevents customers buying flowers that won’t survive the climate they live in.
For more information, visit the Newmans’ website at delanodaylilies.com or call (423) 263-9323.