Local Daylilies: Visit A Grower Near You

– Posted in: Daylilies, Plant info

Daylilies are easy to take for granted. I see them in catalogs all the time, and think, “Oh, that looks nice.” But then I look at the price, add in shipping, and decide, “Nah, not this time.” So my collection of daylilies has been limited to passalongs from friends plus an anniversary special from Wild’s–20 daylilies for $40–that I ordered more than a decade ago. So when my friend Donalyn invited me to see Bob and Norma’s daylilies, I wasn’t expecting this:

Bob and Norma's daylilies are in just about every color of the rainbow.

Seeing top-of-the-line daylilies in person is a whole lot different than in a catalog. They knocked my socks off!

These were not the daylilies I was used to. These were certainly not my grandmother’s daylilies. The flowers were often bigger, and even when they weren’t, there were more of them. The colors were more vibrant and the shapes of the flowers were more varied. You see, Bob and Norma are in love with daylilies, and not just any daylilies. Many of their daylilies were cutting edge when they purchased them. Bob has done some breeding. They used to sell their surplus, but mostly so they could buy more, I suspect,

Bob's seedling bed

Here’s where Bob grows out the seedlings he’s bred to see what they look like.

because Bob hasn’t registered any of his crosses. I’m not sure any of them have names. And of the many cultivars that Bob and Norma have, well, they don’t remember the names of all of them. Theoretically, each one has a tag, but not all the tags can be found. Norma remembers a lot of the names, but not all of them. Name or no name, they still love them.

The sea of color was overwhelming, so as I and a few other friends were traipsing around with Norma on a hot day, she’d point out her favorites, and we would pick out ours and ask her about them. “Oooh, what’s that one?” we’d ask again and again. She would tell us if she knew. She was very patient, as sometimes we asked about the same cultivar several times when it caught our eye in different beds. We were writing the names down on paper, wondering how we were going to remember which name went with which flower.

The Daylilies I Left Behind

Blizzard Bay daylily

Blizzard Bay daylily

Bob bred this daylily

Norma was pretty sure this was one that Bob bred.

unknown pink daylily

This is not a true representation of the color, which was a pure pink, not at all peachy. Norma didn’t know the name.

Corinthian Pink daylily

Corinthian Pink. Again, it was a pure pink, not peachy.

yellow spider daylily

Norma called this a spider form daylily, the only spider they had. Someone gave it to them and the giver didn’t know the name.

favorite purple daylily

This was one of Norma’s favorites, but she couldn’t remember the name.

Those are the ones I took pictures of, that I didn’t buy. Bob and Norma are getting on in years, and decided they were going to stop selling daylilies. But we didn’t know that when we came. So Bob said to leave him a list of five or six, and if he felt up to it sometime, he would dig and give us a call. Soon after that, the weather changed from hot and humid to rainy and cool, and less than a week later, I got a phone call from Norma. When could I pick up my daylilies?

The Daylilies I Bought

Solar Music daylily

Solar Music

Monster daylily

Monster. I got this one because Norma said it was very fragrant.

Genesee Rose daylily

Genesee Rose

Yellow Explosion daylily

Yellow Explosion

Something Splendid daylily

Something Splendid

Much to my surprise, when I arrived to pick up my daylilies, there were a few extras in my order:
Jock Randall daylily

Jock Randall

Condilla daylily


Double yellow daylily, name unknown

Double yellow, name unknown.

Visit A Local Daylily Grower

Even if you are absolutely certain that you don’t want to buy any daylilies for your garden, I encourage to visit a daylily grower when the daylilies are blooming. You will never take daylilies for granted again. I certainly don’t.

This bed has Bob and Norma's favorites in it.

Bob and Norma moved all their favorites to this side bed, so they wouldn’t lose track of them.

More From My Friends

My two friends took a lot more pictures than I did. You can see more daylilies and get their accounts of our visit by following the links below.
Daylilies Teresa’s post includes a photo of Norma
Day LiliesNicki’s post has a link to her Flickr album, which has a picture of me chatting with Norma, a photo of Teresa, and a whole lot more daylilies.

$100 Bogs Footwear GiveawaySunday August 11th is your last chance to enter the giveaway. One person with receive a $100 gift card to be towards any product on the Bogs Footwear website. That includes mens, womens, and childrens boots–rain boots, winter boots, and garden shoes.

About the Author

Kathy Purdy is a colchicum evangelist, converting unsuspecting gardeners into colchicophiles. She would be delighted to speak to your group about colchicums or other gardening topics. Kathy’s been writing since 4th grade, gardening since high school, and blogging since 2002.

Now, the digging and dividing of perennials, the general autumn cleanup and the planting of spring bulbs are all an act of faith. One carries on before the altar of delayed gratification, until the ground freezes and you can’t do any more other than refill the bird feeder and gaze through the window, waiting for the snow. . . . Meanwhile, it helps to think of yourself as a pear tree or a tulip. You will blossom spectacularly in the spring, but only after the required period of chilling.

~Adrian Higgins in The Washington Post, November 6, 2013

Comments on this entry are closed.

Sarah Blunt August 18, 2013, 6:35 pm

Daylilies are really pretty. I have dozens of them growing on my garden. My aunt was the one who convinced me to grow them. She also had lots of beautiful daylilies. Anyway, I love what Bob and Norma did.

Sarah 😀

Diane C August 15, 2013, 11:36 pm

I moved to a house a couple years ago and was thrilled that day-lilies were among the perennials. This year the blooms have failed to make an appearance. I have foliage but no flowers. Could it have anything to do with the weird weather patterns?

Kathy Purdy August 16, 2013, 6:26 am

Too much shade would be my first guess. Too crowded would be my second guess. If there is a daylily nursery near you, I would ask them.

Sally August 15, 2013, 2:29 pm

Love your blog and those daylilies made my heart skip a beat! The double looks like a daff!

Ilona August 13, 2013, 12:30 am

Always loved daylilies, and you have some beauties. I always favor the yellow and the pink ones. The old fashioned Hyperion is well worth growing- it has a beautiful fragrance.

Kathy Purdy August 14, 2013, 6:31 am

I agree: I love Hyperion myself.

Deborah B August 12, 2013, 9:54 pm

Lovely! I like all your choices, especially Something Splendid. Coincidentally I just got 4 big clumps of daylilies from someone in the area downsizing their garden, but he didn’t know their names. Nothing like the ones you have. And you’ll always remember the fun day you had when you see them blooming.

Ray August 12, 2013, 8:33 pm

There were pink ones you left behind, but did not get any new pink ones for replacement. Would pink bring back memories of the old place?

Kathy Purdy August 12, 2013, 9:15 pm

I did bring some pink daylilies from the old place. The ones I left behind at Bob and Norma’s garden I may be able to get another time.

commonweeder August 11, 2013, 4:09 pm

I have gotten most of my daylilies from local growers and buy them when I can see them in bloom. My daylily bank is now full and really beautiful. My husband likes them because now he doesn’t have to mow the steep bank.

Pat Webster August 10, 2013, 8:24 am

Like Jean, I’ve walked through fields of daylilies with the owners and waited while they dug the plants I chose. Definitely this is more fun, and more rewarding in many ways, than buying through catalogues or from pots at local outlets of chain stores.

Donalyn@The Creekside Cook August 9, 2013, 8:20 pm

I’m sorry that I missed the visit this time 🙁 Some of my favorite daylilies came from Norma and Bob. I can attest to how lovely Monster is – I have a huge clump of it and it’s beautiful.

I think there are more places like their down south – you go walk around with owner who carries a shovel and some plastic grocery bags and they did them right up and send you on your way. Ellyn and I visited some when she lived down there.

Another good place to get daylilies is ebay – many growers offer a flat shipping rate for a certain number of fans. No more for me for awhile – I have run out of space and I’m not sure I have the time to take care of any more anyway.

So glad you found some to love!

Jean at Jean's Garden August 9, 2013, 7:50 pm

I’ve acquired most of my daylilies from local breeders and growers who often dig them up from the field while you wait. I agree that this is the way to buy them. Not only are the plants big and healthy (and adapted to local growing conditions), the prices tend to be lower than for potted plants at nurseries or mail order plants. Love your selections. I have a number of fragrant yellow varieties, and I never get tired of that vanilla scent.

Gail August 9, 2013, 7:05 pm

You took home quite a few beauties! Love Monster and the double they gifted you is a treasure. Now to pop over to your friend’s blogs to see what they took home. gail