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Late Daylily Update

October 4, 2009

Hemerocallis 'Treasure Room' (Photo credit: Jean Potuchek) Recently, I contacted R. Seawright Gardens by email to see if I could arrange to stop by their Massachusetts nursery one Friday on my way north from visiting my mother. Their website indicated that they were growing a plant that I wanted to acquire for my garden, the daylily ‘Sandra Elizabeth’ (See Extending the Daylily Season).

What transpired next reminded me again of why I’m so devoted to small specialty nurseries (see The Gardening Book that Changed My Life). I heard back directly from Bob Seawright, who is himself a daylily hybridizer as well as a nursery owner. (He is the developer of one of my favorite daylilies, ‘Margaret Seawright,’ which is named for his mother.) Bob assured me that he had Sandra Elizabeth available for sale, but he went on to raise a question about its suitability for my garden. He asked, “Do you think Sandra Elizabeth will bloom well in Maine ? It blooms so late and your nights are cold …  It may not open well.” Hemerocallis 'Margaret Seawright' (photo credit: Jean Potuchek) I must admit that when I was imagining this plant in my garden, I hadn’t considered this problem; so I was grateful to him for bringing it to my attention. After all, he could have just taken my money, given me the plant, and let me learn from my mistakes. In that email, it was abundantly clear that Bob Seawright, like so many of the specialty nursery owners, is a horticulturalist first and a businessman second. He cared more about finding the right plant for my garden than about making a quick sale.

In the end, I’ve decided to take a chance on ‘Sandra Elizabeth.’ I’m not that far north in Maine, on the border of USDA zones 4 and 5, and I can successfully grow many zone 5 plants. I’m encouraged by the fact that Allan Becker recently recommended Sandra Elizabeth for Canadian gardens (see his post on Late Blooming Day Lilies). I figure the worst thing that can happen is that the flowers won’t open properly on our chilly Maine September mornings, and I’ll have to dig the plant up and give it away to one of my siblings in southern New England. (I’m sure they’d be happy to help me out!) By next year at this time, I should be able to report back to both you and Bob about how well Sandra Elizabeth does here.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. marydelle permalink
    October 5, 2009 4:17 pm

    So good to find good nursery people. I miss my old nursery that the city forced to close. Ah, well. Perhaps there’ll come another that I love as well.

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