June 25, 2019

Organic Water and Soil Testing

In ’84 when Ruth and I were flying toward Orlando from the ocean, I observed hundreds of dead orange trees. This reminded me the results of the past severe winter of ’83-84 when I lost some of my Florida and Louisiana cultivars. One cultivar that did survived was LITTLE NICKY (Durio ’78), which is perhaps one of the oldest hems that I still grow (BEAUTY TO BEHOLD ’78 is the other one).

One of the Orlando ’84 Convention gardens that I really enjoyed, was that of Merle Kent’s Big Tree Daylily Garden. For some time I had been buying daylilies from Merle, thus to meet and visit his garden was just great. A few years down the road, Kathy Chenet, Merle’s daughter, told me that Merle had been to the ’59 convention in Washington. I guess I was too busy to have meet him there.

We also enjoyed visiting the gardens of Mort Morss and David Kirchhoff at Daylily World, the garden of Ra Hansen at Ladybug Beautiful Gardens, and the garden of Jeff Salter. The President Cup winner was ALEC ALLEN (Kate Carpenter ’82), which at the time was still a young plant in my garden. I grew AA for a very long time and it always clumped up very well, which makes it a very good landscape item. Later, in ’87 at the Washington, DC Convention, Kate’s BLAKE ALLEN ’81 won the President’s Cup.

Following the convention we then traveled up the coast to visit the gardens of Dave Talbott and Ed Brown in Jacksonville. I remember purchasing HAMLET ’83 from Dave that spring and it turned out to be a long term item for me. Before we went home, we also went on to visit Bill Munson’s garden. Another one of Bill’s hems that I enjoyed around that time was TIFFANY GOLD ’82.

1994 saw Ruth and myself again flying down to attend the Orlando convention. This time there were two big additional gardens to visit. Those of Grace and Pat Stamile and that of Elizabeth and Jeff Salter . Actual we had visited these gardens two years before when I went down to judge in the ’92 Orlando show.

I have most of the letters that I wrote during the time I was in the Rondo round robin. In a ’94 November robin letter I noted that some of my favorites had rebloomed. They were:

  • Stamile’s CUSTARD CANDY 89 and
  • Elizabeth’s JASON SALTER ’87 and

In an earlier ’93 robin letter I noted that Elizabeth’s DRAGON’S EYE ’91 was the daylily of the year in my garden. Van Sellers BEAUTY TO BEHOLD was the best clump.

After the convention we visited Justine Lee garden in Sanford, FL., were we meet Pauline Henry, who was also visiting. I grew and enjoyed SILVER RUN (Lee ’89) for a very long time (almost 10 years without moving). It was some what of a tender evergreen, but moving it in mid-August is a big difference than when it was orginally planted in the early spring. Thus, I gave it away so that it could grow in a zone hardier than me.

Pauline didn’t travel very little, so this was a unusual event for her. Thru the years I’ve grown over 60 of her hems, starting with SILOAM SHOWPIECE ’65 back in the late ’60’s. My very top favorite is SILOAM VAUGHN’S LUXURY ’96 and right now I have 2 clumps of it in the garden. SVL has been a good pollen parent, but nothing thus far will set on it. SILOAM GUMDROP ’85 has been a wonderful parent for me giving me lots of introductions.

With several members of the NCDC, we then went up to coast toward Jacksonville, but stopping on the way at the garden of an old friend, Sandy Goembel. And from there on to visit Dave Talbott and Ed Brown, before flying home.

It was at the Orlando ’84 meeting that Betty Woods, Ruth Algood, Lucia Bjorkman and Ruth Bennett all went to a nearby outlet to purchase some dishes with daylilies on them. We still have all of them, a complete serving set of 8. Paul Botting brought our dishes home for us.

As I noted earlier, I went to a large number of Region 15 meetings, those that I have programs of are: ’79, ’83, ’85, ’90, ,87, & ’91. I know that I attended many others. The first one that I remember quite well is the ’87 meeting in Cornelius, NC. Cornelius is the town closest to Kate Carpenter and it was one of the largest regional I’ve ever attended.

Testing Water and Organic Soil

I believe the attendance was well over 200 attendees. Kate Carpenter served as complimentary breakfast in her garden and I think with the number of attendees, she may have run out of food. One of the gardens we did visited was that of Steve Baldwin, whose artwork was used for a good number of years in Region 15 publications and I think there may have been some in the AHS Journal.

Another region 15 meeting I remember is the ’90 meeting in Charlotte. The first day Ruth Algood and myself were instructors in the flower show clinic one. The next day the buses were broken up into 2 groups, one to go to Iron Gate Gardens first and the other went to Judith Weston garden first. There were clinics, demonstrations, seminars, and various testings of water & soil in each garden (both gardens were different). There were people from all walks of life from the hem kingdom helping. Such as:

John Lambert
Sarah Sikes
Oscie Whatley
Luke Seniors
Dave Talbott
Pat Stamile
Mavis Smith
David Kirchhoff
Darrell AppsLee Gates
John Benz
Roswitha Watermans
Virginia Peck
Dr. Bob Griesbach
Zahler Stewart
Oakes Angelo Cerchione
Steve Delvecchio
Adrienne Whyte

Judith Weston lived in Detroit when we were both members of the Rondo round robin (’78 to ’85). It has been always a pleasure to talk and visit with Judith at the Myrtle Beach events.

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