Thursday, March 21, 2013

Crazy Daylily Lady

Oakes Daylilies
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Dear Diane,
I have always believed that a garden tells the story of the person who tends it. If you walk through the garden of a "plant person", you will hear the stories of why they chose a particular plant, why they selected that color, or who gave them a cutting. Walking through a garden with another plant lover can take hours-- and is one of my most favorite things.
In this newsletter, you will meet Diane Gibson, a longtime Oakes Daylilies customer. Diane is a true "plant person" who plants and maintains a Family Garden in honor of her large family. All of the pictures within this newsletter come from her garden in Illinois; since we can't walk through it together, I figured a virtual tour might be the next best thing.
In the upcoming weeks, you will meet a couple of our customers who have grown daylilies for many years. Each of them shares the clever ways they choose to display daylilies in their gardens. Diane's garden and the sentiment behind it has inspired me to start my own "Family Garden" this year. Perhaps some of the ideas in this, and upcoming, newsletters will inspire you as well.
P.S. If you have a unique way you choose to plant, please email me at: and let me know about it!
Meet Diane
Diane Gibson 2013
Diane Gibson
Diane is a self-professed "crazy daylily lady". She is retired, a Master Gardener, and writes a garden blog and weekly garden column for her local paper. She has vivid memories of her great grandmother's garden, and said that, although the beauty of daylilies is what first attracted her, their ease is what caused her to become,

"Only after I had many did I realize they were so easy and almost destruction proof," Diane said. "Since retirement, I've been able to enjoy the subtle qualities of daylilies and I've met some really great folks who share the same passion."

Diane's passion-- at least since 2005-- has been
collecting and adding to the daylilies in her family garden.
Her first addition to the garden was an Oakes offering: "Katisue" that she planted in honor of her granddaughter, Katherine Sue. After that, she said, "it just mushroomed."
Although she started with 'Katisue' as a namesake, Diane admitted she sometimes has trouble finding a particular name.
"I've had to use some symbolic names, too," she said. "I couldn't find an "Ian" for my son, but was able to find "Little Pumpkin Face". We called him Pumpkin when he was little. He's not all that thrilled with it, but it makes me smile."
She currently has 27 varieties representing family members and special friends, but feels that, with eight children, and 18 grandchildren plus their spouses, her family garden will never be complete.
Completing the garden, however, isn't what's important to Diane. What's important is the person that daylily represents.
"The fun thing about a family daylily bed is each time I mess with the plant, take a picture or pick a flower, I think of that person," she said.

"Over the past 2-3 years, I've started picking some of my daylily flowers and laying them on tables in the house," said Diane. "That way I can observe, smell and enjoy them more."
Diane takes the enjoyment a further step than most: she has developed a record keeping program for every daylily, and records the first and last bloom times, when they were bought, where they were planted, their health status, and other plant information.
"I try to take a picture of each lily plant every day it blooms," she added. "I find it keeps me involved with the plants and it can be quite amazing how things change from year to year."

In her words:
Diane shares some of her favorites and why
"Dad's blooms a very long time, is tough, [has a] high bud count and the white showcases other brighter colors."
'Dublin Elaine'
"Dublin was new late last year but it still bloomed a couple of large beautiful doubles."
'Donnie Delight'
"Donnie blooms a long time and every single flower is perfect and true to color every time."

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