For a daylily hybridizer, yesterday was a lot like being a kid at Christmas. There wasn’t much sleeping the night before, and each daylily afficionado participating in the SMDS Daylily show at Bordines was eagerly awaiting the sunrise to see what mother nature would present to them in their garden beds.
Our long day started the night before, with my husband dead-heading. Unlike it sounds, this has nothing to do with The Grateful Dead. What this means is that he removed that day’s spent flowers to make way for the next day’s blooms. This isn’t something he does every night, but when awards are on the line, you want to make sure that there is literally nothing in the way of a bud opening perfectly!
All those removed blooms don’t just end up on the ground or in the compost bin. Instead, we dump them in a pile as a treat for the deer.
The deer just love daylilies. That’s why it is such a feat to keep them out of our garden!
Did you know that daylilies are edible for humans, too? They actually taste a lot like a sweet lettuce, with a soft buttery texture. Here are some recipes for daylilies. I’ll have to feature a recipe for these incredible edible flowers over on my What Life Dishes Out blog soon.
The weather Friday night was pretty iffy. It looked like rain storms were likely at some point during the night. To the north, this is what we saw…
…and to the South, this.
But by the time we went to bed, after doing all we could do ahead of time to prepare for the show such as printing address labels for the entry cards (so we didn’t need to fill each out by hand), and packing all the essentials we’d need for the day such as the camera and grooming tools (for the daylilies), the rain still hadn’t come.
We set the alarm for 3 a.m. Yes, you read that right. If the rain had started, he could run out then and cut the scapes and buds for the show before they opened and were ruined by any heavy rain or wind.
Sure, he could have cut flowers the night before anyway and kept them in water, but that isn’t optimum for the flowers to bloom well and besdies, you can’t know which blooms might open to be blemished. Mother Nature has her own agenda!
Neither of us slept much. There was, of course, the worry that a storm would blow in suddenly without warning, and so any sleep was like that of a new parent of a newborn baby. Besides, I have a hard time sleeping whenever I know an alarm is set. I really think it’s because I hate the abrupt shock of being awoken by that awful harsh sound. I keep waking all night to peek at the clock hoping I can turn it off just before it sounds the alarm.
We finally got out of bed at about 6:30 to the sounds of thunder in the not too far distance. And thus began the task of surveying that morning’s happenings in the garden and selecting the scapes and blooms to bring along for the show.
He hadn’t had breakfast yet, but I assure you…he is not eating that flower! He just needed an extra hand and I was otherwise engaged taking a photo. I’m helpful like that.
Right after this shot, I did take the bloom off his hands…er, I mean mouth…and shuttled it into the barn into a waiting and water-filled flower holder-thingy.
Thus, our dance continued: He’d cut the scapes and buds, hand them off to me, and I’d make the quick walk into the barn and then back to him to receive the next selection.
I have to say I really enjoyed the working together part of yesterday because that is pretty rare for us. My husband usually isn’t much of a team player, and pretty much wants me out of his way if he’s doing anything, even in the kitchen. Whereas I, on the other hand, enjoy company for pretty much anything I do.
I’m happy to report that we finished up with the cutting just as the first sprinkles started to fall. But there was no time to rejoice as there was still plenty to do! Now that he’d selected the beauty contestants, it was time for their primping.
The show was held later in July this year and the early spring caused the blooming season to start a couple weeks sooner. Because of this, the selection of flowers was more limited. In fact, there were many plants that were done blooming for the year already. As to the ones that were still blooming and suitable, many of the scapes showed some brown scarring, rather than the healthy green color of the early season.
Using a utility knife, he trimmed off any ugly brown areas on the scapes. Sometimes, it’s necessary to remove a bloom or bud if it interferes with another flower opening properly. But, you have to make a judgment call since more buds and blooms on a scape are usually better.
About this time, we woke up the boys and told them to get dressed to come outside to help. Our youngest immediately took up drinking.
Actually, he is being quite helpful here, bringing Dad a couple wine bottles to place scapes in. Please don’t mind his unkempt hair.
I was a bit worried how we were going to get all of these entries to the show. Despite the more limited selection, we seemed to have much more going this year, especially in the off-scape Division.
But everything fit perfectly.
And there is a reason everything fit perfectly, but I’ll tell you about that later.
When the car was packed up – and some of those scapes had to be trimmed quite a bit just to fit into the car – we piled in for the drive down.
In the car, we laid out the battle plan: My husband would unload the flowers and I’d start prepping the entry cards for each flower with the kid’s help. We only had an hour to get it all done.
There was time for some last minute grooming…
…before bringing the entries over to the registration table.
This is just one row of the Off-Scape Division entries. This is the “Edged” section. Aren’t they pretty?
Here are my boys’ entries in the Youth Section.
In all fairness, I should point out that my two boys were the only entrants in the Youth Section this year. There may have been other kids in the show who chose to enter their scapes in another Section, as they are allowed to do. Usually, there are a few competitors in the Youth Section, but one of my boys has taken the Youth Best In Show Award each year for the past 4 years! Even with them competing only against each other this year, there was still plenty of suspense and healthy rivalry!
After the cutoff time for entries, there is always time to visit with the other hybridizers and oogle all the entries.
But when Judging starts in the On-Scape Division, nobody is allowed in that area!
Here are the judges scrutinizing the entries. It’s quite a bit like a dog show, but without all the fur, prancing and barking.
In the Off-scape Division, the club-members and the general public do the judging. It’s no easy task for folks perusing the blooms to decide on their favorite in each section, since there are so many beautiful and unique daylilies.
This toothy yellow beauty was my personal favorite in the seedling category and apparently, I was not the only one who liked it since it took top honors amongst the seedlings!
My boys both took home lots of ribbons in the On-Scape…
…but the winner of the Youth division was………………… drum roll please……………………
My older son finally took the title back from his little brother after his two year run!
Nikki Schmith was judging the On-scape Division this year, so she wasn’t able to enter into that Division where she ordinarily does quite well. However, she did manage to snag the Daylily Design prize with this both beautiful and interesting arrangement. I voted for this unique Medusa-like arrangement myself!
My husband also managed to make the Winner’s table for the first time this year!
Last year he cleaned up in the Off-Scape Division, but not this year. It seems his most hopeful entries didn’t even make it into the show this year. Why not? Well, remember when I told you that we surprisingly had plenty of room in the car for the entries? That was because the box he had set aside for “safekeeping” as we were preparing the other flowers, the one containing his most promising off-scape entries, never made it into the car. Oops!!!