Hundreds of daylily cultivars will take center stage Saturday as Curlette Hennard and her husband, Ken, share their “little piece of heaven” with gardening enthusiasts. Their Cartersville landscape will be one of four featured on the Northwest Georgia Daylily Society's 2018 Daylily Garden Tour from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
"We moved here in October of 2012 from Texas after our retirement," Hennard said, referring to their 1-acre residence in the Woodberry Place subdivision. "I had lived in the Atlanta area for 25 years before my husband's job took us to Texas, which is where I was born and raised. I wanted to come back to Georgia after we retired, and we settled in Cartersville. I moved approximately 60 daylilies and other plants from my home in Texas. The backyard of the home was basically a clean slate, so to speak. Nothing existed but a hill full of rocks, weeds and trees.
"Not one shrub or flower, so in the spring of 2013 I began building a three terrace crosstie bed to put all of the daylilies I had brought, and had a garden shed built. It has evolved into the gardens that you see today over the last five years, which is why I decided to finally share with everyone what my husband and I had accomplished. It is our little piece of heaven. I am a lucky woman. My husband does not share the same passion I have for gardening, but he is willing and talented in other ways that have enabled me to have the garden of my dreams," she said, adding he has constructed various arbors and flower beds.
Gardening since she was a child, Hennard enjoys creating a sense of history in her planting areas. Along with daylilies, her yard features a wide range of perennials and artistic items.
"Currently, I have approximately 370 different cultivars of daylilies," said Hennard, who is cochairing the Daylily Garden Tour along with her fellow NWGDS member Susan Vaughan. "I am also passionate about hostas, hydrangeas, azaleas, ferns, yews, pass-along plants, fairy gardens, yard art, making things out of old gardening items and sharing plants from my home to others. I love having a piece of history, such as I have several plants from my mother’s homeplace, which no longer exists because the city where she lived bought two blocks of homes and leveled the land for a parking lot.
"Having these plants and continuing to share them with others gives me a sense of pride knowing they are still alive in other gardens. I also have plants in my yard shared with me by others. To me, it is fun having plants that have a story behind them. … I love what I do for so many reasons. It is like my own form of therapy. I go out into my garden and just get lost in the day."
Along with the Hennards' property at 13 Ash Court N.E., the tour will include gardens at 215 Knucklesville Road in Rydal, 22 Grove Park Circle in Cartersville and 35 Northwoods Drive N.W. in Cartersville.
"[The tour's purpose is] to give people an opportunity to see hundreds of daylilies in a garden setting," said NWGDS Secretary David Bishop, whose property on Northwoods Drive will be featured on the Daylily Garden Tour. "It also shows people companion plants that grow well with daylilies. … Often people are unaware of the diversity in colors, sizes and forms modern daylilies have taken. There are knowledgeable people in each garden and people are welcomed to ask them questions about daylilies and gardening in general.
"… We believe that people will see the beauty of daylilies, but also how they fit into different settings. You can have a few or hundreds. You can commit as much room as you wish to a flower garden. We wish to show that daylilies are more than the orange 'ditch lilies' or the small yellow Stella D'Oro daylilies that are in landscapes of businesses and homes."
Like the Hennards' offering, Vaughan's 13-acre property in Rydal contains more than 300 cultivars of daylilies, ranging in forms, color and size.
"We bought our first registered daylilies in 2015," Vaughan said. "When our yard was landscaped in 2005, Stella D’Oro was the reliable standby that everyone seemed to have and enjoy. My mother had given me several different plants when she moved to Rome into a home with a much smaller yard. Only after joining the daylily club and attending several meetings, did I become aware of what a treasure I had inherited. She did not record the names or parentage of the daylilies, so I am on a journey to identify them. One part of our garden is named Myra’s Garden. These plants are even more precious since she died in July of 2017.
"Early on, [my husband] David and I bought whatever caught our attention. Luckily for us, we had quite a variety when we became more educated about forms and shapes, heights and colors. We have cultivars from each of the groups — singles, doubles, spiders and unusual forms. … We have over 300 cultivars. They range in flower size from miniatures — less than 3 inches — up to extra large, 7 inches."
Working daily in the garden from April to November, Vaughan enjoys watching her plants "thrive" and take bloom. Calling the daylily her "favorite flower," she is looking forward to inspiring tour attendees to feature daylilies in their landscapes.
"I am a retired educator who has an outdoor classroom," Vaughan said. "What could be better? It is fun and exciting to share the beauty of nature, especially daylilies. They are a great companion plant in any garden. I think this is a great opportunity for people to see a wide variety of plants in different settings. I am hopeful that there will [be] young gardeners attending who will … become enthusiastic about daylilies.
"It is a very busy time as we want to showcase our favorite flower. The garden is beautiful most of the year as there are plants that will have color or texture or fruit that can be appreciated. We have a few daylilies blooming now. Since warm weather has arrived and we have had plenty of rainfall, we will have plenty of blooms for the tour."
Tickets, costing $10 per person, can be purchased the day of the event at any of the garden sites. For more information about the NWGDS — which typically meets at 10 a.m. every fourth Saturday at the Olin Tatum Agricultural Building’s Stiles Auditorium, 320 W. Cherokee Ave. in Cartersville — and its upcoming events, visit http://nwgds.org or http://www.facebook.com/nwgds.