Many people are instilled with a love for gardening at a young age. They may grow up on a farm, perhaps start out gardening with a grandparent, or maybe with their Mom or Dad. Not the case with me. I had absolutely no knowledge about gardening and no experience whatsoever - in fact, my Mom HATED (yes, in capitals) gardening. I remember back in high school we took career inventory tests; one of my indicators showed landscaping as something I could be interested in. What? Seriously? I shared a good laugh with my friends about that. Fat chance! Time passed, and I most definitely did not garden.
The tables turned one Saturday morning, about fifteen years later, when I was at a rummage sale. While looking at the items inside the garage, the back service door happened to be wide open and I saw a beautiful perennial garden in the backyard. The owner of the garage noticed my interest and asked if I'd like to take a closer look. Well, yeah! She showed me around her garden and told me about all the plants. It completely took my breath away. At that pivotal moment my life changed. I think I even heard angels sing :) I had to have this!
Lesson #1 - It's not as easy as it looks. As my friend/neighbor Becky says, "If it were easy, everyone would have a garden." I checked out lots of books from the local library and learned the difference between annuals and perennials, all about sun exposure, and how to amend soil. My first gardening attempt was with an heirloom purple iris a friend gave me. Lucky for me, an iris is just about the most iron-willed plant on the planet. Gradually I tried a variety of other plants, had some successes and lots of failures. But I persisted and with time the failures happened less often.
Lesson #2 - It's addictive. After I got my first hybrid daylily things escalated. I became consumed with learning about daylilies. The thousands of sizes, shapes, and colors completely fascinated me. And they were so easy to grow. I could purchase plants and be assured that they would stay alive through the harsh Wisconsin winters. And, oh my gosh, I discovered there were actually other people out there just like me!
And so it gradually happened -- nearly 200 daylilies and dozens of other perennials arrived in my yard. I have enjoyed every step along the way. Daylily fever can be quite contagious. Surprisingly, even my husband purchased his first daylilies in 2012. So can I can blame all this on him?
Pictured above is the tall, stately and prolific "Fall Remembrances" that I purchased at the Chicagoland Daylily Society sale at the Chicago Botanic Gardens.