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A PASSION for DAYLILIES
 

More than 30 years ago in America I discovered the joy of growing daylilies. A curiosity became an interest, an interest evolved into a hobby, that hobby grew into a passion which gave birth to a small nursery business in Western Massachusetts , growing and selling only daylilies. Offering a range of 200 daylilies to the public, this modest enterprise expanded steadily over nine years. Anticipating moving someday to Britain with my English wife, I began test growing American bred daylilies at my in-laws' farm in the East Midlands and eventually sold my daylily business in Western Massachusetts.

I wondered why daylilies, annually among the favourite plants found in American gardens, had not yet been embraced by the avid gardeners in the UK. Was the British climate inhospitable to the growing of daylilies? Did the milder winters, less frequent sunshine and cooler summer temperatures all conspire against successful daylily propagation in the United Kingdom? After five years of establishing an inventory of daylily varieties in British soil, studying their ability to acclimatise to the vicissitudes of British weather, I can report that daylilies can and do flourish on this island. Our trials have demonstrated that British gardens can enjoy the vast range of colour, shape, height and blooming times of a perennial whose attributes can only complement the beloved and admired gardens of the UK.

A new English friend described me recently as a "Daylily Missionary". Perhaps, such a description fits my aspirations, for my long and satisfying relationship with the irrepressible daylily now encourages me, as a new resident, to introduce as many British gardeners as possible to this plant's impressive range of beauty. At New Hope Gardens here in rural South Shropshire, we field grow all the daylilies we offer for sale. We are committed to shipping the largest plants at the most reasonable prices. I suspect that many of those British gardeners once introduced to the world of daylilies may well be converted, developing their own passion for this indomitable and striking genus.