2017- Grace Gardens Newsletter

Tom and Kathy Rood 1064 Angus Rd
Tel/Fax 315.536.2556 (Cell 315.694.0123)Penn Yan, NY 14527
E-Mail tom@gracegardens.com Web Site www.gracegardens.com
Please place Grace Gardens in the subject box  

Thank you for your interest in Grace Gardens. Grace Gardens specializes in hybrid daylilies growing over 2200 registered varieties.  Including over 100 of their own introductions.  Those of you visiting the garden will find Tom and Kathy's intros planted in bed no. 2 by the gazebo. Kathy's are on the east side and Tom's on the west.  This will allow visitors to observe all the intros in one place. 

Our annual open house day will be Saturday July 15 with a rain date the following day.

Every year Grace Gardens adds at least 100 "new" plants to the garden.  This also means a like number have to leave the garden permanently and become no longer available from Grace Gardens.  Tom and Kathy visit other gardens looking for daylily cultivars that would add to the enjoyment of their visitors.  They also purchase a few newer hybrids to add to their breeding programs.  Kathy specializes in miniatures, patterned eyes and double daylilies.  Tom's main specialty is to lengthen the bloom season with extra early and very late blooming daylilies.  He is always on the look out for any that will add to those programs with good vigor, branching and bud counts.  He also likes to breed near white and very tall red daylilies.  Lavender is one of his favorite colors along with chalky blue eyes.  There are not enough good lavenders and extremely tall reds tend to hang onto old fashioned bloom styles.  Tom is working to overcome this trait.

About honey bees.  We have added a honey bee yard to the far edge of the garden.  While honey bees do not normally work daylily blooms, they are important to trees, shrubs and flowers as far as two miles away.  Honey bees are in decline all over the world.  Bee colony losses are in the hundreds of thousands across the US.  Major problems can be traced to colony collapse disorder, varroa mites, and winter starvation.  There is as of yet no real permanent solution to the first two causes.    Many people are adding a few honey bee colonies to their gardens in hope of preserving one of our precious heritages.  Setting up a honey bee colony requires upwards of $500 each and a lot of personal attention to bee details.   So in that light, when all natural, unpasteurized and chemical free honey is available from our own honey bees, we will offer small quantities for sale in the garden.  All honey proceeds will be returned to maintain the bee colonies.

For a number of years, Tom was disappointed in the performance of some of his best looking seedlings.  That caused him to hold back on introducing them.  A few years ago he gave a friend a box of his rejects.  Driving by her home a year later, he stopped his car to look at a beautiful pink with many branches and buds and learned that it was one of his rejects.  He was able to get a piece and increased it.  It is now registered as "Rose II Freedom."

This led to the conclusion that after decades of share-cropping and then leaving weeds to grow resorted in a sorely depleted soil.  An example is Seneca Towers.  In the rich soil of their seedling bed, Seneca Towers reached almost 5 feet in height. In bed 15, it rarely reached 3 feet and bloomed out quickly.  In the fall of 2012, Tom lined out 30 fans of Seneca Towers in good soil with ample watering available.  The northern end of the row the plants only grew to 3 feet tall.  But on the southern end of the row, they reached almost 5 feet.  You could see the height change along the row from north to south.  On top of that, in 2013, they begin to bloom the first week in July and continued blooming into early September.   There was a Seneca Towers bloom open just about every day with several days showing many blooms.  This repeated every summer through 2016.

Tom and Kathy have been amending the soil for new plantings with rotted leaf mulch and composted shredded wood chips.  But existing plantings have had to struggle along with a bit of 5-10-5 in spring and not a lot of irrigation during dry spells.  That appears to be wholly inadequate.

Many large commercial daylily growers resort to artificial means to gain increase and to push the daylilies to their peak of perfection.  A thing that will be lacking in the daylily's new home once acquired. These growers use products such as Milorganite (composted sewage sludge).  One grower even side dresses his plants every few weeks with fresh Milorganite.  Then, they irrigate daylily often with a liquid fertilizer mix especially for that garden.  Some even send out tissue samples so they can adjust their liquid fertilizer programs for maximum benefit.  The whole point is that these daylilies may look great and perform at their peak but will be disappointing due to the culture shock in any new home.  A note of warning: use of Milorganite is not without possible serious hazards (as per Cornell).

Because Grace Gardens has not used any super special means to get daylilies to look good, their daylilies have a reputation of transplanting well.  In other words, if daylilies from Grace Gardens look good in that garden, they may perform even better in another garden where the soil and moisture conditions are improved.  Many customers of Grace Gardens daylilies have reported just that- "---- daylily hit the ground running."

A word about the catalog/price list.  Something like 200 images have been added along with over 100 new additions to the garden.  Prices have been updated for 2017 and are subject to change.  From time to time we do make a few mistakes in the price list and reserve the right to make corrections.

Please note that some cultivars are listed as sold out and in a some cases they may have increased to the point where a double fan or two single fans may be obtained- we have to go look in each case.  There are so many cultivars on the list that it is hard to keep track of the increase from year to year.  If a daylily is no longer available, that means it is no longer in the garden.  All daylily images on this web site are free for you to use.  Credit is appreciated.

Tom and Kathy have lowered prices on most of their intros so more people can obtain them.  It is not all about making money as it is getting good cultivars out of the garden and in the homes of others who appreciate them. 

Tom and Kathy appreciate all their garden visitors and loyal customers.  It is a labor of love and a connection to other like-minded friends.  It would be very hard to list all the people whose lives have been changed from a short walk through Grace Gardens in peak bloom.  It would not be a short list.  It is more than flowers, it is more about making friends.

Hope you will be able to stop by for a visit this bloom season.


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