Somewhere along every commuting route, there’s a place you drive past every single day. Every single day you say to yourself “Someday, I’m going to stop there.” But, you never do. Such was the case with my neighborhood Lily Farm. For two and a half years, I’ve driven past, walked past and ridden my bike past the Lily Farm.
In June, the place is a carnival of colors. Every now and then, I’d see the gate propped open with this sign on it. But, not knowing the owners, and not seeing anyone out, I hesitated to stop and poke around. I simply thought to myself “A daylily ADDICT clearly lives there.” (Not that I’m judging. I’m a book addict.)
On Saturday, the Lily guy had a sale, with an actual sign. He was standing in his yard while I drove to the Farmer’s Market opening day. On my way home, I stopped.
I’m so glad I did. With every garden that is anything other than a boring landscape of foundation plantings, there’s usually a story. While this blog is primarily a photo blog, I’m finding that when I sit down to write, really write, I’m usually writing profiles of interesting gardeners I’ve met here and there. I guess that’s my other niche right now. So, let me introduce you to
The Lily Doctor
But, because his first two initials are MD, he’ll always be the Lily Doctor to me.
Crazy about Lilies
Plant fanatics are so interesting, especially those devoted to a single genus or species of plants. I’ve had the fortune to become acquainted with lots of cool Camellia lovers in Wilmington. While living in Florida, the orchid and bromeliad enthusiasts won me over. David is no different than the other folks: he possesses a laser-like focus and devotion to daylilies. He offers a few iris and some asiatic lilies for sale. But those are, dare I say, a hobby?
Daylilies are his passion. He hybridizes his own lilies, scavenges the neighborhood for cast-off kiddie pools to keep the plants watered, and frequently comes home to piles of pots chucked over the fence into his garden from helpful neighbors.
He even turned the little swimming pool that he built with his kids into a giant rainwater holding tank with a big pipe running from his roof to the pool, and a pump to pump the water out and around his plants.
Lots and Lots of Lilies
David hybridized the daylily that is just above the yellow flowers in the lower left corner. I asked him where he was from and how he got interested in lilies. “I’m from Iran, originally, but I’ve lived here for 30 years.” “Did you always like plants? Did your family grow flowers?” I asked. (My green thumb is a direct result of my parents and grandparents.) He laughed. “No, you see, I was more interested in the women when I was younger.”
He never really answered the question about how he became a lily fanatic. I find that plant obsessives fall into two camps 1) they always loved plants, but one particular plant made them a life long devotee of the species (perhaps a gift, or a yard sale find), or 2) they honestly can’t remember. It is lost in the years and years and years of myopic love for one species.
The lilies are at full bloom in mid-June. I’ll stop by and snap some pics to update this story then. In the mean time, I have three of his daylilies, a Japanese Iris and a walking iris in my garden. When they bloom, I’ll head back to the Lily Farm for photographs.