Tag Archives: Garden

The Lily Doctor

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

MD Rahimi

a.k.a  David

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.

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A Garden for gNatalie

Natalie is my best friend. I used to say best friend from college, but now I just say best friend. I have a couple of other “besties,” but Natalie has known me the longest, and has put up with the most, and she can still stand to be around me. I got a chance to visit her in Cali last week, and we had a GRAND OL TIME. (See pictures from Sonoma County. Natalie’s the short one. I’m the tall one.) I always call her gNatalie, with an emphasis on the G. Even though gnat has a silent g.

The last day I was with her, we made over her backyard.  She had already done the heavy lifting of removing a crap ton of rocks and pavers and such. She had already purchased a camellia and a jasmine vine. Otherwise: blank slate on a zero lot line with tricky sunlight.

Natalie has been consulting her Sunset California Top Ten book of plants.  She has post-it marked all of the plants she likes.  There are a lot of post its in this book:

She relayed that, along with her husband Scott, she had been to her local branch of the Armstrong Garden Centers, where a nice and helpful staff member helped her understand which plants would do well in her backyard.  Natalie was dismayed to learn that, because her back is MOSTLY shade, her available plant palette was smaller than she might have liked.  Perhaps her most unfortunate problem, in her view, was that she’d have to have lots of leaf plants, instead of flower plants, and she thought her whole backyard was going to be nothing but green.

While some people might like that, I totally understand where Natalie is coming from: my entire garden is something of pink, purple and yellow.  I love colorful plants. I have a lot of shade, too.

After four days of running around, we were exhausted. On the last day, instead of running around more, we went to the garden center.

Foliage, meet Natalie.  Natalie, meet Foliage.

Normally, when someone describes a plant to me, I’m thinking “Ok, you just described 98.4% of all plants.”  But, when we were sitting in her house, watching Chelsea Lately, she described two plants that I think I identified:  “This black grassy thing. And a thing with leaves like this (and then she basically drew a heuchera leaf in the air).”  When we got to the garden center, she showed me these two plants. BINGO!

Natalie’s main interest in her backyard was COLOR.  Not different, subtle shades of green color, but BRIGHT color that she would NOTICE from her kitchen window.  This is where I send a big SHOUT OUT to the breeders of heuchera.  I LOVE YOU GUYS!  Because, in Natalie’s mostly shade, some morning sun backyard, heucheras were her ticket out of boring and into fabulous.

Working with Orderly People

Natalie’s husband, Scott, is possibly more OCD than me.  (I used to be unable to leave my dorm room unless everything was in its place and my light was left on for my plants.  I’ve had to get over that. There’s not enough time for neatness.)  We are talking about people who put the toaster AWAY after using it.  There is almost NOTHING on the kitchen counters.  What does that mean for their landscaping preferences?

They want some plants, they want some color, and they want order.

While I would be perfectly happy for my yard to look like this:

Scott would have a heart attack if I set them up with plants that would turn into that.  I said to him one morning “Well, you could just grab a pack of cosmos and seed them this year, for some color.”  He said “What are those?” I said “You know, the bright pink flowers on that corner lot I was photographing?”  Then, I think he threw up in his mouth a little.

When you’re helping regular folks pick out regular plants for their yard, because they want some color, without a bunch of hassle, you HAVE to keep their tastes and preferences in mind.  I was up to the challenge.  And, luckily, because there are so MANY neat foliage plants out there, that are colors other than green, you can make a colorful border without lots of flowers.  Here’s the end result:

Natalie likes Pieris. And, who am I to judge?  It would work with the area.  She gets a BIT of mid-day sun along the back wall, so we needed some plants that could take some sun and shade.  She calls me “KT” and my handle on many boards is “ktplant,” so I got her the Azalea for one REALLY shady corner, and it is henceforth to be known as the OFFICIAL KTplant. (Natalie, please don’t kill the plant.)

Designing in the Nursery

I’m in favor of making little plant combos for your yard while you’re at the nursery. They don’t care. If it will help you buy more plants, what the heck. So, we set the plants out and moved them around until we found the right match:

Then, we took them home and set them out in her yard:

Of course, all you Californians will think I’m nuts because there’s a bunch of sun in this picture, but I swear to GOODNESS that this is pretty much ONE of THREE sunny hours this area gets. Just enough, hopefully, to keep the big red things alive (?).

gNatalie reports that everything is growing like crazy, and they’ve already put down a bunch of mulch. I’ll post some follow-up pics in a few months. It was totally fun to help my friend go from “I can’t really grow much cool stuff” to “WOW, I LOVE my YARD!”

And this, folks, reaches the end of my design skills. Need more help? I know one or two fantastic designers I could recommend!  😉

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Garden Bloggers Bloom Day November 2009

Happy Bloom Day!

The theme of this post is “Here Comes the Sun!” After five straight days of rain and wind, and the only tropical storm this season, and some houseguests from Idaho looking for warmth, the sun has FINALLY come out to play.

Because my garden ends up with some of the same plants blooming for, oh, about nine months, I’ve decided that my bloom day posts will highlight only the most noteworthy that are still blooming since last month (they’ve had a color change or something), a new combo I’ve noticed with new eyes, or things that have just come into bloom over the last month. Enjoy!

Fatsia

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Sasanqua Camellia

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Ligularia

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Swamp Hibiscus

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Loropetalum and Panicum ‘Dallas Blue’-nice combo

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Luke, my Nephew.  I found him in the garden this morning!

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There you have it!  If only it was as easy as going out to the cabbage patch to pick my own sweet baby!  (I’m NOT pregnant.  Let’s not start any rumors!  😉

A big thanks to Carol at May Dreams Gardens for concocting and hosting Garden Bloggers Bloom day.  Now, make sure you visit her site and take the big Bloom Day Garden Tour!

Thanks for visiting!

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