Daylily competition brings together best growers from Southwest Georgia

Published 6:50 pm Friday, May 29, 2015


Clare Herrick’s garden of daylilies features flowers with gorgeous colors that will catch anyone’s attention. — Carolyn Iamon

On Saturday, June 6, the Southwest Georgia Daylily Society members will put their best daylily plants on display for the public and each other, as they compete for prizes at the annual show. Entry is also open to the general public, if they have registered (named) daylilies they wish to display.

This year the show will be held at the First Baptist Church in Bainbridge.

Entries will be accepted from 8:30 a.m. until 10 a.m. the day of the show. Once the judging is completed, the public is invited to come view the display from 12 noon to 2:30 p.m.

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Many homeowners in this area enjoy growing daylilies, as they add variety and color to their flower gardens. Those interested in starting a daylily garden or expanding an existing one may take advantage of a hybrid daylily sale being held that day at Bella’s Boutique, next to the church, beginning at 9 a.m. and continuing until sold out.

The Southwest Georgia Daylily Society is made up of serious daylily growers with a current membership of 28, who come from Cairo, Marianna, Fla., Blakely, Donalsonville, and Bainbridge, to meet every month from September through May to share information and exchange plants.

Many members enjoy creating their own blooms through hybridization, a cross-breeding process that produces new colors and shapes. They can then name and register their new variety with the American Hemerocallis Society. These are often the ones introduced at the annual shows.

Beware, the growing of day lilies can be habit forming. Clare Herrick was given a few plants four years ago and now she has filled her front and back yard with multiple beds of the flowers, all nicely catalogued  and displayed with name plates. She probably has the biggest collection of lilies in all of Bainbridge, and she is busily developing new varieties. Each year she has won a prize for having the largest lily in the show.

Each year since 1985 the Society has held a daylily show in Bainbridge, where the entries are judged by panels of judges accredited by the American Hemerocallis Society.
Information provided by member Claudia Miller indicates the Bainbridge daylily show is one of the oldest in Georgia and at one time was also the largest show in the United States. Bainbridge even hosted a national convention here one year.

Membership has declined as members have aged, but those who are still breathing life into the organization issue an invitation to come to the show next Saturday to learn more about the beautiful perennial flower that is native to Asia. As the name implies, a new blossom appears each day in the early morning, then withers at night. It is important to “dead-head” the spent flowers in order to encourage continuous blooms.