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Wasawillow Farm’s Annual Daylily Sale Is This Weekend

Photo by Lydia Berglar – The Wasawillow Farm’s annual daylily sale offers a wide variety of colors, sizes, and patterns to choose from.

News Editor

Wasawillow Farm is hosting its fifth annual daylily sale from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on June 10 and 11. The farm, owned by Jane Dixon, is located at 751 Creek Road.

Dixon has been growing daylilies for many years, but the first official sale was in 2019. She reported that most guests come to the sale from outside Dade County, and one of her hopes is to connect visitors with local businesses, restaurants, and sites. To help with this, the Alliance for Dade will have a booth at the sale this year.

Dixon said, “I ask guests where they’re from and how they heard about the sale,” she said. “Most are from Athens, Cleveland, and other areas of Georgia. Very few are from Dade County. We try to ask what they like. ‘Do you like barbeque, do you like meat-and-three? If you really want to sit down and enjoy a grand meal, make you a reservation at Canyon Grill.’”

The Alliance’s presence will help spread the word about restaurants, local stores, Cloudland Canyon, and the Lookout Lavender Farm sale (which is also coming up this June).

Beyond serving as a door into Dade County and a business venture, the sale is a way Dixon shares her love of the beauty of daylilies. She said, “We have people who come just to see the flowers. You don’t even have to buy anything, I don’t care.” She has a wide variety of colors and shades, including peaches, yellows, oranges, reds, and purples.

For those who are purchasing, you will receive a set of colored flags to mark the plants you want to buy. Diggers then follow to dig up a portion of the roots, crown, and foliage from the desired plants. The cost is $10 per bag, which is guaranteed to have two to four “fans” – the green foliage. 

Daylily roots extend down from the base of the plant (called the crown), and the foliage grows up from the crown. By selling a cutting containing each of these three elements, Dixon ensures that her plants will continue to grow while customers also receive a healthy plant.

Dixon encourages customers to quickly get the plants in the ground and begin watering. Rather than dumping a large amount of water at one time (which rots the roots), Dixon encourages using a sprinkler system or soaker hose to water your daylilies.

Photo by Lydia Berglar – Some daylily hybridizers focus on just creating new patterns or colors.

Daylilies also require a lot of sun, so check your yard for the ideal spot. Dixon encourages using pre-emergent and mulch to minimize weeds. She also encourages using fertilizer that will not burn the roots.

She explained that while you can grow a clump of daylilies close together, they will need to be separated in order to grow larger.

For some enthusiasts, growing daylilies is a full-blown hobby. Dixon, who is the president of the Tennessee Valley Daylily Society, explained the American Daylily Society and the process of hybridization, which is essentially plant breeding. “The bottom line of hybridization is genetics,” she said. “Hybridizers are really responsible for the livelihood and growth of the daylilies because they keep crossing and crossing.”

Crossing refers to cross-pollination, the method by which hybridizers select the desired traits in a flower. Dixon explained, “You have to know what you’re crossing. You can’t cross a diploid (22 chromosomes) with a triploid (33 chromosomes). Some people cross just for colors or patterns. Some people love the tiny, dainty ones. The large ones with a certain number of points are called spiders. A double looks like a flower in a flower. These all come from cross-pollination.”

Terms such as spider form, double form, bicolour, ruffled edge, and patterned are all classifications amongst daylilies. Daylily names, however, come from the hybridizers who register their creations with the American Daylily Society.

Photo by Lydia Berglar – A Charles Johnston daylily, as it is named in the American Daylily Society register, grows in Dixon’s personal garden.

When carefully hybridized and documented, daylilies can be registered with the society and can sell for $150 to $200 when first introduced. Dixon explained, “Over time, the most expensive plant will lose value. After some time, some of that value will start flipping and people will start wanting that one again.”

Aside from several in her personal garden, all of Dixon’s daylilies for sale have come from hybridization. However, they are not registered with the American Daylily Society. Rather than growing, hybridizing, and selling specialized daylilies at a higher price point, Dixon enjoys inviting people to share in the beauty of these flowers. She says, “I cater to people who want to get up in the morning and see beautiful colors. No one says you can’t look at it and enjoy it just because you don’t know its name or classification.”

Dixon has a high level of respect for the American Daylily Society and the careful work of hybridizers. When selling registered daylilies, she said, “You’re putting on the market the reputation of what daylily people think is premier: the foliage, the scape and how straight it is, how the flower should sit on it, the height and size, etc. You cannot let less than perfect get on the market. It’s really a desire to purify and keep the daylily at its pure beauty.”

While daylilies can become a massive undertaking for enthusiasts and while Dixon has made it a significant hobby, she notes that the beauty of the flowers are for anyone who has the space and desire to care for them. “Even if you have a tiny little space in your yard, even if it’s one plant, just plant it, water it, put some mulch around it. Watch them over time, enjoy them in the mornings when they’re at their prettiest.”

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