“They say in the daylily world, ‘You come for the flowers, and you stay for the people,’” notes Heidi Douglas, co-owner of Browns Ferry Gardens, the renowned Georgetown nursery dedicated to daylilies. “I tell everyone that I came for the flowers—and I found a husband.”
Heidi met Charles in 2003 at a convention focused on the perennials, which boast long bloom times and come in an amazing range of colors, shapes, and sizes. She was a hobbyist who’d filled her Cincinnati garden with 1,000-plus varieties; he was a hybridizer who’d established Browns Ferry with a partner in 1994. It took just three years for Heidi to literally uproot and head for the Lowcountry, and today, she hybridizes at the nursery alongside her hubby, plus pal Gene Tanner.
They bring some 25 new plants to market each year, with “daylily nuts” as far away as Russia snapping up the fresh introductions for as much as $175 a pop via brownsferrygardens.com. Each is registered with the American Daylily Society after surviving a years-long process: the growers plant cross-pollinated seeds, wait for flowers, and then exhaustively evaluate their creation. “It’s like a beauty contest; first, we judge them strictly by their pretty faces,” explains Heidi. “The next year, they have to have nice legs (i.e. good growing habits), too.”
Certain plants, such as Heidi’s ‘Boss Hogg,’ are runaway hits, staying sold-out and high-priced. Others go down in cost each year, and you’ll find plenty of inexpensive options at the nursery, which is open to the public from May 20 to June 25, when all of the home-grown hybrids are in dramatic full bloom.
Visit Browns Ferry Gardens:
It’s open to the public at 13515 Browns Ferry Rd., Georgetown, on Fridays and Saturdays, May 20-June 25, with an open house on June 4 and 5. Learn more at www.brownsferrygardens.com.