I arrived at the meeting site shortly before noon. After a visit to the registration table to pick up my packet, I spent the rest of the day driving to open gardens in the area that were listed for us in the packet. I met some great people and saw some fantastic gardens. My favorite was located out in the middle of nowhere on narrow, graveled country roads that threatened to turn into dirt lanes at any moment. Armed only with addresses and no maps, I was thankful that I had recently traded my old flip phone for a new iPhone 6. Siri got me safely to every garden I visited.
The garden I liked best was a verdant, multicolored oasis in the midst of a countryside filled with cornfields. The first surprise, as I turned off the partially graveled road, was a long winding driveway of stone-patterned and colored concrete. There was no hint of a garden or even of a home, which only added to the mystery and anticipation. As I rounded a corner the garden began to reveal itself. I was amazed to see daylilies lining both sides of the drive in huge raised beds, most at least waist high. Nestled between several ancient oaks was a modern home with a pleasing design that blended into the gardens surrounding it. I was happy to note that the oaks had been spared, even though they stood quite close to the house.
I was back in time for the evening meal, a pizza supper. Being a bit early, I gathered some reading material and found a place at one of the tables in the dining room. I like to sit up front at events, close to the action. I also wanted a good vantage point for photos. None of the tables were reserved, so I sat down at the table right in front of the podium.
Soon people started filtering into the room, and my table began to fill up. The person who sat next to me looked somehow familiar. I puzzled about that for a bit and suddenly came to the realization that it was Karole Emmerich, the famous hybridizer from Minnesota, who would be the keynote speaker the next night. Wow! We chatted a bit off and on. She was friendly and, of course, very knowledgeable about all aspects of the world of daylilies. When the others arrived at our table, it became obvious that I was seated in the midst of the movers and shakers of the Region 1 annual meeting. No one said the table was reserved and no one asked me to move elsewhere, so I stayed. It was interesting to observe first-hand how those in charge handled the affairs of the meeting.
After supper there was a fun auction of daylily fans. There were fans of daylilies everywhere, in tubs, on tables, in buckets, in pots. I counted 64 different cultivars. Their photos appeared on the screen up front as they came up for bid. Some went for more than $100. There was even a cultivar that the highest bidder was privileged to name. Although I was sorely tempted at times, I didn't bid, since I don't need another daylily right now and don't want to sacrifice the space that I'm saving for my own hybridizing program. I need all the space I can get.
Karole Emmerich was very generous in donating 20 of her own registered cultivars to the auction. Not only that, they were all registered in the last three years. Seven of them were 2015 registrations that included the brand new cultivars below:
‘Angels Bow Down’
‘Child of Bethlehem’
‘From Sea to Shining Sea'
‘Guard Your Heart'
‘Joy Came Down'
Next time: July 18, Day 2