Last week we were in Hixon, TN visiting the hybridizing program of Lee Pickles. From Lee’s we travel 1000 miles north to Minnesota for the hybridizing program of Karol Emmerich.
Karol was born in St. Louis, Missouri and later in her childhood lived in Ohio. After graduating from college she married Dick Emmerich and they both attended Stanford Business School with the plan to work in the field of finances then retire to the forests of California. The plan changed, as plans can often do, and they moved to Minneapolis where they both were employed by large corporations. It was during this time that Karol discovered her passion for gardening and daylilies. After 21 years the appeal of working for a big corporation faded and Karol made the decision to retire so she could design and work in their ever expanding garden. She had discovered daylilies a few years prior, joined the American Hemerocallis Society and was looking for something more to do after the designing of the garden was done. During a trip to the Midwinter Symposium in January 1997 Karol met with Larry Grace, a hybridizer from Dothan, Alabama and he agreed to show her how to hybridize daylilies. She spent the spring of 1998, 1999 and 2000 working with Larry at his greenhouse learning how to cross, evaluate and select with the intention of returning to Minnesota and developing her own hybridizing program. With no room in the garden back home to begin her program and move in the many plants she was bringing back from Alabama, Karol and Dick purchased the land of what was to become Springwood Gardens in January 2000. A greenhouse was erected for hybridizing and beds for growing and testing the seedlings outside were made.
In 2002 Karol registered her first seedlings and in 2003 four of them became the first introductions from Springwood Gardens. These four have all received the Honorable Mention Award from AHS garden judges, Enduring Freedom, Eyes on the Prize and Rock of Salvation in 2008 and Light of the World in 2007. Two popular introductions from Springwood Gardens have moved farther up the awards pyramid, Heartbeat of Heaven registered in 2005 received an Honorable Mention in 2007, the Award of Merit in 2010 and Intelligent Design registered in 2004 with an Honorable Mention in 2007 and a 2011 Award of Merit are both now eligible for the Stout Silver Medal to be voted on by garden judges. Among the many other award winning daylilies hybridized by Karol are the 2012 Honorable Mention winners Desire of Nations (2008), Isle of Patmos (2006) and Moses in the Bullrushes (2006). Another cultivar Entwined in the Vine (2007) with a 2011 Honorable Mention had the honor and distinction of receiving two specialty awards in 2012, the R.W. Munson, JR. Award for outstanding patterned daylilies and also the Extra Large Diameter Award for cultivars measuring 7” or more.
Karol is well known for her introductions with rich, saturated colors, excellent plant habits and hardiness in the north. I’ve had the opportunity to see Karol speak several times and her program is educational and entertaining, hybridizing with a greenhouse is not always as trouble free as we would like to think! One thing that comes through, in her speaking programs and cultivars, is her passion for the daylily and the desire to enhance the beauty of the gardens that grow them.
The website for Springwood Gardens http://www.springwoodgardens.c...
Karol also maintains a blog, adding new images each spring from the greenhouse. www.springwoodgardens.blogspot.com
I have 18 of Karol's daylilies most of them are fairly new to my garden and I don't have pictures yet. I like to go to her website to look at all of her daylilies she give excellent descriptions and pictures. I love her daylilies they are beautiful and of course grow very well in their home state. Here are the ones that are in my garden or to be planted soon, I am taking the names from my flower program so they will not be in alphabetical order.
Peace Beyond Understanding, Tom Kornder, Defining Moment, El Shaddai, Greatest Gift Of All, Intelligent Design, Light Of The World, Women At The Well, Banner Of Love, Count It All Joy, Cup Of Cold Water, Entwined In The Vine, Fountain Of Life, Heartbeat Of Heaven, No More Tears, Soul On Fire, Star Of The North and Wall Of Fire.
I will try to take a bunch of pictures this summer.
Here is Light Of The World the first one I purchased.
Karol's daylilies do wonderfully well in my zone 6/7 garden. I began following her hybridizing program a year or two before she had her first introductions, because of the clear colors.
Fifteen of hers grow here, and if there was more room, I'd grow more.
It's hard to pick a favorite but here are a few:
Blood,Sweat and Tears:
I've been wanting to add Blood, Sweat and Tears after seeing it in a friends garden. Soli deo Gloria looks amazing, who cares if they are cheat scapes! I still need to go through my images, for now I'm enjoying seeing all the ones everyone else grows.
I don't remember when I started collecting Karol's daylilies, but I know a got a bunch when my Mom died in 2008. The biblical names were comforting to me, and I started a new flower bed in Mom's memory - it was good therapy! I put some of Karol's intros in that bed but ran out of room fast, so now they're all over the place. Here are some of them:
Desire of Nations again - every bloom is almost identical
Kingdom Without End - this poor thing survived under 3 feet of construction mud all winter in 2011. I dug in there in the spring, and there it was, alive, and it even bloomed normally last season in the drought!