A short drive from Myrtle Beach is Georgetown, South Carolina where you will find Browns Ferry Gardens home to the daylily hybridizing program and sales garden of Charles Douglas.
Once a tobacco plantation, the family farm has been transformed into a daylily lover’s destination. As a young child his great-grandmother would teach him about the plants and flowers in the garden beginning a lifelong love for flowers. In his early years Charles worked on the farm growing tobacco, soy beans and corn and helped his mother, a well known and knowledgeable gardener, growing and starting plants to share with friends and family. They grew daphne, lantana, daisies, phlox and thousands of gladiolus and petunias. Later he owned and operated a paint contracting business. After finding daylilies in 1987 Charles and his mother began to sell daylilies and perennials with the opening of Browns Ferry Gardens. Now thousands of daylilies are potted each year for the sales area and the seedling beds are a place for visitors to wander commenting on favorites which may be future introductions.
Hybridizing priorities include hardiness, branching and high budcount with the ability to bloom for a long period of time. Through the use of northern dormants and selecting for branching, budcount and reblooming the results of these goals can be seen in the Browns Ferry Gardens introductions growing in gardens throughout many regions. His ‘Strawberry Patch’ and ‘Carolina Sun Fun’ were the first Douglas introductions to be awarded the AHS Honorable Mention in 2004. Following these two were ‘Bold Secret’ and ‘Pick of the Litter’ in 2007 and ‘Loose as a Goose’, ‘Cape Romain Harbor’ and ‘Cotton Candy Carnival’ in 2008. ‘My Lips Are Sealed’ and the near white black eyed ‘Black Mingo’ received Honorable Mentions in 2009. ‘A Gathering of Angels’ and ‘Brown’s Ferry Peaches and Cream received the award in 2011 along with ‘Thelma Douglas’ a beautiful yellow cream with a yellow edge he named for his mother. In 2012 garden judges recognized ‘Big Bill’ and ‘Chief Executive Officer’ with Honorable Mentions. Charles recently married Heidi Wiillet a talented hybridizer from Cincinnati. Together they visit daylily clubs, both north and south, showing their presentations of the gardens, seedlings and introductions.
Thelma Douglas (Douglas-C 2008)
I’ve seen Charles speak twice, once with Heidi, and they are a wonderful team to watch as they do their presentations. Funny, warm, and knowledgeable, I hope you get a chance to visit with them either at the garden or as guest speakers. It has been a few years since I heard Charles tell the story of Pick of the Litter, but if I remember correctly there used to be an old dog kennel near the seedling beds and when it was torn down seedlings were planted in the space. Pick of the Litter was a seedling selected from the old kennel area. I’ve had it planted in my “dog bed” since 2005 along with Ned Robert’s Bark at Me, Moldovan’s Francis of Assisi, Mom’s Pet from Joiner, Unconditional Love a Trimmer and a few others.
Pick of the Litter (Douglas-C 2003)
To see more introductions from Charles (and Heidi) Douglas visit the ATP Database or the Browns Ferry Gardens website at
A few of the many ATP Database images...
My Lips Are Sealed (Douglas-C 2004)
Black Mingo (Douglas-C 2004)
Cotton Candy Carnival (Douglas-C 2005)
And a 2013 introduction from Heidi Douglas
Dance with Somebody (Douglas-H 2013)