Daylilies forum: Karol Emmerich’s Springwood Gardens

Page 1 of 2 • 1 2
Views: 2213, Replies: 37 » Jump to the end
Name: Larry Rettig
South Amana, IA (Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member Tip Photographer I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cottage Gardener Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Composter
Foliage Fan Garden Photography Houseplants Hybridizer Organic Gardener Cat Lover
Image
LarryR
Sep 12, 2017 12:23 AM CST
Note to readers
When I contacted Dave about doing this article, he suggested that I post it in the Daylily Forum. At that point, I had in mind a short article with lots of photos. In the end, it grew into a LONG article with lots of photos, because I couldn’t do Karol justice using such a short format. Just so you’re aware, this is not your normal post.


To say that Karol Emmerich’s daylily gardens are spectacular does them a disservice. At peak bloom, they are beyond spectacular. I had the privilege of visiting Karol in her gardens this past July during peak season.

Karol is a world-class daylily hybridizer and grows over 25,000 daylilies on the estate that she and her husband, Dick, have owned since 2000. It covers 250 acres, with Springwood proper occupying about 110 and is located approximately 30 minutes south of downtown Minneapolis.

HISTORY

The location is steeped in history. A railroad builder and Swedish immigrant named Frederick Erickson purchased 1100 acres in the area in the early 1860s. He built a family home there that had a distinctly European look. Called Oak Farm, it was completed in late 1862.

The sandstone walls, fronted with brick, are two feet thick. Giant granite boulders and huge timbers were used to build the foundation and the cellar. The cellar resembles a fortress with its small barred windows, shaped like shooting ports. Most likely one of its purposes was to serve as a fort to fend off attacks by Native Americans, although none ever materialized.

Erickson hired some 30 men, housed in an adjoining structure called the “menhouse.” (Seems like the boss may have had a good sense of humor.) There was also a humongous barn that housed up to 150 horses as well as a machinery shed said to have been as large as a city block. A feed mill and a blacksmith shop rounded out the buildings on the property. Over the years, other owners bought and used the property, but eventually all of the buildings fell into disrepair and were torn down, except for the family house.

SERENDIPITY INTERVENES

So how did Karol find this place? “One of my passions has been to paint the world with flowers, which we’ve done on a couple of acres at our place in the city (and at many of our friends’ homes from the seemingly endless supply of plants from our garden). This passion has grown to include creating new varieties of daylilies. But in order to do that, we needed a place to install outdoor test beds for thousands of seedlings and construct a large greenhouse. We hoped to find about five acres with a small house where I could sleep and eat during hybridizing season. A building where Dick could store his hunting gear would be a bonus.”

“To our amazement, we stumbled onto the place we now call Springwood. It reminded us of Monet’s home at Giverny and we fell in love with its possibilities. Portions of the house were remodeled in the 80’s and 90’s, but much has been untouched. And the land has been neglected for decades. So, despite the fact that we’re at an age when most folks think of downsizing home and gardens, we’ve decided to wear ourselves out [she says with a smile] by spending the rest of our lives working on a project of epic proportions.”

“Why? Because it’s here. Because of its possibilities. Because we love working with our hands and with the earth. Because of the sense of adventure and excitement we feel when we’re at Springwood, and our desire to share that with others. Because we feel God has given us a work to do here . . .”

CREATING WORLD CLASS DAYLILIES

Karol’s goal is to produce cutting edge, northern hardy daylilies. They must perform well in Minnesota’s Zone 4 gardens as well as elsewhere, must be distinctive, must have beautiful, clear color or interesting patterns, and must “put a put a smile on your face when you look at them,” she says. She grows about 3,500 new seedlings each year and has registered 176. When it comes to naming her creations, she favors inspirational ones: ‘Achieving Dreams,’ ‘Faith that Moves Mountains,’ ‘Love Never Fails,’ ‘Peace Beyond Understanding,’ ‘Secret of Contentment,’ ‘Triumphal Procession,’ ‘World without End.’

There are slightly darker names, too: ‘Clash of Civilizations;’ ‘Blood, Sweat and Tears;’ ‘Cosmic Struggle;’ ‘Dark Night of the Soul.’

HARDSHIP INTERVENES

Karol is no stranger to adversity. As she works and basks in this Shangri-La of the North, she carries with her the results of a Lyme-Disease-related incident. Advised to get a shot for the disease because of deer in the area, she dutifully complied.

Something went horribly wrong. After the inoculation, she became so disabled that there were days when she couldn’t get out of bed. Her mind became so foggy that even turning on a light was beyond her ability. Gradually, she emerged from the fog, continuing to improve steadily. Today the only visible evidence of any disability is the golf cart in which she rides around Springwood. She can walk, but still has trouble with balance.

It is obvious to any visitor that none of this has diminished her winning smile and charming, kindly spirit.

THE SPLENDOR THAT IS SPRINGWOOD

Thumb of 2017-09-12/LarryR/998091
Entry gate from the parking area

Thumb of 2017-09-12/LarryR/ad6c39

Thumb of 2017-09-12/LarryR/805d67
First beds encountered upon entry

Thumb of 2017-09-12/LarryR/2c2cf6
A closer look

Thumb of 2017-09-12/LarryR/90cd64
The greenhouse (6,000 sq. ft.) comes into view. Karol can work on her hybridizing year around, just like southern hybridizers.

Thumb of 2017-09-12/LarryR/50ddf1
Beds sweep around the north side of the greenhouse with the beautiful countryside in the background.

Thumb of 2017-09-12/LarryR/ea3e66
Another look

Thumb of 2017-09-12/LarryR/66eebc
Two beauties along the walkway

Karol's creations pop up here and there along the way:
Thumb of 2017-09-12/LarryR/b221ee
'Woman at the Well'

Thumb of 2017-09-12/LarryR/bc234a
'Ambassador of Peace'

Thumb of 2017-09-12/LarryR/6db4da
'Free the Captives'

Thumb of 2017-09-12/LarryR/080751
The path winds its way to the manor house.

Thumb of 2017-09-12/LarryR/b902e4
Lovingly restored to its former glory

Thumb of 2017-09-12/LarryR/3c5cc8
Custom made entry gate. Note the daylily in the center.

Thumb of 2017-09-12/LarryR/5b27b3
All steps in the garden are marble. Note the great use of imposing local boulders.

Statuary:

Thumb of 2017-09-12/LarryR/bd4dea

Thumb of 2017-09-12/LarryR/327e97

Thumb of 2017-09-12/LarryR/f9313d

Thumb of 2017-09-12/LarryR/cdf077

Thumb of 2017-09-12/LarryR/9458d9

Thumb of 2017-09-12/LarryR/88af71


Thumb of 2017-09-12/LarryR/de474a
New addition at rear of manor

Thumb of 2017-09-12/LarryR/bdb94f
Erstwhile "menhouse" converted to a carriage house and now a garage

The seedling beds:

Thumb of 2017-09-12/LarryR/5eaae8
From right to left: Don Lovell, Nan Ripley, and the author.
Nan and Don are both distinguished hybridizers in Iowa.

Seedlings

Thumb of 2017-09-12/LarryR/83a06e

Thumb of 2017-09-12/LarryR/7a3867

Thumb of 2017-09-12/LarryR/effdbc

Thumb of 2017-09-12/LarryR/a20ee8

Thumb of 2017-09-12/LarryR/d68a3b

Thumb of 2017-09-12/LarryR/3f849c



Gardener was the label imprinted on me when the souls were handed out and so be it. --Margaret Roach (Thank you, Sharon!) Notes from the Garden: Articles of interest on all aspects of gardening
Cottage-in-the-Meadow Gardens: Come on in and take the tour! Check out the photos!
[Last edited by LarryR - Sep 12, 2017 7:29 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1546087 (1)
Name: Mary
Crown Point, Indiana (Zone 5b)
josieskid
Sep 12, 2017 3:59 AM CST
Wonderful! Thank you so much. I would love to go there.
Name: Ginny G
Central Iowa (Zone 5a)
Plant Addict!!
Daylilies Peonies Enjoys or suffers cold winters Irises Hibiscus Enjoys or suffers hot summers
Bee Lover Native Plants and Wildflowers Lilies Garden Art Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Miniature Gardening
Image
Legalily
Sep 12, 2017 6:31 AM CST
Larry what a wonderful tribute to Karol Hurray! Hurray! I have several of her daylilies that I've added to my prayer garden and several others throughout the yard. They are a lot of my favorites. I've had several interactions with Karol when deciding what to order and she is amazing to work with. Her plants are beautiful and very hearty in my garden. I have more being ordered from her in spring and I HAVE to see her gardens Thumbs up Hurray! Thank You! Well done @LarryR I tip my hat to you.
Be a person that makes others feel special.
Name: Valerie
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Irises Roses Peonies Butterflies Birds
Bee Lover Region: Canadian Ponds Garden Art Dog Lover Enjoys or suffers cold winters
Image
touchofsky
Sep 12, 2017 6:31 AM CST
What a wonderful spot! Thank you for such a great post, Larry, about an incredible couple pursuing a labour of love.
Name: Julie
Roanoke, VA (Zone 7a)
Daylilies Region: Virginia Photo Contest Winner: 2015 Heucheras Cat Lover Hummingbirder
Clematis Lilies Birds Garden Art Butterflies Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
floota
Sep 12, 2017 6:55 AM CST
Great post on an amazing garden, hybridizer, and person! I've been lucky enough to visit Springwood a few times and it is all you say and more. I remember looking at the statuary, especially that one of the archangel Michael, and thinking," this puts all garden art I've ever seen in a different league." It is an overwhelming place to visit, to put it mildly. Karol remembered a seedling that I'd admired out of the thousands there when I first visited there in 2007, and when she decided not to register it a couple of years later, she sent it here.
Name: Nancy
Bowling Green Kentucky (Zone 6b)
Image
alilyfan
Sep 12, 2017 7:08 AM CST
How very beautiful, I would love to visit. I don't really pay too much attention to hybridizer names when I get a new daylily, but I knew I had at least a couple. I checked & realized some of my favorites that have done quite well in my garden are Emmerich daylilies. What a nice article, so glad I read it.
Name: Betty
MN zone 4
Frogs and Toads Birds Roses Region: United States of America Peonies Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge)
Lilies Irises Hummingbirder Hostas Garden Art Echinacea
Image
daylilydreams
Sep 12, 2017 8:03 AM CST
Larry, this should be published in our regional news letter of which I am sure you know Iowa is included.

I will have to make a point to visit Karol's garden again as it looks like some changes have been made since my last visit. I remember the place before Karol bought it, they have brought it back to the grandeur of it's early days and improved upon it to the breathtaking beauty it is today.
If you want to be happy for a lifetime plant a garden!
Faith is the postage stamp on our prayers!
Betty MN Zone4 AHS member

Name: Greg Bogard
Winston-Salem, NC (Zone 7a)
Sscape
Sep 12, 2017 9:20 AM CST
Thank You, Larry. I am a fan of Karol's work, and would love to make the trip up there to see her place in full bloom. You take great pictures! I like the way you balance the scenes and get the lighting right. If there are more pics---I am hungry for them.
Name: Ginny G
Central Iowa (Zone 5a)
Plant Addict!!
Daylilies Peonies Enjoys or suffers cold winters Irises Hibiscus Enjoys or suffers hot summers
Bee Lover Native Plants and Wildflowers Lilies Garden Art Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Miniature Gardening
Image
Legalily
Sep 12, 2017 9:32 AM CST
I agree I agree I just counted and I have 15 of Karol's daylilies and adding more!
Be a person that makes others feel special.
Name: Larry Rettig
South Amana, IA (Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member Tip Photographer I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cottage Gardener Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Composter
Foliage Fan Garden Photography Houseplants Hybridizer Organic Gardener Cat Lover
Image
LarryR
Sep 12, 2017 12:59 PM CST
Thank you all for those kind words. I would love to see Karol's daylilies growing in an average gardener's beds like, for example, Stella D'oro, Purple D'oro, and the like. Many of her daylilies rebloom--even in the North--are bone hardy, and have good bud count and branching.

Karol has achieved an amazing uniformity in her program, where the scapes are very sturdy and the blooms are borne just above the foliage. You'll see this in some of my photos above. Nowhere in the beds do you see a daylily thrusting its scape and flowers above the others. Those gardeners who like to see taller scapes that sway in the breeze likely won't find them among Karol's offerings.
Gardener was the label imprinted on me when the souls were handed out and so be it. --Margaret Roach (Thank you, Sharon!) Notes from the Garden: Articles of interest on all aspects of gardening
Cottage-in-the-Meadow Gardens: Come on in and take the tour! Check out the photos!
Name: Vicki
North Carolina
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I sent a postcard to Randy! I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: United States of America
Purslane Garden Art Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Ideas: Master Level Region: North Carolina Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Image
vic
Sep 12, 2017 2:05 PM CST
Lovely article and photo's Larry - thank you! Thumbs up
Athens, Ohio (Zone 6a)
mantisOH
Sep 12, 2017 5:50 PM CST
Wall of Fire looks different in my garden:



Thumb of 2017-09-12/mantisOH/c69831

Your pic looks more like Fear Not.
[Last edited by mantisOH - Sep 12, 2017 5:52 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1546619 (12)
Name: Larry Rettig
South Amana, IA (Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member Tip Photographer I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cottage Gardener Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Composter
Foliage Fan Garden Photography Houseplants Hybridizer Organic Gardener Cat Lover
Image
LarryR
Sep 12, 2017 7:28 PM CST
Hi Mantis--We're both mistaken. I went back through all my slides and discovered the problem. It's 'Forever Redeemed' by J. Carpenter. My apology for the error. I've removed the slide from the article. Thanks for your sharp eye!
Gardener was the label imprinted on me when the souls were handed out and so be it. --Margaret Roach (Thank you, Sharon!) Notes from the Garden: Articles of interest on all aspects of gardening
Cottage-in-the-Meadow Gardens: Come on in and take the tour! Check out the photos!
Name: Larry Rettig
South Amana, IA (Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member Tip Photographer I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cottage Gardener Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Composter
Foliage Fan Garden Photography Houseplants Hybridizer Organic Gardener Cat Lover
Image
LarryR
Sep 12, 2017 7:58 PM CST
OK, Greg, here are a few more:

Thumb of 2017-09-13/LarryR/357e3f


Thumb of 2017-09-13/LarryR/7e646b

Thumb of 2017-09-13/LarryR/222b22

Thumb of 2017-09-13/LarryR/4608f6

Thumb of 2017-09-13/LarryR/41de67

Thumb of 2017-09-13/LarryR/9466e4


Thumb of 2017-09-13/LarryR/d84b7d

Gardener was the label imprinted on me when the souls were handed out and so be it. --Margaret Roach (Thank you, Sharon!) Notes from the Garden: Articles of interest on all aspects of gardening
Cottage-in-the-Meadow Gardens: Come on in and take the tour! Check out the photos!
Name: Ginny G
Central Iowa (Zone 5a)
Plant Addict!!
Daylilies Peonies Enjoys or suffers cold winters Irises Hibiscus Enjoys or suffers hot summers
Bee Lover Native Plants and Wildflowers Lilies Garden Art Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Miniature Gardening
Image
Legalily
Sep 12, 2017 8:08 PM CST
I showed DH the pictures and said we're going next summer Drooling Drooling Drooling Hilarious!
Be a person that makes others feel special.
Name: Vickie
Elberfeld, Indiana, USA (Zone 6b)
Bee Lover Garden Photography Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Region: United States of America
Region: Indiana Garden Art Annuals Clematis Cottage Gardener Garden Ideas: Level 2
Image
blue23rose
Sep 12, 2017 9:20 PM CST
Great article, Larry! Love all tbe photos:)
Vickie
May all your weeds be wildflowers. ~Author Unknown
Name: Holly
Minneapolis, MN (Zone 4b)
zepher13
Sep 13, 2017 6:53 AM CST
Legalily said:I showed DH the pictures and said we're going next summer Drooling Drooling Drooling Hilarious!


I just did the same! She's so very close to us, we have no reason not to go.
Name: Ginny G
Central Iowa (Zone 5a)
Plant Addict!!
Daylilies Peonies Enjoys or suffers cold winters Irises Hibiscus Enjoys or suffers hot summers
Bee Lover Native Plants and Wildflowers Lilies Garden Art Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Miniature Gardening
Image
Legalily
Sep 13, 2017 7:12 AM CST
Some of my favorite Emmerich daylilies this summer
Handwriting on the Wall

Magnify the Lord
Thumb of 2017-09-13/Legalily/38f588
Woman at the Well

Thumb of 2017-09-13/Legalily/c4e7bc
Child of Bethlehem

Eye on the Sparrow


Be a person that makes others feel special.
Name: Debra
Nashville, TN (Zone 7a)
Daylilies Cat Lover Butterflies Region: Tennessee Seed Starter
Image
shive1
Sep 13, 2017 4:26 PM CST
I enjoyed your article and the photos!
Name: Larry Rettig
South Amana, IA (Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member Tip Photographer I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cottage Gardener Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Composter
Foliage Fan Garden Photography Houseplants Hybridizer Organic Gardener Cat Lover
Image
LarryR
Sep 13, 2017 7:38 PM CST
Legalily said:I showed DH the pictures and said we're going next summer Drooling Drooling Drooling Hilarious!

Rolling on the floor laughing

Gardener was the label imprinted on me when the souls were handed out and so be it. --Margaret Roach (Thank you, Sharon!) Notes from the Garden: Articles of interest on all aspects of gardening
Cottage-in-the-Meadow Gardens: Come on in and take the tour! Check out the photos!

Page 1 of 2 • 1 2

« Garden.org Homepage
« Back to the top
« Forums List
« Daylilies forum
You must first create a username and login before you can reply to this thread.

Member Login:

Username:

Password:

[ Join now ]

Today's site banner is by plantmanager and is called "Blue My Mind"