Yesterday, I visited a garden with 192 varieties of daylilies. Yes, you read that right—192 varieties. The garden belongs to my friend Carolyn Downing. On one-and-a-quarter acres behind her home in Winthrop, she grows this astonishing number of daylilies, which she sells to flower enthusiasts who visit her gardens. The name of Carolyn’s business is Obsession Daylilies. What a sweet obsession!
Carolyn told me that thirty-six years ago, she started making the garden behind her home, but it was only four years ago that she started devoting a large portion of it to daylilies. There was no organized plan. Instead, there was a passion for plants, and Carolyn’s business sprang from her love of flowers.
Full disclosure: Daylilies are one of my favorite flowers, and when I stood in Carolyn’s backyard, I hardly knew where to look. In mid-July, the daylilies are in glorious bloom, and right now they are about a week away from their peak. I was dazzled by so many different colors—yellow, red, pink, orange, white, near-black, coral. As Carolyn noted, the only color missing is blue. She also told me that there are a few varieties—red—that do well in part shade. I was oh so happy to hear this, and next spring I’ll be visiting Obsession Daylilies to buy some plants for my gardens.
Here are a few of the splendid daylilies from Carolyn’s garden.
With my wee camera, it is difficult to get the broad sweep of a large garden, but these pictures will at least give you some idea of the loveliness of Obsession Daylilies.
Although Carolyn specializes in daylilies, there are other flowers in her garden, including liatris, black-eyed Susans, daisies, and poppies. Snappy garden art punctuates the beds, along with trees and hedges.
There is even a frog, with a sign pointing the way to its home.
As I wandered around this place of beauty that was full of fluttering, jumping life—frogs, bees, birds, and butterflies—I thought about how love is at the center of so much creativity, whatever form it might take.
Carolyn’s gardens shine with love, and that love radiates over everything, making this a special place. Blogging friends, if you live in the Winthrop area and have an ardor for flowers, put Obsession Daylilies on your list of gardens to visit.
Carolyn would like you to call first, and her number is 207-377-6316. Although she would be glad to sell you a plant, Carolyn is happy to have people just drop by and look at her amazing garden.
And for folks who are keen on flowers, that’s about as good as it gets.