Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Online ADS Garden Judges Workshops 1 & 3 and Exhibition Judges Clinics 1 & 3

The following announcement is courtesy of American Daylily Society (ADS) Judges Education Chair Debbie Smith:

ADS will offer Garden Judges Workshops 1 and 3 as well as Exhibition Judges Clinics 1 and 3 on Zoom in early April 2023. To sign up for any of the following, please contact ADS Judges Education Chair Debbie Smith at debdahlsmith@hughes.net or judgeseducation@daylilies.org. Schedule is:
  • Garden Judges Workshop 1 on Monday, April 3, 2023 at 6 p.m. Central Time
  • Exhibition Judges Clinic 1 on Tuesday, April 4, 2023 at 6 p.m. Central Time
  • Garden Judges Workshop 3 on Wednesday, April 5, 2023 at 6 p.m. Central Time
  • Exhibition Judges Clinic 3 on Thursday, April 6, 2023 at 6 p.m. Central Time
Also, please email Debbie Smith if you want to:
  • Assist with workshop/clinic instruction.
  • Take a workshop/clinic during the weekend.

Monday, October 24, 2022

ADS Region One 2022 Cultivar Awards

Mary Baker

The American Daylily Society announced the 2022 cultivar award winners during the fall 2022 Board of Directors meeting on October 22, 2022. Two Region One daylilies won awards, one hybridized by Nan Ripley of Walkabout Gardens in Nevada, Iowa and the other hybridized by Karol Emmerich of Springwood Gardens in Jordan, Minnesota.

Congratulations, Karol and Nan!

Karol Emmerich (left) and Nan Ripley (right)pic courtesy of Don Lovell

Honorable Mentions (HMs)

Nan Ripley’s beautiful SUPREME SCREAM (2009, tet) won an HM in 2022. SUPREME SCREAM received 20 votes.

'Supreme Scream' (Nan Ripley, 2009) and Karl Haldorsonpic courtesy of Denise Haldorson

For additional pictures and complete description of SUPREME SCREAM, click HERE. To view Nan Ripley’s Walkabout Gardens website, click HERE.

Karol Emmerich’s gorgeous KINGDOM BOUND (2015, tet) won an HM in 2022. KINGDOM BOUND received 16 votes.

'Kingdom Bound' (Karol Emmerich, 2015)pic courtesy of Karol Emmerich
For additional pictures and complete description of KINGDOM BOUND, click HERE. To view Karol Emmerich’s Springwood Gardens website, click HERE.

Congratulations and kudos from everyone in ADS Region One, Karol and Nan! We are proud of your accomplishments and thank you both for your service to our region.

Saturday, July 23, 2022

Paradise in Iowa: 2022 ADS Region One Tour Gardens

Mary Baker

Excitement reigned supreme as early morning dawned on Saturday, July 16, the day of our bus trek to four beautiful tour gardens featured during the 2022 American Daylily Society (ADS) Region One Meeting hosted by the Central Iowa Daylily Society (CIDS) in central Iowa. Luckily the weather cooperated with forecast high of 81° and cloudy skies. There were two buses, north and south. 

Our intrepid south bus captain was Phil Fass, 2022 ADS regional meeting Chair (thank you, Phil, for wearing so many hats and putting on such a fun, fabulous regional meeting!). Debbie Deemer was bus captain on the north bus. Location for the following day’s Garden Judges Workshop 2 was Phil and Debbie’s wonderful Prairie Wind Gardens in Parkersburg, Iowa, as in the past.

Phil hybridized and supplied our registration gift plant (we also each received a bus plant), the breathtakingly beautiful diploid SWISS VANILLA CREAM (2022), which has 6.5 inch blooms on 28 inch scapes with three- to four-way branching and 15 to 18 buds. Parents are SWISS MINT (Phil Reilly, 1994) X HEAVENLY ANGEL ICE (Jamie Gossard, 2004).

'Swiss Vanilla Cream' (Phil Fass, 2022) clump at Prairie Wind Gardens—pic courtesy of Mary Baker
My bus mate was fellow Nebraska Daylily Society member Scott Keller. Scott received the 2022 ADS Regional Newsletter Award for Best Article on Hybridizers or Hybridizing for “Hybridizing Daylilies Tips & Tricks” published in the Spring 2021 issue of the ADS Region One Daylily Pioneer newsletter—congratulations, Scott! We sat on the bus driver’s side in the third row behind Nan Ripley and her bus mate Katlin. Phil sat across the aisle from us. Mike Grossmann and Kathleen Nordstrom sat behind us, and featured speakers Margo Reed and Jim Murphy sat across the aisle from Mike and Kathleen. Later that evening we were treated to Margo’s and Jim’s fabulous daylily presentations, which we greatly enjoyed (thanks, Margo and Jim!).

Margo Reed and Jim Murphy—pic courtesy of Mary Baker
Our bus ride was adventurous. While en route a large turkey vulture crashed into the bus window directly above the bus driver’s head. Fortunately the window didn’t break. Our skilled bus driver maintained control and kept us on the road.  

First stop was the large Ginny Geetings Garden in Pella, Iowa. In tribute to Pella, Ginny served meat sticks and Dutch letters as snacks. Dutch letters are delicious, click Dutch Letters to learn more. 

Ginny’s gorgeous garden contains about 850 registered daylily cultivars, about 250 Lilium cultivars, and multiple companion plants in well-designed themed garden beds. 

From left to right: Susie Poulton, Ginny Geetings, and Phil Fass—pic courtesy of Troy Hugen
Grandchildren Garden—pic courtesy of Mary Baker
Memory/Family Garden—pic courtesy of Mary Baker
Fountain Garden—pic courtesy of Mary Baker

Near the entrance, the most beautiful truck restoration I have ever seen captured my attention as well as Jim Murphy’s. I have a thing about restored classic muscle cars and pickups. This gorgeous 1966 Chevy C-10 frame off restoration is owned by Ginny’s husband, Don—thanks, Don, for sharing it with us!

Jim Murphy and 1966 Chevy C-10 (frame off restoration by Don Geetings)—pic courtesy of Mary Baker
The John Deere display added to the fun.

John Deere display—pic courtesy of Mary Baker
Next visit was Bob Wilson’s big, lovely garden in Knoxville, Iowa. Bob’s daylilies are planted on his brother Randy’s property, their childhood home. 

From left to right: Bob Wilson and Mike Grossmann—pic courtesy of Mary Baker
Bob is well-known for hybridizing spiders and unusual forms, but his hybridizing program encompasses a wide focus.

Bob Wilson edged diploid seedling—pic courtesy of Mary Baker
Bob’s diploid broken-pattern daylily seedlings captured my attention as well as Mike Grossmann’s and others. Bob said several parents ago they trace back to Don Lovell’s work. Each and every seedling is a beautiful work of art.

Bob Wilson broken-pattern diploid seedling—pic courtesy of Mary Baker
Bob Wilson broken-pattern diploid seedling—pic courtesy of Mary Baker
Bob Wilson broken-pattern diploid seedling—pic courtesy of Mary Baker
Bob Wilson broken-pattern diploid seedling—pic courtesy of Mary Baker
After our visit to the Wilson garden we went to Marshalltown and picked up lunch, which was delicious and filling. We then drove to Ed Seims and Teresa Voukon’s Asher Creek Haven, not too far from Marshalltown.

Greeting us was a beautiful waterfall fit for a dinosaur.

Waterfall and dinosaur—pic courtesy of Mary Baker

Asher Creek Haven started out as a bean field, creek, and pasture ground. Ed and Teresa kept the creek and transformed the rest to include trees, a marsh, four ponds, a three-acre prairie, and lots of flower beds containing numerous daylilies.

Ed and Teresa’s lovely home is set off like a jewel by surrounding daylilies and companion plants.

Ed and Teresa's home and surrounding flower beds—pic courtesy of Mary Baker
I fell in love with their huge, unique planters. While admiring them, I saw CIDS member Selwyn Rash and couldn't resist taking his picture.

Planter trio—pic courtesy of Mary Baker
Selwyn Rash—pic courtesy of Mary Baker
A path studded with wildflowers leads to the ponds. 

Wildflower adjacent to path—pic courtesy of Mary Baker
Geese enjoying one of Asher Creek Haven's four ponds—pic courtesy of Mary Baker
Final stop was Deb Husak’s Husak Gardens, a working farm as well as a gorgeous garden. The wagon wheel bed beckoned to us from the bus windows.

Wagon wheel bed—pic courtesy of Mary Baker
Well-grown daylilies and companion plants showing off in beautiful garden beds captured our attention.

Side one of gorgeous large circular flower bed—pic courtesy of Mary Baker
Side two of gorgeous large circular flower bed with bee hive—pic courtesy of Mary Baker
Bright red Ipomopsis rubra (standing cypress) provided perfect vertical accents in the garden beds.

Ipomosis rubra (standing cypress) perfectly accented the gardens in flame—pic courtesy of Mary Baker
The arch bed with water feature was interesting and well-designed.

Arch bed with water feature—pic courtesy of Mary Baker
Free-range chickens and adorable kittens entertained us.

Chicken—pic courtesy of Mary Baker
Playful kittens—pic courtesy of Mary Baker
All too soon it was time to return to the hotel. What a fun-filled, wonderful day trip! Thank you, Ginny and Don, Bob and Randy, Ed and Teresa, and Deb, for sharing your personal paradise with us!

Thanks especially to my wonderful husband Rich, who never complains about driving Ms. Mary all over the place.

Rich Baker at Hickory Park Restaurant in Ames, Iowa on the road to Omaha—pic courtesy of Mary Baker

Note: For more about these beautiful gardens, see the Fall/Winter 2022 issue of the ADS Region One Daylily Pioneer newsletter.

Friday, July 22, 2022

Tribute to Nan Ripley: Road Trip to Walkabout Gardens

Mary Baker 

I have toured Nan and her husband Merwyn’s beautiful Walkabout Gardens in Nevada, Iowa on multiple occasions. During a spring 2002 trip to Marshalltown, Iowa to see Don Lovell and Kathy Larson, Don urged me to contact Nan. I called her that evening and scheduled a visit with Nan in her garden during peak daylily blooming season later in July. 

Nan Ripley on the left next to her stunning 'Dancing Away with My Heart' (2018)—pic courtesy of Mary Baker

I still remember meeting Nan, her husband Merwyn, and dog Mindy in their gorgeous Walkabout Gardens that summer, where I saw Nan's lovely first daylily registration NAN’S FIRST BLUSH (2003) as a seedling. Nan made quite an impression on me—she inspired me to write the article “Iowa’s Rising Star—Nan Ripley,” published in the Fall/Winter 2002 issue of the American Daylily Society (ADS) Region One Daylily Pioneer newsletter. Nan and I formed a connection that day and have been friends ever since. 

I immediately knew Nan would achieve great things with daylilies—and has she ever! Among Nan’s daylily awards are the Stout Silver Medal (2019) for her showy SCARLET PIMPERNEL (2006), which grows well and blooms beautifully in my Omaha, Nebraska garden.

'Scarlet Pimpernel' (Nan Ripley, 2006)pic courtesy of Mary Baker, taken in Mary's garden

Nan received the Steve Moldovan Mentoring Award in 2021. She received the ADS Region One Service Award  in 2017. Nan also received the 2010 ADS Regional Newsletter Award for Best Article About Hybridizing for her article “Early Start” published in the Fall/Winter 2010 ADS Region One Daylily Pioneer newsletter. Nan is a member of the Central Iowa Daylily Society (CIDS). Nan’s ADS service includes being a Garden Judge, our ADS Region One President (RP), and our ADS Region One Director. Nan is also a Garden Judge Instructor, and she and Jim Murphy co-instructed Garden Judges Workshop 2 with me during the 2022 ADS Region One Meeting hosted by CIDS.

Nan’s garden was an open garden for the 2022 ADS Region One Meeting, and my husband Rich and I drove there after visiting Don Lovell’s open garden. As usual, Walkabout Gardens did not disappoint. It was wonderful to see Nan and Merwyn again—and their beautiful cat Cotton has an engaging, entertaining personality.

I first saw Nan’s gorgeous A HEART FOR JESUS (2020) during a previous visit a few years ago, fell in love with it, and finally added it to my garden when Nan introduced it in spring 2021.

'A Heart for Jesus' (Nan Ripley, 2020)pic courtesy of Mary Baker

Following is the exquisite WITH ONE VOICE (2016).

'With One Voice' (Nan Ripley, 2016)—pic courtesy of Mary Baker
The bright and cheerful SUNSHINE MAKES ME SMILE (2015) captured my attention from afar.

'Sunshine Makes Me Smile' (Nan Ripley, 2015)pic courtesy of Mary Baker
But wait—there’s more! Following is Nan’s breathtaking patterned future registration.

Nan Ripley tet patterned seedlingpic courtesy of Mary Baker
Thank you, Nan, for opening your garden and sharing your lovely daylilies with us. We appreciate your extensive service to ADS Region One and the Central Iowa Daylily Society. Congratulations on your well-deserved daylily and personal awards!

Note: Click Walkabout Gardens to access Nan's daylily website.

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Tribute to Don Lovell: Road Trip to Timber Creek Gardens

Mary Baker 

I first met Don Lovell in the early 1990s and have toured Don and Mary Ann Lovell’s beautiful Timber Creek Gardens in Marshalltown, Iowa on multiple occasions.

In the late 1990s, the late Lynn Stoll persuaded Don and I to become American Daylily Society (ADS) Garden Judges during a visit to her eastern Iowa garden. At that time Lynn was one of the only Garden Judge Instructors in our region. We became Garden Judges in 2000 and later became Garden Judge Instructors, me in 2004 and Don around that same time. Don and fellow Central Iowa Daylily Society (CIDS) member Kathy Larson have chaired many regional daylily meetings and Pollen Dabbers events over the years. Don received the ADS Region One Service Award in 2004.

Don Lovell (pic courtesy of Mary Baker)
Don is well-known for his striped daylilies, among them the diploids PEPPERMINT ICE (2004) and LOVELY MARGIE (2005), and more recently CYCLONE ALL AMERICAN (2016) and many more. Don’s introductions beginning with the word “Cyclone” are diploids while those beginning with the word “Hawkeye” are tetraploids.

I made a beeline to Don’s seedling field. Excited-kid-in-a-candy-store emotions mixed with kid-eagerly-anticipating-Christmas feelings wash over me each and every time I see Don’s seedlings—his hybridizing program is so creative—and this visit during the 2022 ADS Region One Meeting was no exception. Our friends Joan and John Zettel were in Don’s garden with my husband Rich and me during our visit, adding to the fun. 

We admired many of Don’s seedlings—including to-die-for purples—and then I stumbled over a gorgeous dark purple seedling with a toothy gold edge. Joan ratted me out, telling everyone I was jumping up and down (in her defense, she told the truth). We motioned Don over, he drove up in his golf cart, and told us Melanie Mason’s EQUAL JUSTICE (2005) is the pollen parent of that seedling. Then Don said the three magic words every hybridizer longs to hear: “You want it?” I enthusiastically replied “Yes!” Don told us where the shovel was. I tried to dig up the seedling but was unable to do so. Fortunately John took over and dug it up for me (thank you, John!). A small piece broke off, and Joan took it home with her, so we can both have fun experimenting with it. 

Next Joan and I visited the other beds in Don’s garden. We spotted a showy clump of Don’s exquisite HAWKEYE FIRE (2016), which is out of a seedling X Oscie Whatley’s unique FIRE BURST (1998). HAWKEYE FIRE features four-way branching with a bud count of 22, and is taller than FIRE BURST.

'Hawkeye Fire' (pic courtesy of Mary Baker)
Next we spotted a breathtakingly beautiful daylily clump and asked Don to identify it. He told us it is one of his tetraploid seedlings, and it will be a future registration. Wow! 

Don Lovell tet seedling and future registration/introduction (pic courtesy of Mary Baker)
Thank you, Don, for opening and sharing your beautiful garden with us, for registering and sharing so many gorgeous daylilies, and for your outstanding service to ADS Region One and to the Central Iowa Daylily Society!

Monday, July 18, 2022

2022 ADS Region One Service Award Winner Joan Zettel


Mary Baker

Joan Zettel of Breckenridge, Minnesota, received the 2022 ADS Region One Service Award during the 2022 ADS National Convention. Congratulations, Joan! 

Joan Zettel—pic courtesy of Abby Volden
Joan joined ADS on January 1, 2016. She is a first-term Garden Judge, and her term expires in 2023. Joan is also a Master Gardener. 

I first heard about Joan from our mutual friend, the late Bryce Farnsworth, who told me he was “reeling her in.” Joan works at the Chahinkapa Zoo in Wahpeton, North Dakota. At that time, Joan was looking for daylilies to plant at the zoo. As part of the enabling process, Bryce lured her to the modern and historic public American Hemerocallis Society (AHS) daylily display gardens at North Dakota State University (NDSU) in Fargo, where Joan’s admiration of daylilies grew into an addiction. 

Joan Zettel with Don Lovell tet seedling—pic courtesy of Mary Baker
Bryce persuaded Joan to work as a volunteer Master Gardener at NDSU’s daylily gardens, and Joan’s volunteer work at NDSU is ongoing and annually continues. 

Bryce served for many years as ADS Region One’s Historian. He wanted Joan to know all there is to know about daylilies, ADS, and ADS Region One, so he loaned her all of the copies of The Daylily Journal and regional newsletters from his extensive collection—five at a time—and insisted she read them, which she did from cover to cover during a couple of long Minnesota/North Dakota winters. I continued to hear more about Joan from Bryce. Their relationship, which began as Bryce mentoring Joan, evolved into friendship. 

Tragedy struck. Bryce’s health deteriorated, and he suddenly passed away from a massive heart attack. Joan replaced Bryce as liaison for NDSU’s public and private AHS daylily display gardens for a while, but Joan’s service to ADS Region One and to NDSU didn’t stop there. 

Kathy Larson from Marshalltown, Iowa became the new ADS Region One Historian. But how would ADS Region One gather and send the extensive collection of materials Bryce had stored for years in his home to AHS Archivist Ken Cobb and Kathy Larson? 

The items stored at Bryce’s house were in a state of disarray. Joan worked with Bryce’s roommate to gather them on multiple occasions, driving a two-hour round trip each time to pick up batches of stuff—often during blizzard conditions. 

After returning home from each materials-gathering trip, Joan sorted through disorganized piles of items to find the small number of keepers (national items for Ken Cobb and regional materials for Kathy Larson). Bryce’s roommate located things in haphazard stages, so the materials transfer process took a considerable amount of time, concentration, organization skills, and a great deal of patience. Joan made it look smooth and easy, when in fact it was anything but—it was like searching for needles in haystacks. 

Joan went way beyond the call of duty to ensure all Bryce’s Historian files went to the right person and place. She spent extensive time driving, poring through materials, sorting them, discarding junk, returning personal items intermingled with the Historian items, boxing up materials for ADS and for ADS Region One, going to the Post Office, talking to Bryce’s roommate and me, and more. Many hours spent over many days and many weeks evolved into several months. Joan stayed cheerful throughout—not once did she complain. 

As busy as Joan is, she continues her involvement with NDSU and ADS Region One. Joan became ADS Region One’s Historic Daylily Display Garden Liaison on January 1, 2020. She often successfully requests daylily donations for NDSU’s modern and historic daylily display gardens, and is instrumental in increasing the number of daylilies in NDSU’s modern and historic collections.

Joan is working tirelessly to create a new daylily club in the Fargo/Moorhead/Grand Forks area and to recruit future club members (I have personally met some of them). Joan has amassed an impressive personal daylily collection to fulfill her Garden Judge’s responsibilities. Joan registered one of the late Bryce Farnsworth’s diploid seedlings as Hemerocallis ‘Fargo Golden Glitter’ (2019).

ADS Region One appreciates Joan’s service for our region and for NDSU. Her cheerful service, dedication, upbeat attitude, determination, and seemingly endless energy are truly inspirational. Thank you, Joan, for all you do!

Saturday, October 30, 2021

Groundbreaking and Dedication for NDSU's Arboretum and AHS Historic Daylily Display Garden

Two October Weekends in Fargo–Groundbreaking (2003) and Dedication (2004) for North Dakota State University’s Arboretum and AHS Historic Daylily Garden
Mary Baker

North Dakota State University (NDSU) President Dr. Joseph A. Chapman and his wife Gale invited me to attend NDSU’s fall 2003 homecoming weekend festivities, in particular the groundbreaking ceremony for the new 15-acre arboretum at the northwest corner of 12th Avenue North and 18th Street. Since the NDSU Bison played my alma mater, the University of Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks for the homecoming football game, President Chapman graciously included two football tickets with his invitation. 

A new College of Business Administration building and parking lot will occupy the original location of NDSU’s Horticultural Demonstration and Research Plots. Plants growing in the original location that will be relocated to the new arboretum site include NDSU’s AHS Daylily Display Garden, which features the largest public AHS historic daylily collection in the world in addition to a nice modern daylily collection. 

Per NDSU Plant Sciences Department Chair Dr. Albert Schneiter’s quote excerpted from the October 8, 2003 issue of Fargo’s newspaper, The Forum, “This will be a tremendous addition to NDSU. It will make a nice welcome for visitors coming to campus from Interstate 29. The first thing they’ll see coming over the 12th Avenue overpass will be the NDSU gardens.” The Forum goes on to mention that the project’s first phase encompasses annuals, perennials, an iris collection, and the modern and historic daylily collection. Future plans will incorporate a rose garden, turf research plots, and a garden composed of plants native to the Fargo, North Dakota area. 

Karen Schock; Bryce Farnsworth; NDSU President Dr. Joseph A. Chapman; Mary Baker, NDSU Vice President Patricia A. Jensen, J.D.; Janice Dehod; NDSU Plant Sciences Research Specialist Barbara Laschkewitsch; and NDSU officials (summer 2002)

What an exciting celebration! Rich and I arranged to take Friday, October 10th 2003 off work as a travel day, as it’s an 8-hour drive on Interstate 29 from Omaha, Nebraska to Fargo. In South Dakota, we took the Aberdeen exit to fill up with gas and saw a beautiful dog sitting in the driver’s seat of a Ford F-350 pickup. One paw was on the steering wheel while his owner gassed up. The owner told us his dog is a very intelligent Weimaraner who thinks he can drive as he always moves to the driver’s seat whenever his owner fills the truck’s gas tank. Inside the convenience store, two women were engaged in a lively discussion about country music. One of the women said country music always makes her cry, and that the only time she listens to it is when she visits South Dakota.

We arrived uneventfully in Fargo and checked into our motel. We then met Bryce Farnsworth at Red Lobster for a delicious seafood meal. 

During the next morning, it rained heavily. Bryce picked us up, which was a good thing, as many of the streets were being blocked off for the Homecoming Parade. Bryce took us to the new arboretum site for the arboretum groundbreaking ceremony, where a large tent had been erected for the speakers and groundbreaking attendees. Region One Web Master and Science Liaison John Becker, who is an NDSU student, met us there. We had a wonderful time visiting with John. John, who is a gifted photographer, took many photos during the ceremony. 

We saw NDSU Vice President for University Relations Keith D. Bjerke and Plant Sciences Department Research Specialist Barbara Laschkewitsch there and exchanged greetings. NDSU Plant Sciences Department Extension Horticulturist Dr. Ronald C. Smith opened the ceremony. He described the arboretum project, pointed out a drawing exhibiting its beautiful design, and commended everyone for their hard work and dedication. Ron introduced Dr. Joseph A. Chapman, who spoke briefly but eloquently. Dr. Chapman introduced Vice President and Dean of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Natural Resources Patricia A. Jensen, J.D., who provided further detail about the arboretum’s future plans, including a building that will house an on site classroom, a visitor information area, drinking fountains, and public restroom facilities. After Pat finished speaking, NDSU Alumni Association President John Shotwell said a few words. The groundbreaking ceremony followed. Bryce joined the speakers and others to turn the first earth with golden shovels. 

After the groundbreaking ceremony concluded, I visited with Pat and AHS Region One member Jean Johnson. At that time, Jean owned Jean’s The Right Plant Place, a nursery specializing in perennials for northern gardens in Perham, Minnesota. Perham is close to Ottertail Lake, which I remember visiting as a child during family fishing trips. Pat invited Jean and I to join her in an ad hoc arboretum advisory committee to exchange ideas and information – we enthusiastically agreed! 

After our chat, Barbara, Bryce, John, Rich, and I joined Kay and Jill, who donated their late father Art Jenson’s iris collection to NDSU in a walk through the daylily and iris gardens. We had to walk through an area of wet Fargo clay while it was raining heavily to get there. We’re all gardening fanatics, because only diehard gardeners would tramp through heavy clay during a downpour in autumn despite the fact that no blooms remained in the garden. 

We said our farewells and went our separate ways. Bryce dropped Rich off at the hotel. Rich then drove to the FargoDome to get a parking spot for the upcoming Bison-Mavericks football game. Bryce and I proceeded to FWB Industries, formerly known as Fargo Rubber Stamp, to get information about a commemorative sign for NDSU’s historic AHS daylily collection. FWB Industries isn’t normally open on Saturday, but Sheri Larson made special arrangements to meet us shortly after the arboretum groundbreaking ceremony. Sheri greeted us with a pot of freshly brewed coffee, which was just what the doctor ordered after a cool, rainy morning. 

While there, I fell in love with a bison. I’m not referring to any current or former NDSU students or staff, but to a lovely bison sculpture made from a lightweight tarnish-proof aluminum alloy. I purchased the bison sculpture, which is proudly displayed in my home office as a fond reminder of Fargo and North Dakota State University. 

Bison in hand, Bryce and I left with samples and other information for NDSU Plant Sciences Department Chair Dr. Albert Schneiter. Bryce dropped me off at the FargoDome where I met Rich for the homecoming football game. I purchased an NDSU sweatshirt that I wore during the game. The Bison annihilated the UNO Mavericks by a score of 34 – 7. Mark Sanders, an NDSU right guard, played an awesome game. Mark is the nephew of Jeff Willer, who is Consulting Services Director for plaNet Consulting, the company I contract for. Jeff, who is an NDSU alumnus, is a former Bison football player. It’s a small world! 

After the game Rich and I returned to our hotel to freshen up. We later met Bryce and Don for dinner at Guadalajara’s, a Mexican restaurant with a full line of authentic entrees, including many seafood choices. Bryce treated us to an excellent meal – thanks, Bryce! 

The following morning, Bryce met us at Denny’s for breakfast with NDSU Plant Sciences Chair Dr. Albert Schneiter. Al had returned from a trip to Tennessee late the previous evening, and we were delighted to have the opportunity to finally meet him in person. During a delicious breakfast, we discussed various types of commemorative signs for the AHS historic daylily collection as well as layout for the sign. Al thought of the fantastic idea of setting the sign atop an angled monument that would rest on the ground. After we finished breakfast, we said goodbye to Al and gave him a copy of our AHS Region One Daylily Pioneer Cookbook as a memento. 

We followed Bryce to NDSU, where we toured the potato grading facility and greenhouses. Bryce showed us where the potatoes are stored as well as the grading equipment, and then he gave us four bags of gourmet North Dakota potatoes to take home, including Yukon Gold and Gold Rush, which became mouthwatering mashed potatoes for a follow-up family dinner. The russet potatoes were the very best baked potatoes we’ve ever eaten! 

We went through the greenhouses and saw mass quantities of potatoes in various stages of growth. Rich was first to spot what might be the first-ever ornamental potato cultivar, and he excitedly called us over to look at it. It has something Bryce has never seen in all his years of potato breeding – a bright red central stamen area, which is usually a soft golden orange color. The flowers, which resembled morning glories, were perfectly flat and round in a stunning shade of lavender mauve. Each perfect bloom contained a darker central star-shaped area that in turn was centered with a brilliant emerald green starburst throat. Stems were reddish purple and the healthy compound scalloped leaves were green with a subtle red cast. Plant habit is cascade, which would make this lovely gem perfect for a hanging basket. Bryce marked the potato and showed it to his boss Susie Thompson on the next day, with the result that it’s been selected for evaluation. I’m keeping my fingers crossed – if all goes well, this potential future ornamental potato introduction might some day be available at garden centers near you! 

Asunta "Susie" Thompson, Associate Professor NDSU Plant Sciences (September 5, 2019; pic courtesy of Mary Baker)

I don’t think there’s anything Bryce Farnsworth can’t do. On Friday, October 24, 2003, Bryce became the first non-Canadian to receive the Prairie Garden Award for Excellence for excellence in horticulture from the Prairie Garden Committee during an awards ceremony in Assiniboine Park, Winnipeg, Manitoba – congratulations, Bryce! 

Bryce Farnsworth (pic courtesy of Debbie Monbeck)

All too soon, it was time to leave Fargo to return to Omaha after a fabulously fun groundbreaking celebration weekend. 

But wait – there’s more! North Dakota State University officials invited me to return as a speaker for the arboretum and historic AHS daylily garden dedication on October 30, 2004. I accepted and flew to Fargo, where I attended Friday night’s Harvest Bowl activities along with fellow AHS Region One members and their friends Bryce Farnsworth, Don Martinson, Barbara Laschkewisch, John Becker, Amber Langford, Central North Dakota Daylily Society President Karen Schock, Canadian Prairie Daylily Society President Janice Dehod and her husband John White, and Terrie Mann. At 9:00 am the following morning, I had the honor and privilege of speaking with NDSU President Dr. Joseph A. Chapman, NDSU Vice President and Dean of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Natural Resources Patricia A. Jensen, J.D., and Central North Dakota Daylily Society President Karen Schock during the NDSU arboretum dedication. Unfortunately heavy rain before and during the weekend forced the dedication ceremony to move indoors to Loftsgard Hall. 

pic courtesy of Mary Baker

As there were no daylilies in bloom and much of the foliage had gone into dormancy, the well-designed layout and beautiful structure of the new arboretum was quite apparent despite the weekend’s rain. The enriched soil will grow NDSU’s daylilies to their fullest potential. The AHS Historic Daylily Garden sign is gorgeous and visible from quite a distance, as is the plaque acknowledging donors. There is ample room for additional daylilies in both the historic daylily area as well as the area featuring modern daylily cultivars. Both areas combine to comprise NDSU’s AHS Display Garden. 

Thanks, NDSU, for everything you have done to showcase and highlight the Plant Sciences Department’s gardens, especially the AHS Display Garden featuring the largest public historic daylily collection in the world. We appreciate you preserving and sharing these beautiful daylilies in a spectacular setting where they will be cherished and enjoyed for years to come! 

This article was first published in the Fall/Winter 2004 issue of the ADS Region One Daylily Pioneer newsletter