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The 2012 Daylily Flower Show

Behnkes was pleased to host the National Capital Area Daylily Club’s Annual Daylily Flower Show again this year – we naturally love hanging out with plant people.

The various classes of competition included the sizes (miniature, small and large), doubles, unusual forms, spiders, designs with daylilies, and “off-scape.”  That last one refers to flowers with no stems, which means the competitors don’t have to worry about unsightly spent blooms or other grooming issues involved with whole stems.  Below are three classes of daylily flowers displayed off-scape for judging.

The State of Daylily Clubs and Shows
Nationally, membership in the American Hemerocallis Society is now about 7,500, down from over 12,000 just a few years ago.  The local National Capital Daylily Club has similarly seen a drop in membership, from over 300 to its current roster of 138 members.  The number of entrants in their annual shows has also declined over the last decade or two.

So, why is that?  It may be that gardeners are more interested in growing vegetables, or among ornamental plants they’re growing a large variety of plants rather than collecting just one.

Loyal Fans of Daylilies
Daylilies perform well in the toughest spots

On the Popularity of Daylilies
The plants themselves are as popular as ever, especially the heavily  marketed ‘Stella d’Oro’ and ‘Happy Returns.’  We hear less about any of the other 70,000 varieties because, as one member explained, they’re only marketed if they’re patented, and that’s a very expensive process to undertake.  But that doesn’t keep breeders from producing hundreds more every single year – a testament to how easy daylilies are to hybridize.

For today’s gardeners looking for low-maintenance, drought-tolerant, pest-free perennials that require little yet give back a lot, daylilies are a great choice.  Though nonnative, only the common orange “ditch lily” has ever exhibited invasive properties; the other 70,000+ varieties are worry-free.

Artists at Work

The design competition displays so much inventiveness and sense of fun, we can’t resist showing off an assortment for your enjoyment.

Posted by Susan Harris.


Stephanie Fleming was raised at Behnke’s Nurseries in Beltsville. Her Mom, Sonja, was one of Albert & Rose Behnke’s four children. She was weeding from the moment she could walk and hiding as soon as she was old enough to run, so many weeds, so little time. Although she quickly learned how to pull out a perennial and get taken off of weed pulling duty.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. One reason for the decline in membership in daylily societies might be the huge rise in the deer population. Except for the Stellas they eat every daylily I plant, and it is discouraging.

  2. I have found by various surveys among our area of the US that interest in gardening is “Interest In Gardening” and not necessarily the single plant. We have combined our Daylily Club, Triad Daylily Fans and Garden Club because we have diverse gardening interests. We all would like to know about Flower Arranging for example which within the National Garden Club,Inc. the membership allows us access to those talented persons to come and present a program, or whose program we can attend via the dual membership we have chosen to participate in. There is the AHS membership and club dues membership, then a separate local or regional Ntl Garden Club,Inc via that club dues and then again the state membership dues. So many individuals like the Master Gardener realizes that the funds spent on one plant isn’t as much fun, diversity, however they enjoy the entire gardening pursuit. Just my opinion.

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