In anticipation of the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Lexington, Blue Grass Hemerocallis Society members have established and are maintaining a garden at the Kentucky Horse Park stocked with day lilies bearing equestrian-related names.
There's Post Time, Hold Your Horses, Blazing Saddles, Seattle Slew and Happy Returns, to name a few.
The day lily garden is near the visitor center, adjacent to two enormous log chairs that were part of a cross-country course at the 1978 World-Three Day Event Championships.
The Kentucky Horse Park, which is certified as an arboretum, has a vision statement that proposes it "play a vital role to people's admiration and understanding of the distinctive value of plants in the landscape."
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Specimens of 50 trees dot the grounds, and according to Cindy Rullman, the park's associate director of marketing and public relations, more native species will be planted with the help of arborist Dave Leonard in the coming year. See www.kyhorsepark.com for more information.
On July 5, there will be a day lily show and public sale at The Mall at Lexington Green from 1 to 4 p.m. The theme is "Let the good times roll," and Blue Grass Hemerocallis Society historian Elizabeth Trotter notes that the club, one of the oldest of its kind in the country, has been doing just that since 1953.
Not to be missed this year are the 2009 day lily offerings from Annette and John Rice's Thoroughbred Daylilies gardens. They've taken to the idea of using horse-related names, like Canter, which bears bright yellow blooms atop 30-inch scapes.
Canter exhibits one of the Rices' special interests in hybridizing: developing elaborately fringed and glittering petal edges called "diamond dust."
Other ruffled-edged beauties are the delicate apricot Piaffe, named for a special dressage move, and the amazing 6-inch flowered Show Jumping, which the catalogue describes as having "a green to yellow throat that jumps onto the reddish orange petals." The 20 or so 2009 introductions range in price from $100 to $200.
"Collectors want the newest and best as soon as possible," says Annette Rice, and because it takes about three years to get an idea of what a new hybrid looks like, and four more to produce enough stock to sell, the quantity of new offerings is limited.
When it comes to naming new hybrids, sometimes a day lily will tell you its name, she said. Daniel Boone, for instance, was short and round, just like his new day lily namesake.
"Other times you'll have a great name, and need to keep an eye out for the right lily," she said. Kentucky Proud, Blue Moon of Kentucky and Chomping at the Bit conjure up great Bluegrass images. You can see them all at the nursery's Web site, www.thoroughbreddaylilies.com.
For more information about the Blue Grass Hemerocallis Society, go to www.daylilyfans.com/bghs.