In June 2008, with my husband having just completed thirty years and myself ,thirty-three and a half years of working in State Government, we decided it was time to retire and actually start living each day, as we wanted. For me, that meant being outside, in my gardens, every hour of every day possible.
We live in a brick farmhouse built in 1895 on twenty four acres, in a beautiful valley in Carroll County, Maryland. Up until I retired, I did all my gardening on weekends and a couple of nights during the week while my husband was bowling or golfing. Over the past twenty-three years, we have put in numerous flowerbeds, reclaiming the land from wild roses, weeds, poison ivy, and brambles. These flower beds were filled with peonies, bearded iris, sedum, roses, coneflower, and, black-eyed Susan, just to name a few. Then several years ago, I stumbled onto the internet and did a search on daylilies. I was dumb founded by what I saw. Never before had I seen such beautiful and unusual blooms. I was used to the orange roadside daylilies. I had no idea the daylily had become so removed from the roadside plant.
I started buying large ones, small ones, doubles, spiders, yellow, pink, purple, red, burnt orange, and even green. Now my flowerbeds are brimming over with this kaleidoscope of varying colors and shapes, along with the other tried and true perennials. I have added new flowerbeds and expanded existing ones to hold the extra daylily plants that come from dividing mature clumps. At last count, I have over six hundred and fifty varieties. Over the years, I have added garden statuary, benches, fountains, and most recently a good old fashion bottle tree. We have brought back many ideas from gardens we have visited during our trips to England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Italy, New Zealand, Australia, Fiji, and Jamaica. By no means do our gardens look anything like Sissinghurst, Hidcote , or Kiftsgate; but all of these gardens were inspirations for ours when we returned home.
With no room to add new flowerbeds, since we rent out the major portion of the acreage to a local farmer, I have taken part of the meadow garden and put in large planting beds. These beds are now used to grow all of my extra daylily plants. What good is it warehousing all the extra plants, I asked myself. I decided it is time to sell these extra plants, so other people can enjoy them. And thus begins my second career, the Cats Meow Daylily Garden.
What is in a name you may ask? I love cats, therefore; I decided to have the face of Abner my orange cat superimposed onto a daylily blossom. In this way, I was merging two of my great loves – that of cats and daylilies.