2023 ADS Regional Summer Meeting Tour Gardens

Darrin & Shelly Lett
Cedar/Johnson Counties, Iowa

Darrin and Shelly Lett have established a small slice of heaven on their acreage just northeast of West Branch, Iowa.

Shelly: Growing up on a farm southeast of Tipton, my love of flowers was influenced by my Grandma and Mom. My interest in daylilies started around 2009, when my Mom gave me my first daylily. Darrin and I moved from a small lot in town to an acreage in the country in 2014. We brought all of the daylilies and hostas my Mom, sister and I could dig up. Two farm kids were finally able to return to the farm. My daylily program started in 2015, after learning some basics about hybridization online, watching videos and reading articles. In those early years, my program consisted of crossing a pretty face with another pretty face. As time passed and I learned more, I focused on some specific traits, such as ruffles, teeth and big eyes and patterns. I hope to create toothy patterns. I have also dabbled in hybridizing iris. In 2021, my first iris seedling bloomed and, in 2022, one had a broken pattern. Working with Darrin outside in the dirt, whether it’s in the flowerbeds or the vegetable garden, has become my therapy.

Barbara Kay (Shelly's Mom)
Clara Mae (Shelly's Grandma)
Shelly's Iris

Darrin: My dream growing up, as a kid was to be a farmer, raising livestock, corn, soybeans and alfalfa. My farm was going to be large. After graduation, a lot of things changed in my life. I moved off the farm and have been working fulltime since 1983, growing accustomed to a steady paycheck and making it hard to go back. My dream of farming kept dwindling as each year passed, but that all changed when Shelly and I purchased our acreage. In 2015, we started out small by growing an acre of vegetables. Since then, our vegetable garden has increased to five acres, producing sweet corn, potatoes, garlic, onions, squash, etc., while both of us continue working full-time off the farm. In 2018-19, I got the bug and purchased many thousands of dollars’ worth of daylilies to help Shelly move her hybridizing program to the next level (happy wife, happy life). If you had told me when I was younger that I would be raising daylilies, irises and vegetables/produce, I would have said you were crazier than a three-dollar bill. However, I’m living my dream with my wife, my best friend, Shelly.
Build it and they will come!

Planting garlic, garlic, garlic!

Heather & Jim Harroun
Gnoman’s Land Gardens
ADS Display Garden
Rock Island County, Illinois

Heather and Jim live in an idyllic location in many ways, including growing and hybridizing daylilies. The Harrouns' gardens are a continually evolving project with new features added regularly. An old maple stump has become a focal point of the property with an over-the-top gnome home gracing it. The gardens consist of many beds scattered over approximately one acre of their 14-acre property. Cultivars are allowed to develop into mature clumps intermingled with annuals and perennials to showcase the beauty of daylilies in the landscape. There are several seedling beds sporting hybridizing efforts by CVIDS members Jonathan Poulton, Barb Papenhausen and Heather Harroun. We hope to share the joy of daylilies with others and give inspiration and ideas for their own gardens. Thank you for joining us for our Region One celebration. Heather & Jim

Keith & Sally Riewerts
Scott County, Iowa

Building their own home in the oak trees in 1975, Keith and Sally Riewerts made the most of their dream to raise their family in a small town setting. Moving from Davenport to Long Grove with a few daylilies started them on the path to a collection of more than 350 daylilies and even a bit of hybridizing. Mentors include Irene Riewerts (Mom), Clay and Kathy Dawson, Gerald Hobbs, Stan Murdock, Bob and Barb Papenhausen, Karol Emmerich and Bob Faulkner (RIP). Inspiration comes from too many to list, lest I leave someone out, but all of our CVIDS members are always supportive.

Waiting for Spring is the hardest work of the year.....

Colleen & John Hansen
Cedar, Muscatine, and Scott Counties, Iowa

With a degree in Horticulture, I loved everything plants and gardening. I, like so many, thought that the extent of daylilies was the Stella De Oro or the “Ditch Lily” that are so prevalent in Iowa. The true love of daylilies began when I walked into the gardens of Barrett and Lynn Stoll. I was so awed by all the different colors, sizes, and forms. My husband John and I have tried to make our small garden unique and clever. Our garden is smack dab in the middle of town. Here you will find a quaint garden that is friend to Foe and Gnomes. If you look closely in amongst the numerous northern hardy daylilies and perennial plants, you will find hidden fairies and gnomes that call our garden home.
'Chasing the Dragon'
'Pink Limoges'
'Betsy's Lemonade Stand'
We have started to include edible plants and shrubs into the flowerbeds to help break up the lines, as well as make the best use of our small space. We do have the traditional herb beds but have also included herbs into some plantings, specifically for the butterflies and pollinators. We have also included plants and trees that help feed the birds in the winter. We are also planning for a sunflower room.