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  • Randall Benton / rbenton@sacbee.com

    This daylily is called Green Dolphin Street. Amador Flower Farm has more than 1,300 varieties.

  • Randall Benton / rbenton@sacbee.com

    Workers at the flower farm prepare for Daylily Days. The farm also has many other perennials and shrubs.

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Seeds: Plymouth farm shows off its blooms at Daylily Days

Published: Saturday, Jun. 22, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 3CALIFORNIA LIFE
Last Modified: Saturday, Jun. 22, 2013 - 8:29 am

At the top of the hill at her sprawling flower farm, Jeanne Deaver stops to admire the view. Rivers of rainbow-hued daylilies flow down to a grove of ancient oaks.

Surrounding the 400-year-old trees, the shady swale is filled with a sea of pink hydrangeas. Scores of other flowers paint the landscape with vivid colors.

"We just want our farm to be a beautiful place to come to with lots of things blooming," Deaver said. "It's a great place for a picnic. And we're wine-friendly, too."

A colorful oasis amid miles of rolling vineyards, her Amador Flower Farm welcomes summer with a two-day party.

This weekend in Plymouth, the 14-acre farm hosts its 17th annual Daylily Days with free family fun and spectacular scenery.

At the event, master gardeners will offer their expertise at the farm's demonstration gardens, which combine daylilies with unusual perennials and shrubs. Experts will present workshops on bugs, deer-resistant landscaping and succulents along with the farm's favorite topic: daylilies. Bonsai artists also will show their skill.

Tram tours will offer free rides over the undulating hillsides. Food will be available for sale to folks who forgot to pack a picnic. Shady tables welcome folks to relax next to the koi pond, home to dozens of friendly fish.

Warm weather has made this summer a phenomenal daylily season. Every day, more than a million flowers open at the Amador Flower Farm, which grows about 1,300 daylily varieties.

"We get something new every year," Deaver said. "I love the great big showy ones, but I try to remember people like the little ones, too. So we have a good mix."

Flower colors and forms defy expectations; daylilies come in every hue except true blue and pure white.

"It's really hard to pick a favorite," said Deaver, who has her own namesake variety – Jeanne Deaver's Dream (it's purple with a white edge). "Every time I look at a different one, I think – that's it!"

Daylilies are perfect flowers for Sacramento gardens, Deaver noted. They can take the blazing summer sun, but they'll also bloom in partial shade.

"They do really well in the heat," she said. "Once they start blooming, they keep blooming until it's freezing."

Deaver never dreamed she'd be a flower farmer. She was a bank manager in Granite Bay when she married Amador winemaker John Deaver 25 years ago.

When her bank merged and eliminated branches, she took an early retirement – and started looking for something to do. That's when she discovered daylilies.

"A daylily nursery in Santa Rosa was closing," she recalled. "I told my husband, 'That's something I can do.' "

She bought 300 varieties, then went back and bought more. Her intention was to launch a modest mail order catalog, maybe offer summer sales at the family's nearby winery.

"Jeanne envisioned a little flower stand by the side of the road," said Leslie Sellman-Sant, who has worked with Deaver for several years. "Now, it's 14 acres of growing fields, a nursery and a gift shop plus online sales."

Said Deaver, "This all evolved because of customer suggestions. We're pretty much a customer-driven farm."

With so much interest in edible gardening, that led to more than 50 varieties of tomatoes available at the nursery and a large stand of blueberries with fresh-picked fruit for sale in the gift shop.

"People are interested in growing their own food," she said. "And don't forget: Daylilies are edible, too."


DAYLILY DAYS

Where: Amador Flower Farm, 22001 Shenandoah School Road, Plymouth

When: 9 a.m.-4 p.m. today and Sunday

Admission: Free

Details: www.amadorflowerfarm.com, (209) 245-6660
Slideshow: Amador Flower Farm Hosts Daylily Days

Call The Bee's Debbie Arrington, (916) 321-1075. Follow her on Twitter @debarrington.

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

Read more articles by Debbie Arrington



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