Debbie Arrington

Colorful daylilies get special days in the sun

Farm owner Jeanne Deaver sits in her daylily garden at Amador Flower Farm and Nursery in Amador wine country in Plymouth. The farm is home to thousands and thousands of daylilies, planted amid heritage oaks.
Farm owner Jeanne Deaver sits in her daylily garden at Amador Flower Farm and Nursery in Amador wine country in Plymouth. The farm is home to thousands and thousands of daylilies, planted amid heritage oaks. rpench@sacbee.com

Jeanne Deaver views recent spring rains as both a farmer and a gardener. In addition to her family’s Amador County winery and ranch, she’s a flower farmer.

“We had lots of rain – more than 60 inches,” said Deaver, owner of the Amador Flower Farm. “That created problems for farming. Even when it stopped raining, everything was so wet, you couldn’t work in the fields.

“But the daylilies loved it!” she added. “It’s going to be a very good year for flowers.”

To prove her point, Deavers has millions in bloom – just in time for Daylily Days.

This weekend, her Amador Flower Farm celebrates its 21st anniversary with Daylily Days, a flower-filled festival in the heart of Amador’s wine country.

“It’s a really great time to come visit,” Deaver said. “Walk through the flower fields and take your time. We’ll have free tram rides, too. Bring a picnic and relax under our heritage oak trees. Eat by our pond or out in the fields, surrounded by flowers.”

And visitors can bring their own wine as well lunch.

“We have no objections,” said Deaver. After all, the Deaver Vineyards tasting room is nearby.

In its 21 years, Amador Flower Farm has grown into a must-see destination. A colorful oasis among the vineyards, the farm grows more than 1,300 varieties of daylilies. The farm’s full-service nursery sells about 1,100 varieties plus many other plants that grow well with daylilies.

“Every year, we add something new,” Deaver said. “(Daylily breeders) seem to be doing a lot more of everything: Ruffles, doubles, fancy eyes with two tones, and a lot of fragrance. All of the colors seem to be brighter and prettier.”

Wandering through 14 acres of blooming daylilies, it’s impossible to pick one favorite, she added. There’s just so many to see.

“There are literally millions of flowers out there right now,” Deaver said. “The daylilies really appreciated the rain.”

Revered for their drought tolerance, daylilies don’t mind a deluge either, she noted. “Daylilies can take anything you throw at them – drought, rain, whatever. This spring, they look particularly fantastic. The foliage is so lush. The flower heads are huge. And they’re just hitting full bloom.”

Besides the daylilies, Amador Flower Farm features several demonstration gardens that also soaked up the storm water.

“We have a swale full of calla lilies,” Deaver said. “It was so thick and beautiful with so much rain. The Fourth of July climbing roses all down the fence lines are in full bloom and look fantastic. So do the climbing white Iceberg roses we have growing over arches. People love to get their picture taken under those arches.”

With one eye on her daylilies, Deaver has to get back to farming, too.

“We’re in the process of planting 15 acres of pumpkins for our fall pumpkin patch,” she said. “We’ve got 12,000 seeds in 60 kinds. That’s our big challenge now: Planting pumpkins.”

By October, those pumpkins will bring more color to the Amador wine country. Deaver promises her pumpkins will be like her daylilies: “Just gorgeous.”

21st annual Daylily Days

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

When: 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, June 10 and 11

Admission: Free

Details: 209-245-6660, www.amadorflowerfarm.com

Highlights: See 14 acres of flowers at their peak of bloom via free tram tours. Vendors offer food and garden gifts. Hourly demonstrations on daylily care, drought-tolerant gardening, bonsai, rose care and more.

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