39th annual Daylily Show will bring area flower lovers to Albany on Saturday

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May 8—ALBANY — For some people, daylilies are just a pretty flower, and they do indeed make a beautiful bloom with an abundance of vibrant colors. But for hemerocallis enthusiasts, the intricacies of growing and breeding them can be an exercise in seeking out new varieties.

On Saturday, that enthusiasm will take on a bit of a competitive edge at the 39th annual Daylily Show hosted by the Albany Hemerocallis Society.

This year the show, traditionally held at the Albany Mall, will take place at American Legion Post 30, 2916 Gillionville Road. A plant sale begins at 9 a.m., and the show display will run from 2-4 p.m., with no admission cost.

Daylilies are a popular plant for Southern gardens and across the country as the plant is hardy and can grow most anywhere, Selena Bonner, secretary of the AHS, also known as the Albany Daylily Club, said.

"Daylilies bring a lot of color and variety to the yard," she said. "They grow in every color and shape imaginable. They are called daylilies because they bloom for a day. They're very easy to grow, especially in this part of the United States.

"They grow very well because of the milder climate, the warmer climate. They hold up very well in our winters."

The hardy flowers also grow into a variety of sizes, with some growing up to 22 inches and others stretching out to 36-50 inches.

"The types of daylilies our members grow are not your grandmother's ditch lilies," Bonner said. "There are patterns and forms that they didn't exhibit in the past. There's been innovation in the daylily world."

Like most other pursuits, daylily enthusiasts can grow them casually or seek higher levels of complexity and innovation.

That's true of hybridizers who seek to create new hybrids that can be officially recognized in the hemerocallis world.

Some hybrids can be as simple as those produced when a bee cross-pollinates while out collecting pollen, Bonner said. But it can get much more scientific.

"Some people are hobby hybridizers," she said. "They cross one beautiful flower with one beautiful flower. (But) you can get down to the genetics, (producing) traits you want to pull out of a flower to create a new flower."

Because of genetics, the crossing of two plants may result in offspring that resemble the parents, but they often are completely different.

"It's interesting, it's fun and it's educational," Bonner said.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Albany Hemerocallis Society held plant sales several times a year, and its members are looking to get back into the swing of those events.

The club meets the third Saturday of each month, and part of the focus is educating novices on growing daylilies and how to hybridize. Experienced growers also offer advice on how to integrate the plants into gardens and landscaping.

There also are opportunities to learn how to photograph flowers, and some members contribute articles for publication.