3 on the Road: Fran Berry Daylilies - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

3 on the Road: Fran Berry Daylilies

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
CRYSTAL SPRINGS, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Yes. Some people like daylilies and some people are fanatical about them.

Fran Berry is ALL of that.

A few miles south of Crystal Springs heading down toward Georgetown, just off of Highway 27, Fran Berry has been growing and crossbreeding daylilies for years.

She’s part scientist:

“I mean I have a degree in horticulture. I’m a propagation specialists.”

Part philosopher:

“It just explodes. It wants to live. It wants to be.”

Part botanists:

“And the tetraploids do better than the diploids in our climate”

Maybe part psychic:

“You just know. Either you’re a hem-head or not.”

(Hum, part hippie?)

“You are a hemerocallis. Hemerocallis. We call ourselves hem-meads. You either love daylilies or you don’t.”

And Fran Berry loves daylilies.

And maybe that’s the country girl part coming out, but whatever it is has driven her to the flowerbeds year after year not only caring for the varieties of daylilies we may already know about, but hybridizing, or cross pollinating, to bring new varieties into the world. 

“There’re unique qualities," Fran explains. "They’re like having a family of a thousand kids. You never know what you’re going to get until it blooms.”

From seed to seedling to plant to bloom can take up to three years before that first blossom. And then that blossom only lasts only one day. Just one day. Hence the name, daylily.

But what they lack in longevity they make up for in quantity.

That’s something else Fran crosses for, high bud count.

This plant has over 40 buds still waiting to bloom, so even if each bloom only lasts a day, there’s a bunch of day’s worth on each plant and there are seedlings in cups that are just sprouting this year. And seedlings transplanted to bigger pots to set some stronger roots before being planted in the bed. And then, there is what’s coming NEXT spring.

“But I feel like I’m having a new child," Fran says. "It’s like having a new baby."

The newest of the new that has never been seen before, that makes all of the work worth doing. Fran says you can divide and share your daylily plants any time of the year and they will turn out alright.

But digging them and dividing them in the fall is best.

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