I'm daughter to Lissie, sister to Jess, wife to Brien, mom to Hannah, Lily and Eleanor. I am a stay at home mom to my girls, and my free time is dedicated to gardening (I confess I'm still a novice and look to Lissie and Jess for advice), baking and cooking, and card making. I'm doing my part to make the earth a bit greener, trying hard to avoid processed foods and HFCS, and find the "slow food" movement intriguing and inspiring. I love visits to my local farmers' market, fresh produce, reading, getting out in nature, and spending time with my family.


Catholic, homeschooler, lover of books and great wine and an amateur gardening addict.


I'm Melissa aka "Lissie", mother of Rachael and Jessica, and grandmother to a passel of the sweetest children on the planet. I'm a semi-retired public educator and professor who works from home for a small publisher. I am a lover of all things beautiful ... flowers, the mountains, nature scenes, the innocent faces of children, and my rock and fossil collection, to name a few. I enjoy shopping at the farmers' market for fresh foods and then experimenting with new recipes. Good food and good wine delight me. I love to travel so my suitcase is always packed. Like my daughters, I take pleasure in simple things ... clothes drying on the line, tomatoes so fresh they are still hot from the sun, good books, and interesting movies. I'd like to know everything before I die.
Oake's Daylily Festival

Gardening is in our blood. By “our” I mean my entire family. I have vivid memories of helping my grandmother in her flowerbeds where she tried to grow beautiful things in sandy Florida soil. My other grandmother also loved flowering plants. Once, when I was a teenager, she sent via railway express a bunch of lilies of the valley, cut but in bloom, to my mother who loved them. (They will not grow in Florida.) Mother loved flowering plants, too, but Dad did most of the gardening in our family. He and Mom split the work—Dad took care of what was outside and Mother’s responsibility was our home’s interior.

I came to gardening slowly, though even as a young single woman I always planted things wherever I rented, leaving them behind when I moved. And as a young mother I did some gardening. One year the Impatiens got taller than Jessica who was eight at the time. After my children were grown I took up gardening with a vengeance. When I bought our townhouse in 1994 I immediately began to transform the property. I had an end unit on a corner lot and there was more to landscape than I originally thought. Slowly, over time, I created new beds. I began to dabble with daylilies and fell in love with them. A coworker gave me a catalog to Oake’s Daylilies near Knoxville, and I have been a daylily gardener ever since. I mostly buy from Oake’s because of the high quality of their plants. When I sold the townhouse in 2009, I left behind more than 50 varieties of daylilies.

When I moved into my present home, I knew I needed to live in the house for a year before I began to work on the gardens. I needed to get a feel for the property. The fifth owner of an older home in an established neighborhood, all previous owners had different ideas as to how to landscape. So, I inherited a hodgepodge of overgrown plants and shrubs taller than the house. The last owner had five children, and I can promise you their mother did not have time to garden!

The flowerbeds of single-family home on a large lot have proved to be a bit overwhelming. Trying to bring order to chaos is a daunting task. The first important decision I made was to leave the back half of the property as woods. Here and there I have found and moved perennials from this wooded area, which leads me to believe that at some point that jungle was also landscaped. But it is now overgrown and too much for me to keep up. I actually like the wild nature of it all. It is filled with goats’ beard, money plants, Virginia creeper, sedum, and wild daylilies.

When I left the townhouse I was in mourning for my daylilies but decided to move on from them. I also made the decision that my new home would be surrounded by perennials, but I would not add any daylilies to the ones already there. Feeling overwhelmed by all that needed to be done, I began to rework neglected beds adding various perennials here and there. I took out huge, overgrown shrubs and created beds. Then I began to plan, albeit slowly. Gardens are a work in progress always and an act of blind faith. Creating them is good for the soul.

The front of the house gets hot, hot, hot so much so that the front door in summer must be touched gingerly. The side beds get some sun and the back is in almost total shade. After working on things for two years I finally made some hard decisions. One of the most important is that I still love daylilies. It just made sense to put them where it is too hot for many other plants. So, early this morning found me outside adding a few daylilies to a bed we dug along the driveway. A couple of weeks ago, I added several to my front beds. Today I will place a little name tag next to each one so that I can always remember which daylily is which. While I do know many by name, I can still get confused when I have several of the same color.

As I stated above, I LOVE Oake’s Daylilies-- Every year Oake’s has a Daylily Festival and this year Rachael and I planned our trip to Tennessee around it. Each year we take Dad on an outing, and how convenient it is that Oake’s is only 45 minutes from his house and somewhat on our way home. We easily found the place and with two young children in tow, made our way to the fields. These beds are for show only; the beds from which they sell are located elsewhere. All in all, the breathtaking beauty of so many daylilies all in bloom at the same time made our heart sing. Needless to say, a pleasant time was had by all, and I can’t wait to go back next year. In the meantime, I will continue to work on my yard, a major work in progress.

More pictures from the Oake's Daylily Festival follow ...




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