Kentucky Daylily Fans: How We Got Started
Kentucky Daylily Fans sprouted from a group of four Master Gardeners who are daylily addicts. One of the ladies knew a man just south of Henderson, KY who sold daylilies, and she took us to buy some. As we got to know him, he invited us to the sales and club meetings of the daylily club in Evansville, IN, SWIDS, (Southwestern Indiana Daylily Society). All four of us joined that club in the fall of 2010, and were introduced by one of us as the "Sod Sisters" and have been called that ever since. I became very active in that club, and am vice-president, as well as being sales co-chair . Two of us have also attended the Mid-Winter Symposium in Nashville for four years and also the last two years’ national conventions in Columbus and Minneapolis, and are registered for the Asheville convention as well.
However, Evansville is an hour drive from Madisonville and one of the Sod Sisters lives a half hour south of us. She got tired of driving an hour and a half back home at night after the meeting, so dropped out. We had tossed around the idea of starting our own club, since there was not one in western Kentucky. I had actually e-mailed somebody in AHS back in 2008 or 2009, and had gotten no response. But I talked to someone else last year at the Nashville MWS, and I was sent a packet of materials about starting a club.
We e-mailed everybody in our Master Gardener's group and also the local herb club, and decided to have an organizational meeting in August, 2012. We had a reasonable response, and had nine people at our first meeting. We began meeting once a month, on the 1st Thursday evening of the month, usually at somebody's house, and for a while had about seven at a meeting. We chose the name KENTUCKY DAYLILY FANS, which one of our newbies suggested, and chose officers. We haven't made any by-laws or anything at this point. We’re not very formal, and since there are just a few of us, it hasn't seemed necessary yet.
It is a very small club, but we have two or three people who are new to daylilies, and it is so much fun to indoctrinate them. Unfortunately, several people kept having conflicts with the meeting time. So I thought of a strategy to encourage attendance.
Since many of my daylilies were in need of dividing, I thought I would offer an incentive last spring. I made a list of about 150 plants that I would try to dig some time that season. Then I e-mailed everybody with the news that my plants would be free to club members, and they would get a chance to choose what they wanted at the next meeting. The attendance was much better!
We had no money, except the $12 dues we collected from members, which gave us enough money to join AHS as a club. But we got our first opportunity to add to the treasury last spring. The Master Gardeners had a Lawn and Garden Fair, and we sold the leftover daylilies from about sixty plants I dug. Everyone in the club pitched in and helped wash and pot them for the sale. We made $365! Not bad for our first sale! Then SWIDS allowed us to sell our leftovers at their May sale, so we made a couple hundred more. We still haven’t decided whether we want to spend the money on a speaker’s expenses or on new plants. The main benefit, though, was not the money, it was the way this activity pulled everyone together and made us feel like a real club.
Since we did not have money to get speakers, we listed topics of interest, and everybody picked a topic to present at one of the meetings. We took two trips last June, one to Marguerite Oakes’ Trenton Daylilies, and another to Kirchhoff and Morss’ Daylily World.
We now meet at the Hopkins County Extension Office unless the meeting rooms are otherwise engaged, still on the first Thursday evening. We hope to sell daylilies again at our Master Gardener spring fair, and also take some more trips.