Thursday, June 22, 2006
Chamber After Hours visits daylily nursery
By SUE WATSON
Sheperd Farm Daylily Nursery at 384 Turner Cove in Red Banks is the place to go for anyone who wants to see fields of daylilies in full bloom. It was the location of the Holly Springs Chamber of Commerce’s quarterly Business After Hours, Thursday.
The nursery was started by Richard Williamson, a Mid-South sales representative for the large wholesale grower, Bracy’s Nursery in Amite, La.
The daylily farm is near Highway 78 making it easy for him to get on the interstate for a commute to work in Memphis.
“I moved here in 1997 and started the nursery in about 2000,” he said. “I have had an open garden sale the last three years.”
Williamson picks the first three months of June to showcase his daylilies to the local community because that is the month when most of the varieties are in full bloom. A buyer can “see” what their lilies will look like before making a selection.
Williamson said his fields were open grasslands when he bought the property and his adventure with daylilies began with Stella de’ Oro short yellows. He selected his middle name for the farm which is also his mother’s maiden name.
He has built his personal business up to about 275 varieties, but also has other plants, hostas, berries, banana plants and asparagus.
The first three years Williamson built up stock by dividing the rhizomes so he would eventually have enough to sell to customers. The rhizomes (fleshy roots) are divided in the late spring and early fall when there’s enough rainfall and the weather is cool enough to get the propagated plants established.
He sells the bare roots to growers who want to establish the lilies in containers for resale. The plants can also be purchased directly on the Internet. Retail garden centers also buy the lilies to pot out.
Williamson was careful to explain to visitors last week that his daylily business is his personal business, not his main job but a weekend hobby that’s turned into a part-time business of his own.
“We ship to garden centers, landscape contractors and rewholesalers,” he said. “Daylilies are perennials and come back every year. They are relatively easy to take care of.
He thanked the visitors and his neighbor Rev. R.J. Wilson for suggesting his farm as a place for Business After Hours.
Food for the event was prepared by Liz Trainer.
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