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Not your garden variety lilies

Created date

June 8th, 2015
Cedar Crest resident
Cedar Crest resident

Over the course of the last 30 years, more than 1,000 daylily bulbs have passed through the hands of Carolyn Young. 

She and her husband began growing the hardy perennial in the early 1980s. At one time, they held a record for the largest number of lilies in their Medford, Long Island, garden. In 2006, it was one of seven private gardens on Long Island that were part of a tour for the American Hemerocallis Society (AHS) National Convention. 

They were one of about 330 designated AHS National Display Gardens for several years, and now, Carolyn hopes that will be recognized as one, too.

Removing the stumbling block

Carolyn had visited several Erickson Living communities. While she appreciated their amenities and maintenance-free lifestyle, she hesitated to move for fear of leaving her beloved lilies. 

“It’s really been my stumbling block, but I like the concept and the location of Cedar Crest in the mountains,” she recalls telling Sales Associate Margarete Hastings. 

Hastings and the sales team wasted no time in attempting to accommodate Carolyn and her daylilies. They made a plan to work with Cedar Crest Grounds Supervisor Ted Thiessen to transplant more than 250 varieties of daylilies to two locations at the community. 

“This was an effort to bring the whole person to Cedar Crest. The daylilies were a huge part of Carolyn’s life, and it was important to have a part of home come here. We can’t do it with everything and everyone, but we are happy we were able to make this happen,” Thiessen says. “It really enhances the community and adds that personal touch.”

Carolyn says thanks to Cedar Crest’s efforts, she has been able to maintain most of her collection. “Ted planted them where they would be visible to people, considering sprinklers, sun, and space,” Carolyn notes. She says he even diagramed the layout, labeling the location and names of each type.

Thiessen and his team planted two beds—one by Cedar Crest’s Parkview residence building and the other in front of Hampton Place. “The areas where they were planted were enhanced. They’re going to be beautiful in a couple of years once they are established,” Thiessen says.  

Last fall, the transplant effort took place, and this month, residents and visitors will begin to see the fruits—and flowers—of their labor. The daylilies will begin blooming at the end of June and continue into August, depending on the weather, Carolyn says.

Among the 250 types of lilies at Cedar Crest, admirers can expect to see a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. From the miniature gold “stella diora” to the stunning “pink wonder,” some sport smooth edges while others are crinkled. Their sizes range from under three inches to over ten.  And they come in every color but blue, “though they are working desperately to find a blue,” Carolyn says.

Enjoyment over upkeep

Carolyn moved to her new, two-bedroom apartment home at Cedar Crest in March and eagerly awaits the colorful display. 

She also looks forward to the first season in more than 30 years that she won’t have to worry about yard and garden maintenance. At Cedar Crest, all home and yard maintenance is a thing of the past. Thiessen and his crew care for the professionally landscaped grounds, including Carolyn’s daylilies. 

“I think, for me, I’ll be so happy I’ll be able to enjoy them and not have to take care of them,” she says. “We did it for so many years.”

She might, however, turn her green thumb to a small garden of annuals she can cut to add color to her apartment, where she already grows orchids and tropical plants. Cedar Crest has a community garden area of 110, 8- by 8-foot gardens and a garden club of 80 to 85 members.

Aside from her own pleasure, Carolyn hopes others will treasure her gift to the community. “Flowers often bring people together and bring people pleasure. I think people will enjoy them,” she says.