Joann Stewart

Joann Stewart's Simonton Bridge Daylily Farm

Simonton Bridge Daylily Farm is a nationally certified AHS Display Garden, where you may view an array of cultivars. Plants are clearly marked with name, hybridizer, year of introduction and plant season.

The farm is a personal garden that got "out of hand" after purchasing inventory from a closing sales garden. My daylily fascination began with my mother’s request to accompany her to a daylily garden in a nearby town. I agreed, but secretly wondered why she’d want to visit, since "all daylilies are orange," and we saw them frequently alongside roads—happily growing on banks and in ditches.

Boy, was I wrong about modern daylily colors and forms!

To my amazement, there appeared to be daylilies in colors ranging from white through tones of tan, brown, pink, rose, red, lilac, purple, and black—and shapes from the tightest "rosebud" to loose, loopy cascading petals—and plant heights from ankle level to those extending above my head. (Can you tell I was hooked immediately?) I purchased 25 that day, and later I snuck back and bought 50 more. The same summer. Twice.

I don’t have a botanical background. I was an educator, first in Scotland, then at UGA, and retired to run an antique shop with my husband. Research skills were handy, though, and I became first an exhibitions judge (flower show judge) then an instructor for judges and later worked with the national American Hemerocallis Society organization in Judges Education. I continue to judge and to teach classes in judging, and to help fledgling gardeners who visit and want to learn.

My location in zone 8b is fortunate as I can grow evergreen, semi-evergreen, and dormant daylilies. My garden is watered overhead, and my inventory currently hovers at about 2775 different registered cultivars. I also trial about 1500+ seedlings, which are held for observation before registration. That’s a lot of plants for a one-acre space, but they thrive and give me endless pleasure. 

I don’t pamper my plants, preferring to see how they perform with little to no supplementary fertilizer. That treatment gives me accurate bud counts and branching count when I registered a seedling. To date, I’ve registered 34 cultivars, striving for plants with stellar branching and bud counts, which give long bloom times and great performance no matter where they’re grown. My specialty has been spiders and unusual form daylilies, but I’ve recently become more interested in small and miniature forms (as I run out of room). Do look for some future introductions which are more compact and suit a small garden.