Roses vs. Daylilies

Daylilies are the embodiment of summer. My grandfather used to have huge gardens full, and he gave me some several years ago. They make me happy.

Miles run yesterday: 4.5

Clothes my mother folded at my house because she was horrified felt sorry for me: 54

Hours we have spent in the past six days sitting on my sister’s deck (the baby bluebirds flew away!): 20

My mother said she heard one time that there are two types of gardeners: Rose gardeners and Daylily gardeners.

Rose gardeners prepare the soil, carefully plant the roses, spray them with pest deterrents, prune them and cut them back for the winter. If they see black spot, they take extreme measures and baby the roses. When there are extravagant blooms, they cut off the best ones and display them inside.

Daylily gardeners stick the plants in the ground and say, “Grow.”

My grandfather is a master gardener and a big talker. He says he’s grumpy with his plants and pretends to throw them out in the side yard.

Then, when no one can see how much he loves them, he carefully digs a hole just the right amount deep and knows just the right amount of soil conditioner to use. His gardens look like the type my parents used to parade us through as kids; the ones where I whined and said it was hot and could we please go somewhere fun.

The proof is in the pudding: you have never eaten a tomato as good as a tomato from my grandfather’s garden.

I told my mom that maybe my grandfather is a Rose gardener masquerading as a Daylily gardener.

But the more I think about it, a master gardener must be both: the type of person who prepares and creates the best possible conditions and coddles while still allowing nature to take its course.

There is a magic about people who have a feel for gardening; they sense the right amounts, commune with the plants. When they run their fingers along the leafy tomato plants or flowering camelias, the foliage seems to lean into the caress.

I started this post thinking that I was a Daylily sort of writer, one who doesn’t coddle but allows nature to take its course. But as I continued to write, I realized that through strong editing, I need to develop my Rose-type skills. Pruning and babying and fertilizing and treating the black spot.

Which type of writer are you? How much do you rely on intuition, and how much do you fuss over your work to create a beautiful finished product?


14 thoughts on “Roses vs. Daylilies

  1. crubin says:

    I’m a major pruner. On the other hand, I do like to remain open-minded enough to let nature take its course. And of course, I’m speaking of writing. My skills in the garden are non-existent. 🙂

  2. Daryl says:

    Not a writer, but if I had to choose, I’m a rose gardener. Preparation and forethought is key. I prepare the soil, then condition, create shade, light and water irrigation for the soil, and I grow the strongest and tallest weeds known to man. Does this qualify as having a green thumb?

  3. Melissa says:

    I’m a Rose masquerading as a Day Lily…I like for what I write to appear easy, comfy and light hearted but it takes an hour of editing to get it there and that’s just a blog post…letters or anything else, ugh! As far as the gardening….yikes! I’m a Day Lily with murderous tendencies….it’s really sad. Your Grandfather would look at me and just shake his head. Tsk. Tsk.

  4. I am definitely a daylilly writer. However, I am cultivating my rose side.

  5. char says:

    In my real garden and yard, I’m definitely the Day Lily gardener (or Iris–they’re hardy too). With writing, I’m the opposite–I am an obsessive pruner and shearer once the story is written–to get the story, I like for nature to take its course. Great post. I think I want to read more from you.

  6. jmmcdowell says:

    What a great analogy! Definitely a daylily gardener when I start, but the rose mentality has to kick in on the editing/revising/rewrite stages. Daylilies do need thinning now and again, after all, to keep blooming for years.

  7. robincoyle says:

    Guilty. I’m a fusser.

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