One thousand is a conservative estimate of the number of daylilies that will be blooming on Saturday, June 27 when Anne and Charlie Gomer of Gettysburg host “Brunch at Gettysburg Daylilies,” a new fundraiser event to benefit the nonprofit Adams County Arts Council (ACAC).
“On any given day in summer, from the end of June to the second week in August, there are thousands of daylilies in bloom,” Gomer explains. “There are close to 2,000 different cultivars, or different plants, about 1,000 that I have purchased and another 1,500 of my own that I have crossed. So yes it’s safe to say we’ll have at least a thousand blooms here on June 27.”
Gomer, an ACAC board member, will welcome attendees, along with his wife Anne, from 10 am – 1 pm on June 27 to enjoy a delicious outdoor brunch—along with a feast for the eyes, as guest gaze upon daylilies of every color imaginable.
“There isn’t a species of another flower that varies as much as the daylily,” according to Gomer, who is a Master Gardener, having undergone the rigorous training and community service required by the Penn State Extension Service’s program. “I have daylilies that range in size from 13 inches all the way down to the miniature varieties under three and a half inches.”
You could say it’s a hobby that has “taken root” in a big way. Gomer, who retired in 2006 as a high school technology and business teacher, says he was seeking a “meaningful purpose in life in terms of community service” after spending 35 years teaching accounting, computer applications, business law, business math and other related subjects.
He says becoming a Master Gardener appealed to him because it was a way of taking care of our earth, plus it provided a brand new outlet and interest. Gomer’s initial goal was to “maintain the yard and keep things healthy” but it quickly blossomed into a specific area of gardening.
A guest speaker, Diane Kendig of York, came to talk to the Master Gardener about daylilies, and Gomer was intrigued. “I stopped by her place (Perfect Perennials) and I had never seen so many daylilies in my life.”
“Up until that point, daylilies were like a filler plant to me, but when I saw all those daylilies… I realized they were more than orange, red and yellow… and I knew I wanted some.”
That was 2008, and after establishing his garden, adding at least 100 cultivars a year, Gomer says his interest and garden have both likely hit their peak.
When asked if he has a favorite variety, it’s hard for Gomer to choose one specific variety. “I like the kind that have complex patterns, and I also like the ruffles or edges on a daylily. With the complex patterns, the petal is one color, with the eye being a different complimentary color, and then the edge of lily will pick up same color as eye and throat.”
“So some of my favorite daylilies have a greenish- yellowish throat with purple or blue petals… I like all the blues but they are hard to grow–not as hardy,” Gomer says.
Guests on June 27 will not only enjoy seeing rows upon rows of daylilies in bloom, but Gomer promises another surprise is in store.
“Most people will see a peacock that they’ve never seen before,” Gomer claims. In addition to the standard India blue variety, the Gomers currently own five other varieties—chocolate bronze color peacocks, plus a Cameo or taupe variety, peach, purple, white and midnight which is a dark teal color.
Gomer says he looks forward to sharing the joy and beauty of his property with attendees on June 27—just one day that can be thought of a snapshot in time, as his garden continues to develop and evolve through this summer and the summers to come.
“The name daylily comes from the Greek word Hemerocallis which means ‘beauty for a day,’” he explains. Each bud opens for only one day, although the scapes (or stems) can produce up to 30 buds, so that one clump can continue blooming for several weeks. He is hopeful that June 27 will bring a fantastic variety of blooms.
“The Arts Council is certainly an asset to the community. As a board member I try to think and help wherever I can—I try to bring a different viewpoint, from a business perspective… I’m not an artist,” Gomer says.
Many people would probably disagree… It’s just that Gomer “paints” his landscapes, not with oil or watercolor paints, but with a colorful palette of daylilies.
Brunch at Gettysburg Daylilies:
Saturday, June 27 from 10 am – 1 pm
Location: 45 Sachs Road, Gettysburg
Details: $30 per person with reservations requested by June 24
Click here to secure your reservations today! Or call the ACAC at 717-334-5006
Bonus: Take a daylily (or two) home with you! Gomer has potted many varieties for guests to select from and take home to their own gardens. Partial proceeds benefit the ACAC!
Rain date: June 28
A few more fascinating facts from Charlie Gomer:
Recent daylilies added to the garden have come from CA, TX, FL, GA and NY – “I enjoy accumulating them from different sources to make garden interesting,” Gomer says.
Time spent in the garden:
- 25 hours a week every April, for mulching and preparing the beds for the upcoming season
- More than 25 hours a week in May, when weeding is added to the gardening chores. Gomer is quick to add that gardening is not a solo pursuit. “Anne is right there alongside of me—we spend a lot of time together in the garden.”
- 2 hours daily, during the rest of the summer through August
Amount of mulch required by the gardens every year: 20 yards
Societies to which the Gomers belong:
To learn more and see more gorgeous images, click here for a recent Celebrate Gettysburg magazine article featuring Gomer’s gardens.