Ray's Oasis in the City
Where backyarding is so very rewarding.

When my Eileen and I purchased our home in 1996, the backyard contained a
weed-ridden lawn and a Silver Maple tree that was removed immediately to avoid
shallow roots and colorless autumn foliage.
EVERYTHING ELSE pictured in the
photos below has been added over the past ten years.
And it is all contained in a backyard-triangle
measuring 115' x 115' x 160'.



Contrary to contemporary wisdom very little actual planning went into
the design of my gardenscape. With little time to devote to it and a conservative budget,
my garden paradise mostly 'just happened.' It has evolved steadily - spurred on by
a love of day lilies, inspiration of our English friends, and
a desire to have perennial interest from spring to autumn.

Following the purchase of several daylily varieties and the opportunity to "come and dig what you want" from a friend, I'm now hybridizing and creating new beauties. My first 'named' cultivar - "Kalena Eileen" - came into bloom just four months following the birth of granddaughter Kalena. Does that make me a really proud grandpa or what?

Above left- Kalena is pointing out the beauty of "Grandpa's garden".
Above right, "KALENA EILEEN" - my first officially registered daylily cultivar.

Four unique trees (Cherry Dogwood - Cornus Mas, Silver King Sweet Gum - Liquidambar Styraliflua, Seven Sons Flower Tree - Heptacodium, and a Chinese Fringe Tree - Chionanthus retusus), were purchased from a local nursery (Hidden Hills, Utica, IN) specializing in plants that are seldom available in our in southern-Indiana-zone-6 location.
Placed randomly in the open lawn several years ago they were soon enveloped
by expanding daylily beds. Almost without notice my nostalgic English Garden happened.
Even now the beds continue to grow to accommodate more daylilies. Soon the lawn
will be mere pathways that my English mentor would call a "wibbly, wobbly walk."

Above left: Butterfly garden with Seven Sons Flower tree on left and Chinese Fringe Tree on right.
Also included are agastache, pink echinasea, Annabelle hydrangea, rudbeccia, and datura.
Above right: Clockwise from lower left - Double Golden daylily, physostegia, pink echinasea, Knockout rose, double-orange 'Kwanzo' daylily, 'Fred Wiche' daylily, 'Wine Delight' daylily, 'Quinn Buck' daylily and potted geranium. Lower-center are gladiolus not yet in bloom.

I began my garden adventure Latin-challenged. Amo, amas, amat and hemerocallis was about as far as it went. A few Latin "family names" are now familiar, and I just love to impress friends with an occasional "calacarpia" here
and a "heptocodium" there, just to astound!

Above left: Cleome, Emerald Green Arborvitae, double Knockout rose and Japanese boxwood lead the eye past the mailboxplanter and potted geraniums to the deck covered in Hyacinth Bean vine.
Above right: White echinasea, pepperment daylily, purple wave petunias take the eye to a grassy pathway beyond.

As of Spring-2008, my daylily collection includes 41 named cultivars and 38 other beauties whose identifications have been lost through numerous swaps. Soon, my original cultivars will dominate. There are 30 I'm watching closely to determine if there is a 'Vincent David' among them (Vincent was born February 5, and will not be outdone by big sister Kalena!).

Above Left: Daylilies 'Wine Delight', 'Fred Wiche' and 'Hamlet' each dance their mid-summer dance.
Above right: Warm daylilies in the foreground, yellow threadleaf coreopsis and Annabelle hydrangea in the
middle-ground, while tomatoes and fancy gourds share the raised bed byeond.

Additionally, over 125 seedlings are in their second season of growth.
Sundance Garden is my small oasis in the city.

Clockwise from lower left: Summer phlox, Kwanso daylily, Siloam Little Gold Coin, Simply Pretty, Joan Senior, Statuesque, Siloam Gold Coin, Tall Wine and Bright Sunset (in the 3 o'clock shadow area) and Kwanso.

It is enjoyed by neighbors, family and friends - all who marvel
at "how much work is involved." Duhhhhhhh, when was a hobby ever 'work'?
My hobby is like any hobby - exhausting and exciting, tiring but inspiring. And oh, did I mention:
Backyarding is so very rewarding!
Yes, you can quote me on that.