Garden Of The Week 2017-2018 Series 12
Proudly Presents

Stuart & Diane Kendig
York, Pennsylvania
 flag USA

"Welcome to Perfect Perennials"

spacerDiane and Stuart Kendig garden on 3½ acres in York Pennsylvania. The garden was started in 2½ acres in 1986. The only feature on the property that dates from the start is the ½ acre pond and the 19th century barn. Originally the pond was used by the former owners to raise poultry so the property was enclosed by a 36" high fence to contain the ducks and geese and chickens. The fence has been screened by a planting of 300 forsythia bushes that has served to contain the dogs that would soon roam the property, and to exclude the deer that still roam outside the fence.

spacerThe Kendigs attended the National Tour in Washington DC in 1987 and were inspired by the fantastic gardens that were exhibited. After that tour and subsequent tours of the Delaware Valley gardens, the plantings were steadily increased in scope and the daylily collection mushroomed.

spacerSoon, the adjacent one acre parcel was purchased to provide space for parking, room for greenhouses, a field for seedlings, and a barn to store lots of stuff.

spacerDiane potted a few hundred daylilies and visited various local garden centers to see if they were interested in purchasing newer varieties of daylilies. In fact, there was a huge demand for new daylily cultivars.

 Stuart and Diane Kendig

spacer Garden centers, however, want to see plants early in the spring before daylilies bloom or show much foliage. We added greenhouses so that the potted daylilies would be blooming 3-4 weeks ahead of their natural schedule. The greenhouses were large cold frames and heat was only used in the spring after the daylilies started to push new growth.

spacerPerfect Perennials also offered retail pots for sale. As time progressed, the retail traffic increased and by 2008 the wholesale business was entirely replaced by retail sales. The gardens at Perfect Perennials were open 5 days per week. Peak bloom in early July required 16 man-hours to deadhead the garden and the garden was deadheaded every day. Some visitors would only shop in the retail area where about 400 varieties were available. Other visitors would spend an hour or more exploring the garden. And other visitors came with picnic lunches, or to take photographs, or paint the landscape.

spacerAll gardens evolve over time. This is especially true in a garden that is dug regularly to obtain plant material for sale. The gardens are irrigated with drip irrigation and also overhead sprinklers. In the beginning we had plants lined out in some beds for wholesale use. Gradually, as the gardens developed, maturing trees were removed, beds were reshaped, and many perennials and dwarf conifers were added. Diane coordinated the colors to create a 150 ft long yellow border, a hot border (orange, gold, yellow and red) and other color schemes. Today the garden includes large plantings of acanthus, hydrangea, conifers, and intersectional peonies. The nursery was closed to customers in 2015 and most of the greenhouses were removed. Perfect Perennials remains an AHS Display Garden. The task ahead is to modify the gardens to reduce the workload required to maintain the garden.

spacerAdjacent to the display gardens are the seedling beds Stuart uses for hybridizing. The seedling beds include 1,000 new seedlings each year plus 1,000 young plants blooming for the first time, and 1,000 3rd year plants which will be composted by September. Promising seedlings are selected during their two bloom years and transplanted for further evaluation. Selected plants may be grown for another 3-5 years; a few are selected for introduction and most are eventually turned into compost. For twenty years Stuart has been concentrating on breeding red edged daylilies. His current interest focuses on white daylilies and tetraploid striped daylilies.

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