There are two National Collections of Hemerocallis on the Isle of Wight; ‘large flowered – post 1960 awards’, held by Andy Wyers and ‘miniature and small flowered’, held by his wife Jan. With such a large genus, defining a scope such as this is the only way to hold a representative collection of plants.
Mercy and I definitely felt a sense of achievement when we arrived at Little Hermitage, in the middle of nowhere, at the end of a very rough track, having cycled there from Ryde. I think Jan and Andy thought we were a little mad. We were bowled over by the first sight of the garden – from the top of the slope a kaleidoscope of colours and shapes stretched out before us.
We were like children in a sweet shop as we walked down through the flower beds, admiring the colours, shapes and forms of the flowers. Jan told us that she has had artists trying to paint the flowers, but they change so much during the day both in the way the petals are held and as the colour fades, they are almost impossible to capture accurately.
They are planted in colour groupings to facilitate comparison and Jan showed us her laminated record sheets which visitors can take out into the garden to help them locate a cultivar.
There was even a plant with an appropriate name for Mercy – nothing was strained.
Jan is doing a lot of work on breeding new plants with particular attributes – she is looking for a branching flower stem which allows each new bloom to be best displayed. As part of her work in this field she tried to import a plant from the USA and it was held up in customs. However via Mercy she contacted Andrew Gaunt (NCH of Hedychium) whose day job is working for FERA on plant health and Andrew was able to guide her through the import system. This outstanding cultivar was worth the effort.
Andy and Jan have lived on St Catherine’s Down for more than 30 years
and with a view like this – I can see why
Enjoy these close-ups of just a few of the plants which caught my eye