Anne Arundell daylilies arrive in state

Flowers to help mark founding of region

April 04, 1999|By TaNoah Morgan | TaNoah Morgan,SUN STAFF

It took 350 years, but Lady Anne Arundell has finally reached the New World.

Anne of Arundell, the English noblewoman who married Cecil Calvert, second Lord of Baltimore in 1618, never set foot in Maryland.

But this spring, she will be seen along the shore at Annapolis' City Dock, at elementary schools and highway entrances into the county bearing her name.

Lady Anne Arundell, a new daylily with light wine-colored petals and gold throats, comes to Maryland as part of the 350th anniversary of the Puritans' founding of the region.

"She's going to be a tremendous teaching tool to educate our children on history and horticulture," said Don Riddle, president of Homestead Gardens in Davidsonville.

Riddle traveled to Holland in January in search of an unnamed flower for the celebration. When he found the right one, he brought all 5,000 plants in existence back to Maryland in hopes of unveiling the bloom at a ceremony in May.

"We're going to divvy them up very carefully," Riddle said. Some will go to elementary schools, he said, and at least 100 will be planted around City Dock in Annapolis.

Daylilies are native to Asia, but they are believed to have crossed the Atlantic with European settlers. Organizers of Celebrate 350 Annapolis and Anne Arundel singled out the flower as a symbol for the city and county because its image is clearly seen in a family crest of Edward Lloyd, who led the Providence settlement, the first in this region.

While not native to the United States, daylilies are among the most popular flowers nationwide, said Martha Seaman, vice president of the 12,000-member American Hemerocallis (or daylily) Society.

There are more than 45,000 registered varieties of the low-maintenance flowers in the world, she said. The hearty plants grow almost anywhere, and although blooms only last a day -- hence the name -- each stalk usually has several blooms. Some varieties have more than one flowering period, and the plants are known to bloom from late spring until autumn.

Seaman said the flowers followed the path of settlers.

"Pioneers could just take them across the country bare root and plant them," she said. "The ones you see along the road were brought from Europe."

Lady Anne Arundell has not officially been registered with the AHS, a spokeswoman said, but the plants' growers at Van Bloem Garden of Holland said they hope to begin that process this summer. They have to submit photographs of the flower along with reports about how it grows and when it blooms.

Riddle said he had set out to find a plant with a vibrant color, that reproduced quickly and had an extended blooming time. Lady Anne Arundell begins to bloom in June, and reaches the height of its second flowering period in July. The plant can grow up to 26 inches high with blooms 5 to 6 inches in diameter.

The flowers will go on sale May 22 at Homestead Gardens and will cost between $15 and $20.

Pub Date: 4/04/99

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