How I Met Sammy Russell

Last week I was interrupted before I really looked at the boxed perennials at Walmart and we had to go. This week I was up to my own devices and found some interesting daylilies. My choices were ‘Little Women’ which appeared to be a buff pink, ‘Romantic Rose’ — a sort of ruffled pink; ‘El Desperado’ was the only one one I had heard of before, soft yellow with a plum eye.

At home, they looked like healthy roots. I passed over some that had thrown new growth though tears in the bagging. I put them in a ‘Super Thrive’ solution to soak and rehydrate.

Late this afternoon, I went ahead and planted Little Women after I moved and divided two clumps of ‘Salmon Sheen’ to the back of a bed that has mostly oranges. The three little crowns were tucked in between some clumps of ‘Faiy Tale Pink’ and in front of ‘Lullaby Baby’ that is viewed from the other side.

As I was planting, I suddenly remembered the first daylily in a box I ever bought at Walmart. It was labeled ‘Ed Murray’ and the photo was a dark maroon, pretty round daylily. I should have known better. When it bloomed, it was small, thin petaled and scarlet. The next year, that daylily took off. It grew, it multiplied, it survived both drought and being planted next to the birdbath where water dripped all day and it bloomed!

I finally learned the true name. ‘Sammy Russell’ was hybridized by a Texas grower who had a son named Sammy. I think it was 1951 when he registered Sammy. It’s been used by landscapers ever since.

Mislabeling is not just at big box stores. It’s how I came to have ‘Siloam Ury Winniford’ instead of ‘Pineapple Crush’ from the daylily show and sale in town. Winniford has happily bloomed with a red eye next to red pentas in the butterfly garden, a happy mistake, again.

If the daylilies I bought today are mislabeled, they’ll happily hop on the little wagon when it rolls by next spring and I’ll move them to a site where they’ll blend in. I’ll buy extras at the daylily sale, just in case.

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1 Comment

  1. dot

     /  March 27, 2008

    Funny post! I’ve never paid much attention to the names like that. I did hear that a man up this way has a kind of okra named after him but I don’t know why.

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