For weeks, Michelle's mother and sister have been preparing for this day. Each morning – often before anyone in our family has risen – they pop off into their expansive gardens for some tending. Each evening, after a day of work and following a quick dinner, they're back in the gardens, working until sundown, which can be as late 9 p.m.
Why do they do it? Well, it's to prepare for the visit by the regional day lily society, of course.
Yes, the Murken ladies are one of only four stops on this year's "Dazzling Daylilies of Cedar Valley" tour. It's a big honor to have your grounds – and the day lilies in them – to be chosen as a destination.
The club's organizers made the right choice, in my book. The Murken gardens are indeed fabulous, and that's coming from someone who could barely tell the difference between a day lily and a dandelion. The flowers are a riot of colors and all are meticulously cared for. They stand in row upon row, in plot among plot, over four acres of the Murken property. That's a lot of day lilies, folks. 700, in fact.
Here's an excerpt for how the club described the Murken garden in a brochure for the tourgoers:
"Sharon's luscious city/country garden now features cultivars from many hybridizers, with favorites from Karol Emmerich and Jack Carpenter. Keep an eye out for 'Shocking,' an orienpet lilium that provides an astonishing display among the day lilies."
I have no idea what they're talking about.
But the 50 or so people from Iowa and as far away as North Dakota who disembarked from the coach-style tour bus sure did. Around 8:30 this morning (almost an hour later than expected), they disgorged on to the Murken property and descended upon the breakfast tables that Michelle's mother and sister had prepared.
About an hour later, a call went out, and the group ambled up the lane and back on to the bus, which, thankfully, did not attempt to maneuver its way fully down the meandering drive. And off the tour went to the next destination.
Another crew comes later today.