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At Home With: Pam Rutledge

Retired interior decorator; West Tuckahoe Village

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I just got back from Florida. We call it the day lily mecca down there because so many of the big hybridizers have their gardens open for touring. There are about 50,000 different kinds now, and they started hybridizing them back in the early 1900s from about nine to 13 originals that came from China.

These vintage day lilies have given us all the new ones we have -- doubles, spiders, UFOs, minis - there's lots of terms. The hybridizers have been fighting hard to get a solid blue one, but that hasn't happened yet.

I brought back a lot of new ones so that Richmonders can see some of the ones that are being produced now that you won't find in any of the greenhouses. This is our sixth year for a backyard open garden. We run it from June 9 to June 30.

You know you're obsessed when you go to the garden center and buy a few more day lilies than you meant to and go home and enter them in your checkbook as CVS purchases so husband won't get mad.

If you get up early in the morning, you can collect pollen from one day lily and cross it with another, and you'll get a totally new plant.

I have an Elvis Presley theme going. I grew up 60 miles south of Memphis, so we went by Graceland every weekend for grocery shopping, and I got to shake his hand once. But I do love him as a Southern gentleman, so I have Elvis: Heart of a Southern Gentleman; Rock 'n' Roll Forever; Those Elvis Eyes; Girls, Girls, Girls; Number One Fan Club; Gold Record; Priscilla; Lisa Marie. There are a lot of dark eyes and dark edges, thinking of his black hair,

I love being outside every day, and I'm glad that I can share the joy with others, because that's the only reason to have so many. We encourage children to come, too, because I think our future is to enjoy gardening. If a child has respect for gardening, it seems like he has more respect for the whole world. HS

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