COLUMBIA — Every morning at 6 a.m., Marie Gentzsch is in her garden. Saturday morning was no different, but this time, she was on a mission. On Saturday, Gentzsch was on the search for perfect blooms.
Gentzsch was one of many local day lily enthusiasts to enter specimens from their gardens in the Central Missouri Hemerocallis Society’s annual day lily show, held from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Columbia Public Library.
Entering the show, which is a competition, can be stressful. Although each day lily plant has more than one bloom, each individual bloom is only open one day. Making predictions about what will bloom the day of the show can be difficult.
Also, the blooms are fragile and difficult to transport. One bloom brushing against another can damage both.
Sometimes, the stress gets to participants.
“It’s my last year,” Gentzsch said. “I’m not doing it anymore.”
Clarice Brown, Gentzsch’s daughter, quickly added that Gentzsch says this every year.
“It’s a stressful morning, but now it’s OK,” Brown said. “It’s fun.”
For the past two years, the day lily show has been held at the Columbia Public Library. Before that, it was held in the Columbia Mall.
The library staff is supportive and the location is convenient, said show Chairman Alice Havard.
“We get a lot of traffic,” Havard said.
The judges evaluated the entries in the morning, and the flowers were on display for public viewing later that day.
The competition was divided into two main categories: design and horticulture.
Entries in the design competition had to include day lilies in the design but could include other fresh plant material as well as props. The theme this year in the design competition was “Summer Games.” The subcategories were hopscotch, hide and seek, kick the can and double dutch.
“The designer tries to do a design that reflects the title,” design judge Barb Schutte said.
The horticulture competition was divided by type of day lily. Among the categories were miniature blooms and “doubles,” which are flowers that look like a bloom within a bloom.
Judges look at how well the bloom is groomed. It must be bug-free with no holes, breaks or brown spots.
Most years, the show occurs slightly after the peak blooming period for day lilies. This year, however, the cooler weather caused the blooming season to shift a little later in the year.
“We’re right about peak bloom,” Havard said.