Beauty is in the
eyes of the arranger, especially when it comes to Frances Thrash and
As head of the
design division for southeastern Virginia’s Tidewater Daylily
Society’s annual plant sale and flower show, Thrash knows how to
work daylilies into eye-catching floral arrangements.
daylilies can be stunning specimens in floral arrangements, they do
come with their downside: The flowers are here today and gone
tomorrow. Even so, Thrash thinks the flowers are worth the trouble and
always use daylilies with other flowers and/or foliage — never just
by themselves," says Thrash. Her arrangement in the 2013 show won
first place and went on to win the National Award for the American
entering the flower show, I look for a stalk that has a bud/buds ready
to open — vivid color and just cracking open. These will last for
this one-day show. No matter how they are treated, they are one-day
flowers, hence the name ‘Daylily.’ "
In addition to
showing daylilies, Thrash grows about 50 varieties of daylilies among
many other plants in her garden in Virginia Beach, Va.
very easy to grow," she says.
sun and bloom best with at least six hours of sun. A little fertilizer
in the spring increases their size and number of buds on a stalk, as
will watering them about an inch per week. Never-fail daylilies are
the ‘ditch’ lilies, which are orange and come in single and double
blooms. They literally will grow in a ditch without any care. Others
that are wonderful are Stella D’Oro and Lemon Lollipop —
rebloomers that will bloom several times during the growing
When you arrange
daylilies for indoor use, treat them with care, Thrash advises.
Bumping them into other flowers or foliage causes the buds to
"pop" off and/or get damaged.
"I carry a
bucket of water to the garden, cut what I will use and immediately
place them in the water," she says.
preservative will keep them fresh longer, specially the buds, which
will open later in the week. Preferably, I like to use stems that have
a number of buds on them that will open sequentially with different
foliage. The arrangement changes daily as the buds open and others
preferences in foliage are pittosporum, aspidistra, aucuba, canna
leaves, hostas and ferns that are hardened — not new growth. Pure
water in a vase or floral foam is easier and if kept wet, keeps the
that look good with daylilies in arrangements include herbs, butterfly
weed, cockscomb, hellebores and roses, if the colors coordinate,
according to Thrash.
only one of many flowers Thrash uses in floral arrangements that have
won her awards in many shows over the years. Working with flowers
comes natural to her and has for 60 years. Her mom was a floral
designer and garden club member, and Thrash was a mere six-year-old
when she joined a junior garden club.
the basics at that tender age: correct proportion, lines and amounts
to put in an arrangement," says Thrash, who is also a floral
certification teacher at Norfolk (Va.) Botanical Garden, which offers
a multi-week course annually. She still works professionally for
Wholesale Flower Market and for herself, doing parties and weddings.
Her awards from
flower shows are many, according to those who know her. Even Thrash
has lost count, she says. She’s president of the Tidewater District
of the Virginia Federation of Garden Clubs, as well as a master judge
and president of the Virginia Flower Show Judges Council. Thrash
teaches Flower Show School for the National Garden Clubs throughout
the United States, according to her biography, and is a member of
three garden clubs
always loved flowers from my early years onward, and still find great
joy in them visually and physically, with both the touch and the smell
of most of them," Thrash says.
"I love to
teach and share my love of flower arranging with others. It’s
generally a peaceful and inspiring experience."