The science behind a green thumb

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 25, 2011

By Baileigh Rebowe


LAPLACE – Jimmy Terrio does more than just harvest the hundreds of daylilies in his back yard. He creates daylilies by using the pollen from one to make new and rare versions.

This year over 10 busloads of daylily enthusiasts will be trekking from Baton Rouge to tour Terrio’s garden and witness these creations. This tour is part of the agenda for those attending the 2011 American Hemerocallis Society National Convention in Baton Rouge, which starts today and lasts until Saturday. The society is a non-profit organization that promotes interest in and research of the hemerocallis flower, or daylily.

The process of crossbreeding daylilies is known as hybridizing, and those making the trip to the garden will have a chance to learn about the process and receive a guided tour of the daylilies, which have numerous colors, sizes and origins. Convention patrons who signed up for the garden tours will visit Terrio’s and six other daylily sites Friday and Saturday.

Terrio, who is president of the AHS New Orleans chapter and is a member of the Baton Rouge chapter, is excited to host a tour site this year and have the opportunity to showcase his garden, which according to him started as a small retirement hobby and flourished into a full-time job.

He said it gives him a good feeling when people come to appreciate what he has done. He takes pride in his hybridization of the lilies and even has lilies in his yard from other gardeners’ hybridization.

“By hybridization you can create something unique that no one else has, and that’s the fun part,” said Terrio.

The garden is packed with daylilies but stays very organized. A tag is placed near each lily that states the name, hybridizer and date the flower was created. Some have simple names based on colors like the purple and yellow “GO L.S.U.!”. Others are more special to Terrio like the one named after his mother, Rosalie.

Terrio said anyone is welcome to stop by and check out his garden at 22 Hackberry St. in LaPlace near St. Joan of Arc.