During the months of May and June, Jan Joiner of Pembroke says a “sea of color” can be found on Highway 119 just outside the city limits.
That sea of color comes from various varieties of daylilies produced each year by Joiner Daylily Gardens, a business Joiner has been a part of for more than 25 years.
“In a community like this where you see nothing but cotton fields and soybeans and other things like that, to round the corner and see a sea of color — it just amazes people,” Joiner said.
“I mean, when it’s blooming, this place is absolutely gorgeous. I’ve even heard one lady say it ties with the tulips in Holland.”
Joiner Daylily Gardens has been in operation since 1962, when Joiner’s father-in-law, the late E.R. Joiner, founded the gardens in Savannah. Joiner said she and her husband, Royce, moved the gardens to Pembroke from Savannah in 2009.
Joiner said they specialize in cross-breeding daylilies to create new, award-winning varieties. Each daylily is hand-pollinated — a task that can take up to three hours or more, she said.
“You take the best characteristics from one and … you want to cross it with another one that maybe has a better flower—you want good branching and good foliage,” she said. “Daylily blooms just can’t be pretty anymore, they have to be unique.”
And many unique daylilies can be found at the gardens. Not only is Joiner Daylily Gardens nationally known, but several of the couple’s signature blooms, including the Peggy Jeffcoat, Firefly Frenzy, Sebastian the Crab varieties of daylilies, have all won awards, Joiner said.
“We’ve won quite a few national awards on our daylilies and my father-in-law and I have both won Bertrand Farr award,” she said. “It’s for a person who does the most to achieve things out of the daylily or with daylilies to further the improvement of daylilies. It’s the highest award a person can get.”
Additionally, the Joiners have registered more than 600 daylilies in their name, which is “quite an accomplishment,” she said.
But overall, Joiner said the gardens are most known for their doubles, meaning there are extra petals in the center of the flower. She said her father-in-law loved camellias, which also have double blooms.
“That’s how he got interested in doing doubles — it’s what he strived for,” she said. “It took him 20 years to get the double he was looking for, and he named it after his wife, Frances Joiner.”
The first year the gardens were in Pembroke, Joiner said she potted more than 4,000 daylilies. Each year, around 15,000 seeds are planted. Joiner said her favorite part is seeing the new seedlings.
“To see something you and God created, it’s just amazing,” she said.
Joiner, a former hairdresser, said if she wasn’t working year-round in the gardens, she would most likely do volunteer work with children or seniors because “there is a lot you can learn from them.”
She also credited her father-in-law for where she is today.
“When I first started, I thought all (daylilies) were pretty — and they still are,” she said. “But my father-in-law taught me to look at the quality. I have to credit him for everything I know. Without him, I wouldn’t know what I know today.”
Joiner Daylily Gardens is open from May 1-June 30 each year. They are open for sales from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.
To set up an appointment, call 912-443-1414. For more information, visit www.joinerdaylilygardens.com.