Suzanne’s Joy

Suzanne's Joy
Hemerocallis ‘Suzanne’s Joy’. Photo © Jenn Nash, 2014

by Jennifer Nash

Most of our followers will know that my brother — and business partner — Joel has amassed quite a collection of daylilies here at Prosperity Acres. In designing the gardens at his Richmond Hill home, daylilies became a passion. He’ll tell you, “they are the best low maintenance perennial. The only drawback is the flowers don’t come in a true blue colour.”

We grow out his mother plants to see how hardy they are before dividing and making them available for sale. He has a ‘scientific’ method for choosing new varieties for his collection. It involves a spreadsheet with columns for height, bloom size, bloom time, fragrance, when it was registered with The American Hemerocallis Society, and so on.

Greg, Joel’s former room–mate presented Joel with a division of Suzanne’s Joy some years ago for his hoard. Greg knew Joel would appreciate the story behind the naming of Suzanne’s Joy. Often you never know the reason behind the name of a plant. This gift came with an 11×17 two-sided photocopy of a story written by journalist Paul Leavoy.

Yesterday Suzanne’s Joy started blooming away in our grow–out. Realizing I still didn’t have a photograph of her for my image library, I hauled out the 35mm. Photographing this daylily reminded me I had Paul’s story clipped to my copy board. I contacted him today and he provided permission for me to share excerpts with you. Note: Not sure why the breeder claims that Suzanne is a late–bloomer? She has reliably bloomed mid–season at Prosperity Acres.

~ Jenn

Late–bloomer honours teacher’s legacy

Hybrid flower named after Vaughan teacher killed in 2006 impaired driving crash

by PAUL LEAVOY, Weekly Staff Writer @paulleavoy
July 18, 2007, Vaughan Weekly

+++In Suzanne Mizuno’s likeness it was created, and her memory it will forever evoke.
+++It’s Suzanne’s Joy, a hybrid flower and a new unique species named in honour of Mizuno, a Woodbridge Public School music teacher who met an untimely end last year.
+++Suzanne and her brother Jamie were driving on Islington Avenue just south of Kleinburg on a mid–May evening in 2006 when a Nissan swerved into their lane. Jamie, at the wheel, tried to steer around the vehicle, but it was too late. [The driver] was charged with impaired driving.
+++Students and staff at Woodbridge Public School were devastated. For them, Suzanne had been a light. The young music teacher, who grew up in Kleinburg, had a way with children, and her gift was not overlooked by friends and staff, or by the hundreds of children she left her mark upon…
+++Since Suzanne, who had a background in family farming, was a known gardener and admirer of daylilies, the notion of adopting and naming a new flower was born.
+++As president of the Woodbridge Horticultural Society, Stan Grabowski was charged with the responsibility of finding a new flower eligible for adoption and naming in Suzanne’s memory.

Real Wind
‘Real Wind’. Photo © Jenn Nash, 2012
Strawberry Candy
‘Strawberry Candy’. Photo © Jenn Nash, 2011

+++“It was not going to be an easy feat,” says Grabowski, who knew that the process behind creating a new species was a painstaking six–year journey.
+++Fortunately, Grabowski caught wind of Betty Fretz, a know hybridizer who had a garden shop — memorably named Floral and Hardy — in Moorefield, about 100 kilometres west of Vaughan on Lake Conestoga…
+++“The trick,” she says, “is not just to find a hardy species that multiplies well and makes it through the six–year process. It’s finding a flower that matches some of the attributes of the person it will be named after, in this case Suzanne.
+++But Fretz had something in mind. One cultivar had proved remarkably resilient and was at the end of its six–year journey to official flower hood. It was the child of two distinct dailies: ‘Real Wind’ and ‘Strawberry Candy’. And like all of its brethren, it bore its own unique mark…
+++After chatting with Grabowski, it was clear to Fretz that this new cultivar, which brimmed with potential, would be the ideal candidate.
+++“Suzanne had a knack for spreading passion, joy and love,” she says. “So, it only made sense to have a plant that would do the same thing.”
+++The final battle involved applying a name to the flower. The American Hemerocallis Society, the body charged with cataloguing daylilies around the world, is also responsible for registering the names of new species of daylilies. The students had opted for “Suzanne’s Joy” as the chosen name and it was registered accordingly…
+++Grabowski secured nearly 40 plants which were handed out to students, staff, friends and family…