Suzanne Franklin, a master gardener and hybridizer for Jungle Paradise, is donating hundreds of her award-winning, specialized daylilies to parks, businesses and other places all around Dawson County.
I decided when I moved here 13 years ago that I wanted to bless this community," said Franklin.
Rock Creek Park, Veterans Memorial Park and the new city limits sign will be the first recipients of Franklin's daylilly donations.
The plantings are set for September.
Steve Holder, planning director for the city of Dawsonville, is thankful for Franklin's contribution to the landscaping around the new city limits sign.
"She's done a lot for the community. It's wonderful to have her around," said Holder. "People are just not aware of how large of an area she touches with the work she does," he added.
Franklin is not stopping at the parks and city limits sign. "This is only the beginning," she said.
Franklin is willing to donate even more flowers to businesses with good storefront visibility, so people will be able to see them from the road.
Franklin said that she has loved flowers ever since childhood and learned the art of gardening in her early 20s.
When she moved to Dawson County 13 years ago, she furthered her experimentation with hybridizing daylilies, which means she breeds different daylilies together to create larger flowers with unique petal shapes and new color combinations and shades.
Years of crossbreeding diverse daylilies has reaped a crop of unique color schemes and a phenomenon that is as recent of a development in daylilies as 10 years old.
"The flowers are beginning to produce a gold dust covering and glitter around the edges of the petals," said Franklin of this new development in daylilies.
Breeding daylilies is no quick endeavor. It takes years to cultivate results.
"Most people do not realize that it takes two to three years from the time you cross a lily until you see the first bloom," said Franklin. "It takes six years before you are able to register a lily," she added.
Franklin is in the process of registering more of her specialized flowers, which will certify their quality, make official the names she picked out for them and significantly increase their value.
But Franklin also wants people to experience her garden free of cost. She opened a sector of her property for the public to come and see all of her daylilies. She set up a small gazebo with a swing and tables overlooking fields of her beautiful flowers.
Visitors who want to leave with their favorite flowers can purchase them on the spot. Prices range from $5 to $100.
Franklin is proud of her gardening work because of the long lasting legacy it will leave behind.
"These daylilies grow forever. When I'm gone and in heaven, their beauty will still live on," said Franklin.
Jungle Paradise is located off of Hwy. 9 South, on Mill Creek Road. For more information call (706) 265-2130 or visit www.lilyheaven.com.