Don and Mary Ann Lovell

Don and Mary Ann Lovell, Marshalltown, Iowa
Reviewed by: Mary Baker, Omaha, NE

About three years ago, Don and Mary Ann Lovell relocated their former acreage garden to 36 acres of farmland with excellent soil in Marshalltown, Iowa. Our tour bus arrived at 7:30 a.m. Skies were cloudy and the temperature was 58 degrees. It was exciting to see the new Timbercreek Gardens location for the first time as well as daylilies that would be fully open despite the early arrival time and cool temperature.

Don, Mary Ann, and their 9-year old dog Mitzi, a McNab Shepherd, greeted us. We ate the delicious breakfast they served while strolling through the gardens. An area beneath conifers featured many varieties of hosta, coleus, ferns, and caladiums accented by potted impatiens, Don’s artwork, and a beautiful statue. A comfortable garden bench flanked by huge pots of begonias provided a cool place to relax and view the many garden beds.

Don creatively designed a large planting area shaped like a wagon wheel, featuring seven wedge-shaped flower beds edged on the outside with a colorful variety of oxalis that has variegated foliage and bright rose-pink flowers. Each wedge contained a variety of perennials surrounded by daylilies. Don’s lovely H. ‘Photocopy’ (tet, 2005) showed off beautiful gold-edged red blooms. H. ‘Forsyth Apache’ (Lefever, tet, 1998) sported many large pale yellow blooms that were open flat. Just outside this area, a bright red water pump above a pail containing cool white petunias and trailing dichondra vines drew my eyes to the large seedling bed.

Don’s many diploid and tetraploid seedlings are bordered on one side by white datura and on the other side by a row of registered daylily cultivars. In this area, three spectacular daylilies attracted many admirers. Pat Stamile’s spider, H. ‘Free Wheelin’’ (tet, 2004), sported pale yellow blooms with bright burgundy red eyes and vivid green throats that seemed to dance above the foliage. Two lovely reddish purple unusual forms hybridized by the late Ned Roberts strutted their stuff – H. ‘Chokecherry Mountain’ (dip, 2002) and H. ‘Bark at Me’ (dip, 1999).

Don’s seedlings are spectacular! I fell in love with Don’s gorgeous future registration, seedling TFL 99-1, a large cream/pale yellow/pale pink polychrome with vibrant green throat and sculpted petals edged in teeth. TFL 99-1 has complex parentage from H. ‘Forestlake Ragamuffin’ (F. Harding, tet, 1993) on both sides. Don’s hybridizing efforts with H. ‘Rose F. Kennedy’ (Doorakian, dip, 2007) produced several lovely seedlings with huge emerald-green throats.

As we approached the house, we viewed a raised water garden on the side of the house accented by potted hibiscus, geraniums, marigolds, ornamental sweet potatoes, begonias, and Lysimachia nummularea ‘Aurea’. Whimsical sculptured frogs added a touch of fun.

In the flower beds surrounding the house, Jack Carpenter’s H. ‘Grace from Above’ (tet, 2002) drew my eyes with several perfectly open large pink blooms with rose eyes and edges. Pat Stamile’s H. ‘Edge of Shangrila’ (tet, 2004) sported many green-throated creamy pink blooms with rose edges. Don uses H. ‘Edge of Shangrila’ in his hybridizing program as well as two other pink daylilies: H. ‘Big Roller Coaster’ (Roycroft, dip, 2001) and H. ‘Inimitable’ (Stamile, tet, 2003).

All too soon, the bus whistle blew, signaling it was time to depart for the next garden. We passed a big tree encircled by hosta on our way to the bus. A lovely circular thermometer featuring a horse’s image was affixed to the trunk. As the thermometer reading indicated, many of us still wore jackets because the temperature was still way too cool for July. Thanks, Don, Mary Ann, and Mitzi, for sharing your beautiful Timbercreek Gardens with us!