Christopher's grandfather, Dr. George M. Darrow (Dr George Darrow by Wikipedia) began collecting and hybridizing daylilies back in 1957, after he had retired from his work as a geneticist for the USDA. Dr. Darrow was highly selective regarding his breeding program. The result, we feel, is a unique collection of daylilies, representing many highly desirable characteristics.
Origin of the Name Olallie
Dr. George Darrow who first collected many of the day lilies grown here at Olallie Daylily Gardens, originally worked for the USDA as a breeder of small fruits and berries. He had a Pick Your Own strawberry business and many types of berries on his farm in Maryland.
While traveling through Oregon collecting blueberry seed stock, he came across the name Olallie. Olallie is a west coast native American name which translates loosely to Place Where Berries Are Found. Dr Darrow thought this would be a great name for his farm in Maryland because of all of the berries he was growing there. And thus named his farm in Maryland Olallie Farm.
When he began to develop and name new daylily cultivars he gave the prefix Olallie to all the day lilies he developed and registered. Now decades later Chris Darrow is continuing this tradition by giving all his registered dayliles the same prefix.
Move to Vermont
In 1979, Dr. Darrow invited his son Dan, Dan's wife, Ellen, and their son, Christopher, to come to Olallie Farm in Maryland and dig up a piece of all of his dayliles. Dan and Ellen's farm in Vermont would be the perfect site to continue the Darrow daylily work. Thus, in 1980, Olallie North was born. In 1993, the American Society for Horticultural Science (ASHS) inducted Dr. Darrow into the ASHS Hall of Fame, becoming its 8th member. He joined the ranks of Gregor Mendel, Liberty Hyde Bailey, Luther Burbank, and other distinguished plant scientists.
Circa late 1990's The whole family on a warm summer day.
Lily and her daughter Maggie in attendance
Dan K Darrow
The Farm Today
This is our 35th year in business in Vermont.
The farm is managed by Christopher with help from his mother Ellen and his children Quinn and Anwyn. And of course his faithful dog Brom.
Chris continues the breeding work began by George. Chris has tried to follow Dr Darrow ideals of exploring daylily attributes. Extra early bloomers, extra tall, pigmented scapes and other overlooked attributes are all part of Chris's work.
Beyond that the blueberries and several experimental fruit crops are diligently maintained.
Chris continues growing and hybridizing daylilies. 2017 is the 35th year working with daylilies and close to the 50th year here in Vermont.
We have been or are members of:
American Heather Society
American Hemerocallis Society
American Horticultural Society
North American Rock Garden Society
Seed Savers Exchange
Species Iris Group
Vermont Assoc. of Professional Horticuluralists
Newfane Business Assoc.
Northeast Organic Farmers Association (NOFA)