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For the Love of Lilies!

Updated: Dec 2, 2020

Our LAGC member, Denise, grew up in Northern Minnesota, the youngest of 8 siblings. Large vegetable gardens were a must for her family and everyone participated in planting, tending, and harvesting. As her older siblings moved out, her mother’s vegetable gardens became smaller and smaller and the perennial flower gardens grew bigger and bigger. Luckily, as the youngest and still at home, Denise too learned to love growing beautiful flowers. Their bountiful flowers graced their dining room table and were often brought to church to adorn the altar on Sunday mornings.

When Denise and her husband, Karl, moved from Bemidji to Farmington in 2016, they bought a home with NO gardens! Yet, because of their shared love of gardening, they saw this as a wonderful opportunity to design and create their own painting on what was, as Denise called it, a “clean canvas.” While Denise and Karl had nurtured beautiful flower gardens in Bemidji, the move to this area presented an additional challenge… a completely different hardiness zone! Now just four years later, you can see (in the photos) their beautiful “painting” with over 200 lilies as well as over 375 daylilies!

Like me, I bet many of you wonder how they got to the point of having their own lily business, and this is a great story. One day, Karl and Denise were out driving when they saw a sign, "free plants." Of course, they stopped! By pure chance, this was the home of Barbara and John Sautner, partners in Hartle and Gilman Gardens (which specializes in lilies). They introduced Denise and Karl to both the lily society and the daylily society and shortly after, Denise and Karl became active in the Minnesota Daylily Society (Denise is the Newsletter Editor) and the NorthStar Lily Society (Denise is the Secretary).

Denise volunteered with HG at lily events that spring and they were then asked to join as partners. Learning from Dean Hartle, Denise took on the role of hybridizer and enjoyed learning about propagation. In the fall of 2019, Denise and Karl decided to pursue our own dream and opened K&D Gardens LLC. Their desire is to offer quality lily bulbs at reasonable prices. More information about K&D Gardens can be found on their FB page, “K&D Gardens.” On this site you can view many informational videos and access their lily catalogue from their Files.

Denise and Karl have found a passion in lilies, the love for hybridizing and propagating, and the joy of sharing their knowledge with others!

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