Toad Hollow Daylily Farm
About Toad Hollow
Toad Hollow, now in its eleventh year, became an American Hemerocollis Society (AHS) daylily display garden in 2004. Gaylord and Nina West’s two acres of landscaped flower gardens feature a hosta shade garden, a 30’ diameter round formal peony and daylily bed, a lilac border garden and the completed roadside bed. These features combine with the massive hillside garden for a peaceful retreat in the country.
Toad Hollow features hundreds of feet of limestone retaining walls, two stone stairs and a wonderful assortment of stone architectural pieces from Emporia’s past, including the old Butcher School, the YMCA Building, the Santa Fe Depot, and the old drive-in theatre ticket booth. The newest feature is the KP&L and ESU Memorial Union Grand Stairway in the hillside by the Nautilus Bed (2002-2003). Throughout the garden there are cobalt blue gazing balls and garden statuary.
The Spring garden is full of fragrant daffodils and hyacinths of every color. Viburnums, lilacs, tree peonies and creeping phlox bloom. Then it is the iris show. Toad Hollow’s annual Iris Tour is on Mother’s Day and the following weekend. You will see over 300 varieties of iris, from mini, border, and tall-bearded types and in every color combination imaginable. Peonies, poppies, and larkspur will also be blooming. Hostas, columbine, and other perennials fill the peaceful and colorful shade gardens.
June features the annual Art in the Garden. Local and guest artists display their works in a white tent city throughout the garden.
Toad Hollow’s Summer garden is for the daylily lover. You’ll see over 500 daylilies close-up and personal. The array of colors is amazing. From almost white to almost black, you will see every shade of yellow, salmon, orange, rust, pink, and red, not to mention polychromed and eyed blossoms. Form and habit are also diverse. You will see minis, spider form, seersuckering, ruffles, veining and ribbing. You will want to observe high bud count for a longer blooming cycle. Catalog pictures feature only the bloom. Seeing daylilies in the field gives you a better idea of plant vigor, sturdiness, and true color in our climate. Roses, love-in-a-mist, rose campion, larkspur, hollyhocks, bronze fennel, purple cone flowers, and lilies are among other seasonal plants in bloom during the daylily season.
Toad Hollow features some 1995-2003 introductions by some of Nina’s favorite hybridizers. She has one of the most complete collections of Brother Charles Reckamp daylilies in the Midwest. A Catholic monk in Illinois, Brother Charles died in 1996, but a number of his hybrid seedlings continue to be introduced. Her garden also includes hybrids developed by Kansans including the late Ivan Beyer of Gridley.
When Fall comes to Toad Hollow, you will find Pampas and Maiden grasses, tall tobacco plants, datura, red salvias, cosmos, tuberoses, and petunias blooming. Heavenly fragrances fill the air and butterflies are everywhere. Evening becomes magical when light orange tinted solar lights blink on to shine into the night.
The annual Toad Hollow Daylily Tour is the last Sunday in June, although visitors are welcome on Wednesdays through Sunday, 2 p.m - 7 p.m., from May through July, and by appointment, especially groups. Please call 620-343-8655.
Toad Hollow is located south of the Thorndale (Road R1) exit (Exit 135) on I-35 to Old, Old Highway 50 (Road 170) and east one block. Or, from Old 50 Highway, turn south at Dieker’s RV on Rd R1 to Road 170, then 1 block east. It is four miles east of Emporia.
Photography by Dave Leiker
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