Bringing Back the Hood College Daylily

By September 19, 2017Stories

Originally posted at

Many don’t know that the College has an official flower–Hemerocallis Hood College, the Hood College daylily. Over the years the plants had disappeared from the campus landscape, but today they were proudly returned to their rightful home.

In planning for Hood’s 125th anniversary, conversations began about bringing back the daylily. With the assistance of daylily enthusiast and alumna Joanne McDonald Huff ’79, College representatives were connected with another local daylily aficionado, Marnie Roberts, who generously offered to donate some of her plants to Hood.

Together Roberts and her husband, Mil, planted the lilies behind Alumnae House.

“The lilies are home, and that makes me feel good,” said Roberts.

Roberts said that she originally acquired the Hood College daylily from another Hood alum, the late Otho “Ody” Keller ’82 about a decade ago. In July, she saw an article in the Frederick News-Post about hybridizer Huff.

Huff had tracked down the last remaining roots of the daylily in an overgrown area of the college’s garden and propagated them, but when her septic tank needed replacing the daylilies disappeared in a pile of construction debris.

Huff asked that anyone who knew of the bluish-purple/near-white bicolor Hood daylilies write her so they could be propagated and returned to campus.

“So I did and here I am putting my passion back into Hood College,” Roberts said. “It was nice to be able to honor alumni.”

Mil’s late first wife, Marjorie Smith Roberts ’67, was a Hood alum, as was her mother, Mary Matheney Smith ’33. Marjorie also worked at Hood for a time before starting a family.

Certainly, they’ve also honored the creator of the unique and beautiful plant, John Lambert, Ph.D., husband of Hood alumna Dorothy Wiseman Lambert ’36.

Lambert possessed a true passion for hybridizing daylilies, producing more than 500 different varieties that have been grown around the world. In 1970, he registered a cultivar with the American Hemerocallis Society in honor of his wife’s alma mater.

With Hemerocallis Hood College returned to its namesake campus once again, we can look forward to it flowering in late June and hopefully growing and thriving through many more milestone anniversaries.