Daylily popularity grew slowly in the United States since the early 1900’s but its popularity exploded in the late 1940’s and 1950’s as daylily hybridizers became numerous and new hybrids pushed the boundaries of daylily color, size, and form. Georgia was a hot bed of daylily activity in the 1950’s and several prominent hybridizers of the era called Georgia home.
In Atlanta, Mrs. W. A. Johns had a dream of having a Hemerocallis society in the Atlanta area. She shared her dream with other Atlanta area daylily enthusiasts who agreed with her. One of those people, Mr. James T. (Jim) McGinnis, was very interested and he and his partner, Fred Ham, took on the task of organizing an Atlanta daylily club. They financed and arranged an organizational meeting which was held on October 13, 1962 at Pritchett’s Dining Room in Decatur, Georgia. There were 40 attendees at the meeting and 39 of them became the charter members of The Greater Atlanta Hemerocallis Society. Mr. McGinnis was elected as the group’s first President and dues were set at $1.00 per year.
The Greater Atlanta Hemerocallis Society grew rapidly and by the beginning of 1963, it had already attracted 86 members. Its first meeting place was the Skyroom restaurant at the top of the Decatur Federal building in downtown Decatur. The Tucker Federal building (now Bank of America) just off Main Street in Tucker became our second home in 1975, followed by The Atlanta Botanical Garden which became our home from 1980 until 2002. After that, the group met in a series of different places until settling at our present location at the Deen Day Sanders Garden House in Duluth, Georgia in 2010.
In 2003, The Greater Atlanta Hemerocallis Society decided to change its name to make it more attractive to prospective members. Several different names were discussed before the group settled on its present name, The Daylily Society of Greater Atlanta.
From the start, The Daylily Society of Greater Atlanta has been a very active group. It hosted its first regional meeting of Region V (Georgia) of the American Hemerocallis Society in 1963, shortly after its inception, and has been the Region’s host for many more meetings over the years. It also started the first Region V seedling bed competition which has become a permanent event at regional meetings. In 1964, it conducted its first daylily show in Decatur. Since then, it has conducted shows every year except in years when it was hosting regional and national meetings. It has hosted three annual conventions of the American Hemerocallis Society, the first in 1970 with 387 attendees, in 1986 which attracted 586 attendees and lastly in 2015 which had over 650 attendees. It has conducted quarterly meetings of DSGA since its founding in 1962 and has sponsored numerous local and out-of-state tours over the years.
Throughout its 50+ years of existence, the Daylily Society of Greater Atlanta has never lost sight of its primary goal of promoting our favorite perennial, the daylily. If you want to learn more about daylilies, DSGA is the place to come. We welcome any and all who share our interest.