About the hybridizers
John and Nancy Falck’s Hem Haven Daylily Nursery, located in Fairhope, Al., is located on 4.7 acres. The grounds, located at 20205 Lawrence Road, Fairhope, AL, are landscaped and wooded with the nursery areas located in the back.
After graduation from Auburn University, John and Nancy moved to Maryland, where John was stationed in the Navy. When John’s service was completed, they moved back to his hometown of Fairhope. Here, they found his father’s life-long interest in plants had centered on daylilies, and he had begun a retirement business, Hem Haven Daylily Nursery.
Although John and Nancy helped his parents with the nursery, their interests were in teaching at Fairhope High School. Nancy taught English here 30 years. John taught history 13 years. He then became an assistant principal for 7 years, and Robertsdale High School for 11 years. During these years, their daughter, Karen, grew up, became a pharmacy professor, married, and had 4 children.
In 1968, John and Nancy bought 4.7 acres of land where his father moved most of his daylily plants. With more space AW was able to expand his interest in daylilies. Little by little John and Nancy began helping with the plants and with the bookkeeping. This drew them into an interest in daylilies so they began attending the Mobile Hemerocallis Society meetings with his parents. Here, they met Lee Gates and Charlie Pierce among other local hybridizers. These people helped John and Nancy to begin “pollen dabbling.”
Soon, AW’s health began to decline rapidly so then John and Nancy took over the nursery. After they built a Dutch Colonial house on the property, they expanded the size and focus of the nursery.
The Falck’s involvement in Hem Haven and the American Daylily Society has grown over the years. They began helping stage shows for the Mobile Hemerocallis Society and entering the competition. Also, they became exhibition judges and judged shows in Pensacola then Mississippi Gulf Coast, Hattiesburg, Montgomery, Birmingham, Columbus Georgia, and Tennessee. Their clubs hosted 2 Region 14 Spring Meetings which featured Hem Haven as a tour garden. They were active in the ADS. John served 2 terms as Region 14 Vice President (now Regional President.) Nancy served 2 terms on the ADA Board of Directors, including a stint as CFO.
They enjoy visiting daylily gardens and have attended not only regional meetings, but also national conventions since 2004. Seeing the gardens, meeting many hybridizers, and receiving encouragement, they began hybridizing. As this interest expanded, they began more serious hybridizing. Both John and Nancy have registered varieties with ADS. Nancy tends to specialize in reds, doubles, miniature-small flowers, and patterns on each of these. John enjoys extra-large, spider/unusual form, and patterned large flowers.
With the help and encouragement of their son-in-law, in 2004 they moved their plants into pots. This made sales much easier. Also, this allowed the sales area to be alphabetized to help shoppers. Since then, they display beds have been converted to a method using buried pots. This allows more flexibility in designating beds for Region 14 hybridizers, Stout Medal Winners, and other collections.
After John and Nancy retired in 1998, they continued improving the nursery grounds and their hybridizing. They have done programs for daylily groups, garden clubs, school horticulture classes, and other interested groups.