Daylilies are blooming year-round at the Amador Flower Farm in Plymouth, though not in the same numbers as during the spring and summer. Events like Spring Fling (April 20-21) highlight peak blooms. (Photo courtesy of Amador Flower Farm)

Stop and Smell the Daylilies at Amador Flower Farm

Take a break from wine tasting in the Shenandoah Valley to picnic in a garden

Back Article Apr 12, 2024 By Steve Martarano

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Nestled squarely in the midst of dozens of award-winning wineries that make Amador County’s Shenandoah Valley so unique, Amador Flower Farm in Plymouth is home to something different — an eye-popping 1,300 varieties of daylily.

It’s the largest assortment of the flower on the West Coast, says Jeanne Deaver, who, for 25 years, has owned the expansive 15-acre property about an hour’s drive from Sacramento. She grew the nursery from just 300 daylilies into a thriving business that draws 10,000 visitors a year. 

Jeanne Deaver left a career in banking when she started the farm 25 years ago. (Photos by Steve Martarano)

Daylilies are perennials that bloom at all times of the year, often for just one day. They come in various sizes and every color but blue and pure white. Stopping at the farm and enjoying the flowers can provide a welcome and affordable break from a day at the wineries, Deaver says.

“What makes it fun is when people have company from out of town, they bring them over to the flower farm, and they can see all the flowers blooming,” Deaver says on a late February weekday afternoon, as she and other staff prepare the farm for a pending storm. “They can bring a lunch and a bottle of wine and sit under oak trees and have an afternoon picnic.”

Perennials are blooming year-round at the Amador Flower Farm in Plymouth, though not in the same numbers as during the spring and summer months. These were visible on Feb. 28.

Amador Flower Farm, however, meshes with the wineries in the region because grapes are in the family DNA. Husband Ken Deaver is part of one of Amador County’s oldest families dating to the 1850s and is a longtime wine grape farmer. Married for 36 years, the Deavers also own and operate Deaver Vineyards, which is located about two miles from the flower farm in Plymouth.

Daffodils bloom in late winter at the farm.

Jeanne, however, took a different path to farm life than her husband. During the late 1990s, she was working for a Bank of America branch in Granite Bay when a merger with another bank prompted layoffs, and she began looking at other career options. She told the bank that she would be open to being let go if she could get a buyout package, which she received. 

“I was in Santa Rosa with my husband at a grape conference, and while he was there, I was touring nurseries,” Deaver says. “I came across the Alpine Valley Gardens in Santa Rosa, an ongoing daylilies business.” 

The owner had sold her property to move out of state, Deaver says, but didn’t want the daylilies.

“I brought my husband back after his meeting, and we bought the daylilies from her and started the business at our place,” she says.

Admission to tour Amador Flower Farm is always free, though reserving a picnic table will set you back $5. Daylilies are sold on site in gallon pots or by placing an order, she says. 

“You don’t sell flowers, you sell plants,” she says, noting that her nursery license specifies they’re shipped with no dirt on them. “Like an iris, they’re really forgiving, and they’re easy to grow and easy to dig and ship. People come to my farm and buy plants to put in their garden. We dig every Monday and ship every Tuesday, all over the United States. I’ve shipped them as far as China.”

Inside the farm’s gift shop, there are vegetable and flower seeds and other garden supplies for sale.

In the farm’s gift shop, there are also vegetable and flower seeds and other garden supplies for sale, while farm fresh eggs from her son Stewart Lyon’s chickens are sold on site. From late September through Halloween, a pumpkin patch and corn maze are added attractions.

Deaver says she relies on a staff of up to six during peak seasons, which includes gardeners and gift shop employees. One of them is Jose Lopez, who began working there at age 18 when his uncle managed the vineyards.

Open daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., visitors touring the grounds can view a waterfall and a koi fish pond, check out landscaped areas with names like Award Alley, the Wine Garden and Cottage Hill, or picnic under one of the site’s 300-year-old heritage oak trees. 

Stewart Lyons, his mother Jeanne Deaver and longtime staff member Jose Lopez enjoy the sunshine at Amador Flower Farm on Feb. 28.

The demonstration gardens featuring the daylilies can vary in numbers depending on the season, Deaver says, and during events such as Spring Fling (April 20-21), Daylily Days (June 22-23) or Fall Fun Days (Sept. 28-29), the farm’s blooming flowers will be most bountiful. 

Deaver has never regretted leaving her career in executive-level banking, which she’s been out of for 25 years. “Being able to be inside or outside and set your own pace and be retired and set your own hours is a wonderful thing. It’s a fun place to be,” Deaver says.  

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