Perennial Oklahoma: Renricks Farm and Gardens & Red Earth Daylilies

[Submitted by Rick and Renee Pearce, owners of Renricks Farm and Gardens & Red Earth Daylilies]

Our love of gardening goes back to our grandmothers. My grandmother raised 11 children during WWI, the depression and WWII, and she made sure each of her grandchildren knew how to grow food and how to cut up a chicken. My grandmother lived with us, and I learned about gardening and life while helping her with our family garden. While Grandma shared her knowledge, natural methods and skills with us, I was bitten by the gardening bug. Renee grew up on a Grady County dairy farm where chickens, a huge vegetable garden and orchard were mainstays. Canning and preserving was a way of life. Renee and I both come from a background of stewardship of the land and wildlife, sustainable cycles and good healthy naturally grown food and plants.

Renee in the garden

Busy monarch

I enjoyed as a youth going to the OKC nurseries to see all the variety of plants. But with the growth of box stores the nursery industry has quickly changed to be just resellers and not growers. Plants are pushed to be in bloom at the wholesale nurseries by the use of chemicals. This impacts pollinators and garden performance. So we saw an opportunity to offer naturally grown plants that we grow safely for kids, pets and pollinators.

We started out as a mail order nursery in Texas. But in 1993 we saw the need to move back to our roots. So we started our planning and relocated our family and Texas plant collection back to Oklahoma and purchased 3 acres in Chickasha. I immediately planted the Texas perennials on our vacant land. We also planted an orchard, built a chicken coop and became suburban farmers for our own needs. We continued with our mail order business, and in 1997 joined Ebay and were the first seed and plant sellers on Ebay. In April 2001 we expanded to become vendors at the Norman Farmer’s Market. By 2007 we had joined the fairly young Oklahoma Food Cooperative. Over the last 25 the years we have hired and mentored over 22 local youth to help with the planting, potting and weeding. We couldn’t have grown or maintained our nursery without them.

Garden abundance

Lovely daylilies

Display at the market

Each year I attend field trials to decide what we will grow for our markets. Our year starts in the prior summer planning, and these visits to field trials allow me to see what is new and, more importantly, how particular plants will grow in our climate. It can be a challenge to grow in Oklahoma! But our plants are Oklahoma tough because they are grown here in our climate and in a natural way with no chemicals. What we grow is totally safe for pollinators, which is of utmost importance to us. We also test every plant we sell by planting and observing growth habits and viability. We use non GMO seed and natural fertilizers such as fish emulsion, manure, alfalfa, green manures and compost.

We are probably one of the largest natural perennial growers in the state. As an example, we offer over 40 different daylily varieties, as well as 300-400 other perennial varieties. Among these varieties are new introductions, proven perennials, heirlooms and some hard to find outstanding cultivars. Our new focus is hybridizing daylilies and hardy hibiscus. Our display gardens are open by appointment during iris, daylily and hibiscus peak bloom. In 2017, Renricks will be an open garden for the 2017 American Hemerocallis Society Regional Meeting in OKC during June 16-18.

Greenhouse in production

We love meeting our customers at the many farmers markets, Oklahoma Food Coop and gardening festivals we attend during April and May. You can follow us on facebook.

Renrick’s Farm and Gardens:

Red Earth Daylilies:

Thank you for supporting us.

Rick and Renee Pearce