Day lily grower from Center says he was in full blown panic, but all ended well

Carpenter stands in the empty greenhouse where temperatures reached over 100-degrees when the power went off. He's grateful for the customers who helped him save next year's crop. (Source: KTRE Staff)
Carpenter stands in the empty greenhouse where temperatures reached over 100-degrees when the power went off. He's grateful for the customers who helped him save next year's crop. (Source: KTRE Staff)
Just one of the rare, one of a kind lilies that Carpenter develops through selective breeding. (Source: KTRE Staff)
Just one of the rare, one of a kind lilies that Carpenter develops through selective breeding. (Source: KTRE Staff)

CENTER, TX (KTRE) - A Shelby County businessman is thankful following a tense Memorial Day.

East Texas News visited The Lily Farm, which is located outside of Center, and found out that the future of a well-established day-lily farm is no longer in jeopardy.

The Lily Farm has over 50,000 day lilies. Most are rare varieties with blooms that peak around Memorial Day, the single busiest sales day for owner Mark Carpenter.

"We were just packed yesterday," Carpenter said.

A power outage, followed by a generator that suddenly quit working, couldn't have come at a worse time.

"It became a full-blown panic for me," Carpenter said.

The fans used to cool a greenhouse holding $20,000 worth of several hundred selected breeding stock suddenly came to a stop. day lilies are Texas tough, but sitting hours in a 100-degree greenhouse can cook them.

One customer told Carpenter, "I could just see fear in your eyes like something was wrong. Can I help you?"

The seed pods needed for 10,000 future seedlings, basically Carpenter's future crop, had to be saved.

"And that's when the customers literally stopped what they were doing and took these 3-gallon pots, they pulled out," Carpenter said.

The flower grower could have lost his future in a day.

"It was a humbling experience," Carpenter said. "It was also a really wonderful experience, but it's something I've come to learn that here in East Texas, it's not the exception. What happened was the norm."

Thanks to sudden acts of kindness the lily farm will continue to bloom.

Carpenter said his seed stock will now enjoy the East Texas temperatures. He'll watch daily for the pods to crack, so he can begin planting next year's selections.

The Lily Farm is located 12 miles west of Center on Highway 7.

Click here for The Lily Farm's website. The farm also has a Facebook page.

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