A couple of Saturdays ago at the Allen Centennial Garden at University of Wisconsin-Madison, a merging of drag queen culture and horticulture took place! Drag Queens and Daylilies saw queens Lucy von Cucci and Miss Diana working with ACG Staff, Ben Futa (Director) and Elin Meliska (Programs and Community Engagement), to make plants cool and accessible to their audience – and it worked!
What do drag queens and daylilies have in common?
Photo Credits: Kolin Goldschmidt
More than you might think! Each are divas in their own right, but the real excitement happens behind the scenes as plants and drag queens alike hone their craft, their image, and carve out their niche in the world.
The two came together to form an immersive experience, where attendees were able to interact and learn about the wonderful world of drag queens and daylilies.
The event started with a lip sync performance to Kesha’s We Are Who We Are by Lucy. This was followed by a stand up comedy show dishing on drag culture. They held nothing from, from drag “houses” to drag mothers/daughters!
This segued into a discussion about how we pass along traits to future generations, either through drag or plant breeding. This was accompanied by a fast and dirty explanation of plant Sex Ed, complete with visual aids.
Getting to know the daylilies
After that, the daylilies took it home. Like drag queens, daylilies are divas on the stage for only a few hours. After their moment fades, they go flaccid pretty quickly. Also like queens, they come in a rainbow of shapes, sizes, and colors. We drew parallels between how a new daylily is created and passes on its traits, and the creation of a new drag queen. Attendees were able to identify the different traits that plant breeders and drag queens look for. Everything from a snatched wig line or tight lip sync to bud count, vigor, and fragrance.
Creating a hybrid
For the final activity, guests were taught how to make their own plant crosses and hybrids with a paintbrush. We dubbed each hybrid with a fun new name based on the parent plants’ names.
The goal of this programme was to get people thinking about horticulture in a new way. It was also to introduce people to the concepts and techniques of plant breeding and genetics, to help people identify desirable traits, and get people excited and interested and appreciative of plant breeders.
Would you love to go to an event like this? Let me know in the comments section!