Bill Warman said after growing daylilies for the last 30 years, he is ready to move on.

His mission now is to donate almost all of his plants to local nonprofits, which can either sell them to raise money for their operations, or replant them to beautify municipal landscapes.

All that he requests is that the groups keep track of the number of plants they receive for his income tax purposes and to supply him with their 501(c)(3) nonprofit number. They can just tell him how many they want, and when they want them, period.

The Republican Journal spoke with Warman April 30 at his home about his passion for daylilies and his life growing up in Waldo County.

Warman, who is 69, said it is not so much a loss of interest, but rather, that he has accomplished what he had set out to do. “I got the breeding ability the way I wanted it, I got the size, the height and the color the way I wanted it, so I’m done.

“I wanted to build a mountain,” he said. “I built my mountain, now I go home.”

He is looking forward to a time when he sees his daylilies sprouting up all over the state. For now he is devoting more of his time to peonies because of the genetics, he said. “There’s no way I can deal with the both of them.”

He called his peonies his prized possession, and said he will continue to grow them on his 10-acre Waldo property aptly named The Maine Garden. Warman’s peonies have 15-inch blossoms and, as he puts it, “the absolute scent of a woman. The most beautiful smell that you can find.”

They take longer to grow than daylilies, he said, but he gets more satisfaction out of the large blossoms and super fragrance. “It takes me three years to get the first blossom and another five years to see the plant,” he said. “I normally will have 10 years in a daylily before I decide whether it’s any good, and as much as 20 years in a peony.”

Born in Belfast, Warman attended Crosby High School, graduating in 1970. The unconventional businessman said he began breeding pot plants at 10 years old, and had his own tiling business by the time he was 13. “From the time I was 13 until I was 42, all I did was tiling. Granite countertops, granite floors, blah, blah, blah.”

According to Warman, his business was one of only two in the area and he was always busy. Traveling to India and Australia to purchase stone, he said, in 11 years, he was home only half the time.

“I was lucky enough,” he said, “and everything was in line,”  though he remembers never having any time off. "Now you are divorced," he said, "so what good is the money?"

“So it was time to do something different,” he said.

At 42, Warman said, he reached a point where he could be self-sufficient and said “the hell with you” to tiling. He retired from his tiling business and never looked back.

“I had one of the first daylilies available in Maine,” he said. “I breed specifically for an increase in genes.” The work he has done breeding daylilies is in line with what a geneticist does, but according to Warman, “I don’t have a college degree and don’t need that.”

Having dyslexia and not being able to read or write so well, he said, was difficult, because “I could not, by any means, get a Ph.D. in plant science — but I’ll stand against anybody that breeds plants. To show you how to break down, build up, or tear apart the gene pool.

“The fool on the hill has been a success,” he said, ”and that’s how I like to have it.”

People have come to his garden and purchased plants from 32 different nations, and almost every single state has recognized Warman's plants. Two 5-foot filing cabinets hold information on over 2,000 cross-breeding plants he has produced and he keeps pictures of his 600 or so registered plants in a three-ring binder that resembles a family photo album.

Warman said he is skeptical about garden society know-it-alls who, after a three-week course, “all of a sudden know more than God does about gardening. If that ain’t a bunch of crap, nothing is.”

He stopped registering his daylilies with the daylily society because he disagreed with the idea of having to be approved. “I don’t care for that thought,” he said. “I don’t like being told what to do.

“There’s always somebody questioning what you do, why you do it, and how you do it,” he said. “And then they come up with the idea, well, this can’t really be done. My last convention was in Ohio to make a presentation and was denied to speak because I didn’t know what I was talking about. But they bought every plant.

“I’m all done with the money trip,” he said. “I’m sick and tired of someone coming in and saying ‘I can go to Aubuchon for $25 and get a bucket full.’ Get your ass down there and go — you’re buying garbage.”

“I’m only going to be open only as a place to come and get donated plants,” Warman said. “I want the world to know I want to donate.”

Warman has given himself four more years to finish several projects he currently has underway, including rebuilding his house, along with another house, before his wife retires. “I’m just tired,” he said. “I want to make sure when I am dead and gone I’ve left my wife very well off.

"I would like to thank everybody that has been here," he said, "whether they bought plants or came to see the farm. This is my farewell."

Warman is offering any nonprofit a chance to receive an unlimited quantity of daylilies for resale or beautification projects. For more information, call Warman at 342-5663 or email tmg@fairpoint.net.