Retirement has brought sunny days and flowers year-round for Judy Roush. Ohio Farm Bureau’s former education specialist spends five months of the year in Florida with her husband, Roy, and during the seven months back in Ohio, she and her daughter, Becky Moehl, are partners at Darby Creek Fields and Flowers, a retail flower farm in Orient, with 850 daylily varieties in 14 fields of flowers.
From 1992 to her retirement in 2011, Roush worked with Farm Bureau members to equip them to share agriculture’s story with students and teachers in the classroom, often through the use of farm tours. These days, she is still coordinating on-farm tours, but this time it’s for daylily customers.
When visitors arrive, Roush, Moehl, family and several high school girls from the community help them select the right plants for their own landscape, based on size, color and timing of the blooms. Roush said daylilies are very low maintenance and may bloom for 25 years.
“We take the customers around to as many beds as they have time, via golf cart. They can walk the beds, pick the flowers they like, and we dig them, then they take them home and replant them,” she said
The farmhouse on the property serves as the office; visitors can stop there first to get their golf-cart ride.
When it comes to customers, Roush said their business attracts both ends of the spectrum, from daylily collectors “who are looking for something unique, to the other end of the spectrum, folks who like flowers and want something very low maintenance.”
Truly a family business, Roy and Judy’s daughter, Camille is in charge of shipping, and five of their six young grandchildren also are working at the daylily farm.
New for 2021
At the end of last year, the family purchased and moved inventory from Valley of the Daylily, in Lebanon, with the help of volleyball girls and friends of the grandchildren. Valley of the Daylily had been in business for more than 30 years, so with that inventory, Darby Creek Fields and Flowers has added two fields of new varieties, colors and spider daylilies to its existing 12 fields.
Also over the winter, Moehl was making plans to expand their second location, Darby Landscaping Supply on Route 62 at the edge of Harrisburg.
Darby Creek Fields and Flowers opens in-person for the season June 12. The best time to see the plants is the last two weeks of June and entire month of July, Roush said. Darby Creek Fields and Flowers also sells native plants and a selection of over 100 hostas, both minis and full size. Online ordering became available this year as well.
Educator at heart
All those years of Ag in the Classroom and agricultural education activities are still part of Roush’s life in retirement. She will be serving once again this summer as a volunteer at the Derby Junior Garden Club, an in-person children’s garden located at the old Darby school grounds in Derby.
“Every Tuesday morning all summer long, we come together. Before school is out, (the children) start planting one evening a week. They plant, weed, harvest and the (Darby) township house has a kitchen and classroom we can use,” she said.
Then the children and volunteers work together to clean, cook and prepare the food from the garden. In addition, there are lessons that accompany the garden work, including nutrition.
“It’s really been fun for me. I started because my grandchildren wanted to attend six or seven years ago and that’s how I got started and kept helping,” she said. “This embodies Ag in the Classroom, and I’ve used so much of that as a mini-lesson or as an activity when it’s raining and we can’t be outside. It’s been fun and it really is fulfilling….A lot of the families might have a garden, but many do not. For some, this is the only way they can see their food grown.”
Before coming to Ohio Farm Bureau in 1992, Roush led the Ohio Ag Awareness Council and was a classroom teacher. Highlights of her work at Farm Bureau included the creation of several curriculum pieces such as Lessons in Economics, helping county Farm Bureaus with ideas and resources for hundreds of Ag Days and other school events, managing the OFBF Award for Children’s Literature and the launch of COSI on Wheels’ Agriculture Adventures mobile unit, which over the course of its nine years on the road reached an estimated 482,333 students at 1,183 events.
She also served as president of the National Agriculture in the Classroom Consortium in 2005 and received the Ohio Farm Bureau Cooperative/Agricultural Educator Award in 2011, along with numerous other accolades from other agriculture organizations.
Judy Roush’s father and grandfather have both received Distinguished
Service to Agriculture awards from Ohio Farm Bureau.
Photos by Dave Gore