Friday, October 29, 2010

Late Surprises

I have seen a lot of posts lately on GardenWeb about late-blooming daylilies. There seems to be a relative contest to see who has the latest blooming daylily this year. And I've seen several of my own precious orange garden stalwarts come on and bloom late.  But I never expected, on October 26th, to see a daylily still blooming happily in my Zone5B garden.  

The daylily here is 'Hesperus', which I've never seen listed as a reblooming daylily, but which has certainly gotten mixed up this year and decided that the proper response to a summer drought and intense temperatures was to brighten up the garden one last time before a long winter's nap.

'Hesperus', hybridized by Hans Sass in 1940, happens to be (have been) the first winner of the Stout Silver Medal, in 1950.  The Stout Silver Medal is given in memory of Dr. Arlow Burdette Stout, a director at the New York Botanical Gardens and the father of modern daylily breeding in North America. It is the highest award a cultivar can receive, given only to candidates who have also previously received the Award of Merit and Honorable Mention status from American Hemerocallis Society judges.

'Hesperus' is a very tall daylily at 36 to 48 inches, one of the tallest in my garden, and its large 5 inch wide blossoms certainly provide a focal point. Now, I must admit, that I've never been a real fan of the orangeish daylilies, partially because of how common they are and partially because of the ridiculous ubiquitiousness (what a phrase!) of the garish Stella d' Oro. 'Hesperus', seemingly another nondescript, albeit healthy, yellow-orange daylily just converses along with its neighbors when the other daylilies in the bed are blooming, but, all alone in Autumn, it shouts "Hey, here I am!" and it becomes the most beautiful daylily the gardener has ever seen. Certainly it brightened my heart as I returned back from dark, wet Seattle on Sunday to the bright sunshine of the Flint Hills where the daylily still reigns as king of the summer garden.

Addendum;  Yesterday (10/28/10) Hesperus was beaten in the Late Sweepstakes by 'Happy Returns', which posted a cheery goodbye for me.

1 comment:

  1. Aren't they beautiful? Here in our area, we're lucky enough to have several species bloom nearly year-round. They definitely pack a punch when planted in a mass.

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