Sunday, June 24, 2012

Daylily Drifting

'Night Embers' ?
As a gardener, one either seems to "get" daylilies, or one doesn't.   I've never been a rabid daylily fan myself, but their utility in a Kansas garden is such that most who garden in the Flint Hills will inevitably turn to daylilies as a way to fill border gaps with a minimum of fuss.

The real beauty of daylilies, however, is the versatility of their form and color and in the way my favorites change year to year.  Every time that I'm about ready to stop growing a particular color or form of daylily, when yet one more another look at a brassy orange or a muddy red ruffled flower leaves me near screaming, another season rolls around and I cease and desist in my extermination plans.  I sudddenly find the ugly ducklings are now the beautiful swans, and the daylilies that I liked last year are just not quite as appealing.

'Little Grapette'
I've drifted through love-hate phases that are likely common to many Hemerocallis growers.  The "hate the oranges and apricots" phase.  The "hmmm, the oranges look pretty fabulous this year" phase.  The "I'm wild about spider daylilies" phase.  The "subtle pinks and corals turn me on" phase.   The "eyed daylilies are the cats meow" phase. The "anything but Stella de Oro" phase.

This year, a poor year for daylilies in the dry Flint Hills, I'm in a "dark red and purple" phase.  Where 'Beautiful Edging' seems to have failed me, and where "Kwanso" is leaving me a little bit uneasy, the dark daylilies are standing out in sulky splendor.  'Little Grapette' is really purple, for once.  'Prairie Blue Eyes' is full of deep almost blue hues it has lacked in other years.  The dark reds are not quite black, but are certainly drawing me deeper into their mysteries than ever before. All this yet another example of nothing under God's creation lacking value.

So, just as a piece of advice from ProfessorRoush to reader, never turn down an offered daylily, no matter the color or form.  You may hate that brassy orange this year.  You may detest the short, stature and light yellow of 'Happy Returns'.  Apricot daylilies may leave you sick to your stomach, and purples with yellow throats may appear clownish in your garden this July.  But someday in the future, every daylily will have its moment in the sun, and you'll be glad they're still a part of your garden. I'm glad this year that the purples are here and I wish, once again this year, the oranges and 'Stella De Oro'  would die.  I can't just spade-prune the oranges, you understand, because Mrs. ProfessorRoush isn't as fickle in her daylily tastes and the oranges are her favorite every year.  When she wants me to plant more of them this year, I plan to smile, nod, buy more purples, and lie.


  1. As are mine. Not much bloom or growth and lots of dried leaves that I'm ascribing to the drought, although there was some debate in the last EMG meeting that it was a fungus. I'm going to post on them after the peak bloom.


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