Daylilies On Parade: GBBD, July 2012
I can’t say that the hot, sticky weather we are currently having is my favorite weather; but this is my favorite part of the garden year. The display of yellow, orange and red flowers that greets visitors who venture up the dirt road to my house in mid-July correctly identifies the current stars of the garden – the daylilies (Hemerocallis). I’m always surprised at how quickly the daylily season develops. It seems as though I wait forever for the these flowers to begin blooming, walking around the garden every morning, peering into daylily foliage for signs of developing flower scapes. But within a week after the first flower opens, I have ten different varieties in bloom; a week after that, twenty. At this time of year, each morning includes the discovery of first blooms on one or more additional cultivars.
As of this morning, 20 of the more than 40 daylily varieties I grow in my garden were blooming. There are daylilies blooming in almost every part of the garden.
The Circular Bed at the turn into the driveway is dominated by the golds and oranges of a wonderfully garish diamond-dusted gold daylily (an unregistered cultivar from the Barth breeding program), the more self-contained ‘Margaret Seawright,’ and the false sunflower (Heliopsis) ‘Bressingham Doubloon.’ These brash colors are softened by flowers of Geranium x ‘Brookside,’ G. x oxonianum, and Lady’s Mantle (Alchemilla mollis).
The strong presence of yellows in the garden is continued in the drift of Coreopsis verticillata ‘Golden Showers’ naturalizing along the side of the driveway and by more yellow daylilies (‘Happy Returns’ and ‘Mary Todd’) on the back slope. The back slope also features an unidentified velvety red daylily (a long-ago gift from a friend) and the first of the blue balloon flowers (Platycodon).
In the hodge-podge flower bed under my bedroom window, blooms include the fragrant pale yellow flower of Hemerocallis ‘Hyperion’ and a lovely lavender cultivar called ‘Protocol.’
More daylily action can be found in the back garden. In the Fence Border, which is designed to take its star turn in late summer and fall, the first flowers of the pale yellow ‘Prairie Moonlight’ and pale pink ‘Woman’s Work’ are playing a quiet supporting role for the main attraction, the deep mauve flowers of Clematis ‘Comtesse de Bouchaud’ blooming on the garden fence. (Another Clematis, the soft blue C. viticella ‘Arabella’ that was added to this flower bed last year, has put on very little new growth and has not bloomed this year.)
Daylily blooms are also just beginning in the Deck Border, where the first flowers of ‘Country Melody’ and an unnamed wine-colored cultivar opened just two days ago. The main focus in this flower bed is still the Astilbes. While the early varieties of ‘Cattleya’ and ‘Bridal Veil’ are beginning to fade, and the plumes of Astilbe biternata and goatsbeard (Aruncus dioicus) have darkened from white to cream to tan, the beautiful arching inflorescences of Astilbe thumbergii ‘Ostrich Plume’ are still going strong and the thick upright blooms of Astilbe chinensis taquetti are just beginning.
Daylilies are already providing a strong yellow presence in the Blue and Yellow Border, where five varieties are blooming and four more are still to come. The early rebloomer ‘Boothbay Harbor Gold’ was the first to bloom here and is now starting to slow down. (It will rest a bit before sending up another set of flower scapes.) ‘Alna Pride’ is a favorite of mine because of its wonderful vanilla fragrance. The melon-colored daylily that is also blooming in this grouping is an unknown variety that I bought for $1 from Don Celler at Rock Oak Gardens when he retired and sold off all his stock and that I’ve never succeeded in identifying. (It is about 24” tall with flowers about 5” in diameter and is probably a tetraploid; if this looks familiar to anyone, I’d love to have a name for it.) Other yellow daylilies currently blooming in this flower bed are ‘Mary Todd’ and ‘Treasure Room.’ Blue accents are provided by several fading delphinium blooms (these plants did not do well this year), Linum perenne, hardy geraniums, and a few last tradescantia flowers. As a special treat, the Siberian iris ‘White Swirl,’ which finished blooming several weeks ago, has opened a new flower. (This plant rebloomed in the very wet summer of 2009, and I’m guessing that this year’s bonus bloom is a response to our heavy rain in the first half of June.)
What makes the July garden so exciting is not just all the flowers that are in bloom, but all that are still to come. I have at least 15 daylily varieties with buds that have not yet begun to bloom. In another week to 10 days, the Blue and Yellow Border will be bursting with yellow blooms of daylilies, Heliopsis, Coreopsis, and Rudbeckia ‘Herbstsonne,’ and with an abundance of blue balloon flowers (Platycodon grandiflora) and Phlox paniculata ‘Blue Paradise.’
I know I’m not the only one with a riot of blooms in the July garden. To see what’s in bloom this month in gardens around the world, visit May Dreams Gardens where Carol hosts Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day on the 15th of each month.