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Daylilies On Parade: GBBD, July 2012

July 16, 2012

front daylily displayI 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.

front daylilies

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, July 2012 (photo credit: Jean Potuchek)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).

Margaret Seawright2 barth large gold2
brookside and golds

back slope July 2012The 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).

back slope blooms july 2012

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.’

hyperion Protocol

fence border july 2012More 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.)

fence border blooms july 2012

deck border july 2012Daylily 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.

deck border blooms july 2012

b&y july 2012Daylilies 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.)

b&y blooms july 2012

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.

45 Comments leave one →
  1. July 16, 2012 2:44 am

    You are a horrible, horrible person, do you know that? I am now green with day lily envy and want ALL of the flowers you’ve showed…

    Your garden looks stunning, and you’ve definitely moved a variety of day lilies a few places up on my “must-buy” list.

    • July 17, 2012 9:36 pm

      Soren, I plead guilty to being a daylily addict — and since there are many tens of thousands of daylily cultivars (and that’s just the officially registered ones!), there are always more varieties that the addict just has to have. I do love them.

      • July 18, 2012 12:56 am

        I realised last weekend that I need some more July-bloom in my garden, so I can’t really think of a better plant than the day lily… Also, I could do with some yellow to balance out loads of purple clematis, so I’m clearly going to be spoiled for choice.

        -And as far as addictions go, I’m sure this is one of the more harmless types… And definitely one of the prettiest!

  2. Anonymous permalink
    July 16, 2012 5:00 am

    Jean – your lilies are crazy beautiful. My grandma always had lilies in the flower beds which always brightened up the entire yard. I don’t think I have ever seen as many varieties as you have. Grandma always grew Tiger lilies – so bright they looked like they were going to jump out of the bed and bite you.

    • July 17, 2012 9:39 pm

      Are the Tiger lilies your grandmother grew the tall orange ones like in my top photo? There are many common names for those, including “tiger lilies.” (Around here, they’re sometimes called “tawny lilies,” and in the American south, they’re called “ditch lilies.”) Those were the first daylilies I knew as a child; my mother would have my father stop the car when we were out for a Sunday drive and dig some up from the edge of the woods along some country road to take home and plant in the garden.

  3. July 16, 2012 7:27 am

    Gorgeous collection of Daylilies and I love the way you’ve scattered them all about. That unidentified velvety red Daylily is just spectacular! I just loved the drift of Coreopsis and yellow Daylilies with the spectacular red Daylily and the blue Balloon Flower. It’s beautiful.

    • July 17, 2012 9:42 pm

      Bernie, That velvety red daylily is very pretty; but like a lot of red daylilies, it is not colorfast. This one doesn’t fade in the sun as much as some do, but it does run in the rain! On a very rainy day, it can start out as red in the morning and end up as a bunch of beige mush by mid-afternoon. And they always end up staining my clothes. (I should have a special red shirt to wear for deadheading the daylilies. :-))

  4. July 16, 2012 10:37 am

    What a great collection of daylilies. And that white and gold Siberian iris is breathtaking.

    • July 17, 2012 9:44 pm

      Jason, Having two new flowers show up on that Siberian iris at this stage of the summer was a pure gift. Of course, since the weather is very hot, each flower has only lasted for a day — but, still, what a special treat!

  5. July 16, 2012 11:18 am

    Jean your garden is looking so beautiful with all of the daylilies in bloom. I adore your Mary Todd lily. Just gorgeous. Thanks for sharing your lilies. I cannot get enough of them.

    • July 17, 2012 9:47 pm

      Lona, I can’t get enough of them, either. And at this time of year, daylilies (which seem to love our Maine climate and soil conditions) are blooming everywhere. I should take my camera out and photograph some of the wonderful combinations that are growing along the side of the road or that have been planted on median strips in the nearby cities.

      Mary Todd is often described in catalogs as one of the best tetraploid yellows. It has a fairly long blooming season and it forms big clumps quite quickly. I divided my original plant in the Blue and Yellow Border a few years ago and took two divisions, one of which is now blooming on the back slope and the other of which is blooming in my sister-in-law’s Rhode Island garden.

  6. July 16, 2012 1:41 pm

    Never a big fan of daylilies, you are changing my mind here.

    • July 17, 2012 9:53 pm

      Ricki, I know some people are not daylily fans. One of my friends considers them too “messy” — I think because there can be such a high ratio of drooping, spent blooms to those that are having their day. As I do my ritual walk through the garden each morning, I take a basket and use it to collect daylily deadheads as I go. I don’t experience this as a chore, but as a pleasure.
      Because there is such a dizzying variety of daylily cultivars, it’s easy to find some that you like. Some people go in big for lots of ruffles, or for double flowers, or for big droopy spider forms. My own preference tends to be for simple, more lily-like shapes.

  7. July 16, 2012 2:20 pm

    Aloha Jean,

    How are you? Thanks for the amazing tour, your lillies are stunning, I should really grow some here, but there are no interesting varieties for sale here, I’ll just have to admire yours from afar 🙂

    • July 17, 2012 9:55 pm

      Noel, It’s great to hear from you. Well, maybe Hawaii isn’t prime territory for daylilies; but, on the other hand, you can grow all those fabulous “loud and proud” tropical flowers that I can’t even dream about! I guess we can each have it all by visiting the other’s virtual garden.

  8. July 16, 2012 2:31 pm

    Aahh, what a tour! why am I so spectacularly unsuccessful with daylilies? 😦

    • July 17, 2012 9:58 pm

      Jack, Do lots of people grow daylilies successfully in your climate? They seem to love our cool climate and sandy glacial soil in Maine, and I would think your conditions would be very different. I’m thinking about all your wonderful hydrangeas and the fact that I can’t grow hydrangeas because my soil is just too “well-drained” for them to get the moisture they need. Is it possible your soil is too moist for daylilies?

      • July 23, 2012 2:28 am

        It’s a thought, Jean. However my drainage, especially where I’ve planted them, is good. I tend to think that they’re less happy with our just-below-freezing to shirt-sleeves temperature fluctuations most winter days. friends with much warmer winter nights and possibly less good drainage have more success than I do.

  9. July 16, 2012 3:50 pm

    Wow! You do have lilies! I haven’t ever seen so many different lilies. Stunning!

    Satu from Finland

    • July 17, 2012 10:02 pm

      Satu, Thanks for visiting. There are more than 60,000 different varieties of daylilies registered with the American Hemerocallis Society alone, so it’s easy to get carried away growing lots of different varieties. During the years I was developing many parts of my garden, there was a daylily nursery operating just a few miles from my house. Every weekend in the summer, the nursery would have a “dig your own” sale. You could wander through the daylily fields, digging up a healthy division of any plant you wanted. Garden spades, plastic bags, and labels were provided; and the plants were only $5 each. Even when I told myself I was “just looking,” I could never resist buying at least one plant (and often more!) while I was there.

  10. July 16, 2012 5:15 pm

    Hello Jean
    You have created wonderful colour combinations using the daylilies and other perennials. The soft yellow daylilies are perfect with the pale blue flax. And aren’t the balloon flowers a really intense blue this year? Just love them! thanks for posting – your garden is looking very beautiful.

    • July 18, 2012 10:27 pm

      Astrid, I am very partial to all those soft yellow daylilies. This is the first year that Prairie Moonlight has gotten to be well enough established to put on a good show, and I’m delighted by those big pale yellow flowers and by how well they blend with the nearby blues of a tall veronica and pinks of geranium and other daylilies. The blue balloon flowers are the main source of blue in my garden from mid-July through fall. They really like my conditions here, grow into big tall clumps, and even self-sow on occasion.

  11. July 16, 2012 5:24 pm

    Hello Jean – I must concur with the previous post – your garden is looking blissful and I am very envious of your huge collection of daylilies – I only have five to date, and yours look so happy and thriving it’s very inspiring. Thank you also for making me one of your ‘blogs of the month’ – how kind of you, it’s very much appreciated. We in England have had three solid months of torrential rain, and Cambridge is actually flooded in parts (which doesn’t happen very often) and you have a heatwave – it’s certainly a strange old summer for gardeners this year. Thank you for your super blog and happy gardening. Ursula

    • July 18, 2012 10:31 pm

      Ursula, I’ve been following the story about England’s rainy summer. I think many of us in the states wish we had some way to do a weather swamp. Most of us have been suffering from drought and from the hottest year on record; we’d love to send you about half of our warm sunshine in exchange for about half of your rain. Alas, that’s not the way it works. We had a summer like yours here in Maine in 2009, and I remember how miserable and grumpy it made me. Instead of the garden being a source of pleasure, just going out and walking around it each morning became a chore that required major rain gear! I hope you get at least some “sunny spells” soon.

  12. July 16, 2012 8:14 pm

    Jean I literally wait every year to see your daylily post(s). I cannot wait to see all of them blooming along with so many amazing companions. And there are more to come so I can see at least another post…I have them all over but not in any order or color…I adore how they just pop up and the color comes alive. I will highlight mine next month and will have very few names since I lost the tags.

    • July 18, 2012 10:35 pm

      Donna, I don’t know the names of the first daylilies that I acquired or the ones that I got from friends who got them as passalong plants from someone else. But as your basic OCD-type gardener, I tend to be pretty compulsive about keeping track of the names of my plants. I’m just about to reach the tipping point in my daylily season. Up until now, every day has brought more plants into bloom. But even though there are many more still to come, some of the early ones are now opening their last flowers (which always makes me feel a little sad).

  13. July 16, 2012 10:31 pm

    Jean – can you recommend any that are rebloomers and are a true pink?

    • July 17, 2012 10:35 pm

      Hi Jess, The only one in my collection that fits that description is “Final Touch.” It’s a bitone flower with pink petals and the palest of pink sepals. Like a lot of rebloomers, it has flowers on the small side (about 4 3/4″); in my garden, it begins blooming in mid-season, and keeps going until Fall. If you look at my Daylily Season post from last August, you can find a photo of this one in the last collage. But there are probably many daylily varieties in your region that aren’t available here, and there may well be lots of other possibilities (especially because your season is so much longer). I recommend going to the American Hemerocallis Society website, clicking on “Display Gardens” in the sidebar menu, and then going to your region (region 15, North and South Carolina). There you can find places in your region to go look at daylilies, and many of these are also daylily breeders who really know what’s out there. You’ll also find contact info on those pages for daylily societies in your region (including a Lowcountry Daylily Club); I bet the folks there would have good suggestions for you.

  14. July 17, 2012 1:40 am

    Daylilies my way don’t seem to do that well–especially when compared to yours! It probably doesn’t help that the coastal region here has just broken through the 70 degree barrier for more than just a day or two. My favorite after viewing your gallery is the lovely red one. It figures that the plant so many people love most is the one with no name attached. I have a few charismatic plants around that are in the same category–lovely but totally unknown. I hope summer brings you even more great things!

    • July 19, 2012 8:41 pm

      James, It does look as though your part of the country is not great for growing daylilies. I was looking at the American Hemerocallis Society website, and they have all of California lumped together with Nevada, Arizona and Hawaii as one region; and in that region there are very few daylily display sources and no nurseries listed as daylily sources. Because there are so many varieties of daylilies, I always try to buy plants from growers in my region who are actually growing them in fields so that I can be more sure to get cultivars that are appropriate for my climate. They do have a daylily display at the Los Angeles Botanical Garden, and it might be interesting to see what they are growing there. All in all, though, it seems as though the wisest thing is to grow all those wonderful plants that love to grow in southern California and forget about daylilies.

  15. July 17, 2012 4:44 pm

    your blue and yellow is a tour de force!

    • July 19, 2012 8:43 pm

      Diana, You know I’m nuts for the blue and yellow color combination. In the past couple days, a tall blue veronica started blooming next to that pale yellow ‘Prairie Moonlight’ daylily in the Fence Border, and I’m just loving the way they look together. (It will be even better when they both mature into more substantial plants.)

  16. July 17, 2012 10:47 pm

    What a lovely collection of daylilies, I absolutely adore them! Mine are 5-6 weeks behind, normally they would have been finished by now in my London garden but because of all the rain and the cold weather, and lack of sunshine they are very behind – and it seems like some of them are not even going to produce any flowers this year! Never happened before, so I hope it is a one off.

    • July 19, 2012 8:52 pm

      Helene, Several of my daylilies didn’t put up any flower scapes this year, and some others put up very few scapes. I’ve been doing some research on what causes this, and here are some likely causes: (1) too little water — definitely not your problem! (2) too little sunlight (most likely the problem in your garden this year, and the problem for some of my plants which are being shaded by overhanging shrubs); (3) too much crowding (a likely problem for some of my plants, not because the clump has gotten too big, but because nearby plants have grown into their space).

  17. July 18, 2012 2:22 pm

    We don’t really have room for day lilies. If we did, I’d be overruled and have to put in Crocosmia instead, even if they aren’t terribly fashionable. You have some really lovely varieties though and there seem to endless combinations of colour – perhaps apart from blue and purple – are there delphinium-like colours to be found in day lilies?

    • July 19, 2012 8:56 pm

      Sunil, No blue daylilies. The colors are more in the range of roses than the range of delphiniums. Most species daylilies are yellow, with other colors developed through hybridization. The daylily breeders have managed to develop lots of pinks, lavenders, reds and oranges, but no true blues and no true whites.

  18. July 19, 2012 2:34 pm

    Absolutely wonderful! I always forget what an amazing variety there is in the daylily world! I really must find some of those lavender ones 🙂

    • July 19, 2012 9:02 pm

      Scott, The variety is dizzying; the American Hemerocallis Society currently lists over 72,000 registered cultivars (and that’s not counting species plants and all the seedlings from breeding programs that were never registered)!! If you’re interested in lavender flowers, go the AHS website and take a look at ‘Rock Solid,’ one of the 2011 Award of Merit winners.

  19. July 19, 2012 10:27 pm

    The blue is such an amazing color. I think it’s hard to get a nice blue color in the garden like that. What a collection you have. Thanks for sharing!

  20. July 21, 2012 9:38 am

    Hello Jean
    I follow your blog on a regular basis. I think it’s fabulous and “lovely”, therefore I nominate you for the One Lovely Blog award!! Congratulations! You can find the rules on my site
    If you feel you cannot comply with the rules of the award, please accept this nomination in the sincere spirit in which it is offered.

    • July 24, 2012 10:20 pm

      Astrid, Thank you so much for honoring my blog in this way.

  21. July 21, 2012 5:29 pm

    Hi Jean,you have such a wonderful collection of daylilies. I confess I like your unnamed red/wine ones the best. I have often thought of planting some of the more attractive modern cultivars among my common ‘ditch lilies’. I also love how the various blue flowers accent the colors of your lilies.

    • July 24, 2012 10:27 pm

      Deb, I bought that wine-colored one as an unnamed seedling from one of the “dig your own” sales from Don Celler’s daylily nurseries. I don’t know if it was one of his own seedlings or one that he had acquired from another grower for breeding purposes. Either way, I have always wondered why no one ever registered and named it. Not only is it a beautiful flower, but it is a very vigorous plant (I divided it the second year I had it in my garden because the clump had already grown so large) with a high bud count and a long blooming season. I’m sure glad I grabbed it when it was available.

  22. Meurs Eddy permalink
    July 23, 2012 4:42 pm

    I enjoy time and again of your blog.
    Hemerocallis very nice,is one my favorite among my collection of plants is huge herein.
    Where you can enjoy here.I am totally jealous.My life is full of hustle and more focused concentration in the medical world.
    Enjoy life and sure of your garden and walk,the morning brings gold stoodthe mouth.

    • July 24, 2012 10:28 pm

      Thanks for visiting for this year’s daylily bloom. I think Hemerocallis is my favorite among my collection of plants, too.

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