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Wait For It! Wait For It!

July 1, 2016

spirea bloomsThe end of June is a time of exquisite anticipation in my garden. As June turns into July, the last of the Siberian irises are fading and the big flush of early summer blooms is coming to an end. But the big flower show of high summer has not quite begun.

I don’t want to give the impression that nothing is happening in the garden at this time of year. The spireas are at their peak, covered with masses of pink flowers.

Along the walkway to the patio, dense flower spikes of of Heuchera ‘Raspberry Regal’ continue to delight the ruby-throated hummingbirds. patio walkway blooms
ladys mantle blooms Hardy geraniums, tradescantia, and Lady’s mantle (Alchemilla mollis) also continue to bloom profusely. Astilbes and goatsbeard are beginning to bloom.

But the stars of peak summer bloom in my garden are the daylilies (Hemerocallis), and these are the flowers that I am eagerly anticipating. In recent weeks, my morning tour of the garden has involved considerable time peering into daylily foliage looking for (and compulsively counting) developing flower buds. At this point, most of my daylily plants – including those in my holding area waiting for new homes in the front garden and those newly added last year – have flower scapes showing.

holding area daylily scapes front garden daylily scapes

In most years, the daylilies start blooming right about now, either the last week in June or the first week in July, and build to a crescendo of bloom in mid-late July. Typically, the first daylily to bloom is one of the early rebloomers ‘Happy Returns’ or ‘Boothbay Harbor Gold.’ Both of these have many flower buds and will begin blooming soon.

Happy Returns flower scapes Boothbay Harbor Gold flower scapes

Lily Munster bloomThe surprise first daylily bloom was not on either of these plants, however, but on one of the newcomers in my garden, ‘Lily Munster,’ which has opened several flowers this week. ‘Lily Munster’ is one of those modern daylilies with huge flowers and twisted petals. I don’t usually like these, but this one captured my fancy when I saw it blooming at a local daylily nursery last summer. I expected it to be long blooming, because it had flowers when I first saw it in mid-July and was still blooming when I planted it in my garden more than a month later. Lily Munster hiddenBut I didn’t expect it to bloom early; the American Hemerocallis Society database lists it as a mid-season plant that reblooms. Unfortunately, all of the flowers ‘Lily Munster’ has opened so far have been hidden down among the foliage and difficult to see. This may be a plant whose flower stems tend to flop because the large flowers are too heavy for them. I’ll give it some support and hope that will make the flowers more visible.

In the days to come, the show I have been waiting for will begin in earnest as more and more of those daylily flowers begin to bloom.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. July 2, 2016 2:08 pm

    I love that spirea! Your garden may start out slow but it makes steady progress. Your ‘Lily Munster’ daylily was worth the wait. My own daylilies have had an absolutely terrible time this year. I thought they were relatively drought and heat tolerant but I guess there are limits to any form of tolerance. Hopefully, they’ll do better next year. Have a very happy 4th, Jean!

    • July 5, 2016 8:27 pm

      Kris, I love the spirea, too, especially when it is in its first flush of bloom. (It will continue blooming, but much more sparsely, throughout the summer.) I planted three of them in my garden more than a dozen years ago and then divided suckers from one of the original plants to make a fourth planting.Unfortunately, the plant is a potential problem. When I bought Spirea x ‘Magic Carpet’ it was billed as a sterile hybrid cultivar; now it is understood to be a fully fertile variety of Spirea japonica, and S. japonica has been listed as invasive in several of the mid-Atlantic states. Given the realities of climate change, what is invasive in the mid-Atlantic now is likely to become invasive in New England in the decades to come. I was planning to add another ‘Magic Carpet’ to my new side slope planting, but I realized I couldn’t justify it. Instead, I’ve added a cultivar of S. bumalda called ‘Neon Flash’ which was found to be sterile in a study done in Montana. It has similar color flowers but more blueish foliage.

  2. July 2, 2016 4:04 pm

    the walkway to the patio, is all newly planted?
    Looking very good!

    • July 5, 2016 8:30 pm

      Diana, The walkway to the patio was created and planted last summer and fall, so the planting is a little less than a year old. I am amazed at how mature it is already looking. I added annual Cosmos and Cleome to fill in this first year, but I didn’t really need them.

  3. debsgarden permalink
    July 3, 2016 10:35 pm

    Your summer garden is well-planned with its successive blooms. Everything is looking great! Your spireas are wonderful. A friend gave me some unidentified day lilies that have those twisted petals. I thought something was wrong with them! Now that I know this is normal, I will try to appreciate them.

    • July 5, 2016 8:36 pm

      Deb, I have been working at extending my garden season at both ends now that I’m living here year-round. In daylilies (and in most flowers), I tend to like the older, simpler, more elegant forms. When I made an exception for ‘Lily Munster,’ I expected her flowers to be a big, showy “Look at me!” feature in this border, but instead she is being shy. A friend tells me that some of her daylilies have bloomed shorter than normal this year because of our very dry winter, spring and summer, so I’m hoping she’ll turn into the Diva I expected (‘Lily Munster’, not my friend with the short daylilies 😉 ) next year.

  4. July 5, 2016 4:58 pm

    Hello Jean, I feel guilty in saying that I took all of the daylilies out that were in the newly-restored corner border. They had grown into a thick tangled mass of green that only produced a handful of flowers that themselves were a horrid orange-purple colour. They haven’t been replaced but there may be a place for some new (better coloured) ones in a new herbaceous border in the future.

    • July 5, 2016 8:38 pm

      Sunil, I don’t think you need to feel guilty about evicting flowers you don’t like from prime garden real estate!

  5. July 6, 2016 10:01 pm

    That is a wonderful twisted day lily! The light captured in the photo is quite wonderful too. I adore all lilies and I’m finding that ginger lilies are a whole new group to fascinate!

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