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Daylilies, Daylilies

July 28, 2016

Those who have been following this blog for any length of time will know that one of my favorite flowering perennials is the daylily (Hemerocallis). I’m not usually a big plant collector, but I make an exception for daylilies and love to add new varieties to my garden.

Grenier gardens daylilies

This week is the peak of the daylily season in my area, and peak daylily bloom is a great time to shop for new plants. On Monday, I drove over to a local daylily nursery, Grenier Gardens, to look for daylilies for my new side slope planting. Since my design for this area calls for 2 groups of peach-colored daylilies and 3 groups of yellow daylilies, those were the colors I was looking for; and I took photos of several promising prospects.

Grenier English Cameo Grenier Daydream Believer Grenier unidentified peach

I like to plant daylilies in groups of three varieties that are similar in color, but have somewhat different heights and bloom times.  I didn’t actually buy any daylilies this week, because this garden area won’t be ready for planting for another 3-4 weeks. I will go back to Grenier Gardens in another week or two, check out the later-blooming varieties they have for sale, and make my selections then.

Primozich daylilies2016Yesterday I got to see how another gardener uses daylilies in her garden when the Foothills Garden Club visited the garden of Donna Primozich.  This is one of my favorite gardens to visit, and I have written about the garden before (see Inspired and Inspiring: The Primozich Garden). In previous visits, I’ve focused more on Donna’s beautiful shade garden, but the focus of this visit was on daylilies.

In the older parts of Donna’s garden, the daylilies often grow in partially shaded areas.

Sometimes the daylilies are one component of a varied plant composition, as in this planting by the house. Primozich daylily planting by house
Primozich edge of woods daylilies And sometimes, they are in plantings that are predominantly daylilies, like this island bed near the edge of the woods.
But generally in these part-sun/part-shade flower beds, soft colors reign. Primozich daylily soft colors

In a newer, sunny part of her garden, however, Donna Primozich has indulged her love of hot colors. The result is dazzling, and I was eager to absorb lessons that I can apply to my own hot-color planting-to-be on the front slope.

Primozich hot color combination For example, it would never have occurred to me to combine these vibrant reds, oranges and yellows with purple tones, but it works beautifully.
I also love the combination of these orange, yellow, and red daylilies with the hot pink bee balm – and I note the harmonizing effects of touches of white and silver. Primozich plant combinations

I currently have 55 different daylily varieties planted in my garden. Even when I add more in the various parts of my new front garden, I will have far fewer than Donna Primozich. And in any given year, some of my daylilies won’t bloom. Last year, when I planted the new flower beds of my entry garden, two of the daylilies that I moved from my holding area had not been happy there and were mere shadows of their former selves. One had so little mass left (a few small roots and one stem) that I doubted it would survive. I was happy to see both these plants growing happily in my garden this spring and much larger than they were when I planted them a year ago. I don’t mind that they haven’t put up flower scapes this year. They’ve clearly been putting their energy into bulking up and growing roots, and I expect them to bloom next year. I have other daylilies that are not blooming because they have been literally overshadowed by other plants and are not getting enough sunlight to make flowers. In some of these cases, the daylilies will get moved to new locations; in others, the overhanging plants will get thinned out or cut back.

Even with some non-bloomers, I have had thirty different varieties of daylilies blooming simultaneously in my garden this week. And there are still more varieties to come. But this week also saw the beginning of declining bloom as some of the earliest varieties opened their last buds and came to the end of their blooming season. From here on out, for each new variety that begins to bloom, one or more will come to the end of their bloom. As July turns into August, the daylily display will get smaller; and by the time August turns into September, only a few varieties will be left.

Our extended drought, while nothing compared to the serious multi-year drought of California and other parts of the West, has depressed daylily bloom. I’ve noticed misshapen buds on some plants, and some buds have dried up and fallen off without opening. Many varieties have made fewer flowers than they normally would. Even in a relatively bad year, however, daylilies are the stars of my July garden. I leave you with these images of the daylily varieties currently blooming in my garden that were not blooming when I last posted about daylilies two weeks ago:

peak daylilies

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22 Comments leave one →
  1. July 28, 2016 3:34 pm

    Wow, you have an amazing selection! I like your soft colors, though my daylilies tend to be on the bright side.

    • July 30, 2016 9:42 pm

      Jason, I have mostly gold and orange daylilies that bloom earlier in July, with the pinks and soft yellows kicking in later.

  2. July 29, 2016 10:14 am

    What abundance! Such beautiful colours and elegant fountain shapes.

    • August 1, 2016 8:29 pm

      Sofia, One of the things I love about daylilies is the wonderful abundance of colors.

  3. July 29, 2016 2:20 pm

    Very beautiful. You must have some very organized system for keeping them straight like I do for snowdrops.

    • August 1, 2016 8:31 pm

      Carolyn, I do keep a list of the plants in my garden and which flower bed(s) each one is planted in. So far, though, my daylilies seem to be like my children; I don’t have much trouble telling them apart. As I add more varieties, though, I may reach some point where I need to keep maps of which plant is where in a flower bed.

  4. July 29, 2016 6:17 pm

    Your daylilies are glorious, Jean! I look forward to seeing your expanded collection next year. I went on a bit of a daylily buying spree when we first moved into our current house but my collection can’t hold a candle to yours. The display the last 2 years has been particularly poor, even in the case of the winter dormant variety (‘Sammy Russell’ I think), which was here when we moved in. I’m blaming the combination of drought and water restrictions. Looking at things from the most positive frame of reference, at least I think the lilies are just laying low and not dead.

    • August 1, 2016 8:36 pm

      Kris, As long as the soil is well-drained (which mine is, with a vengeance!), I find that most of my daylilies seem happier in wetter years. I imagine that your drought conditions would be a particular challenge in growing them. I’m hoping for more snow this winter, more rain next spring, and a more abundant display of even more daylily varieties next summer!

  5. July 31, 2016 5:03 am

    I’ve been very pleased to find three different varieties of daylilies in my garden. Obviously there’s a ‘fulva’ – as there should be in a country garden – but there’s also an early lemon-yellow variety and a yellow-edged red variety that is making a major fireworks display right next to my terrace. Surprisingly enough the two latter are very elegant with narrow petals; considering the rest of the planting I would have expected the previous owners to go for something showier, really, but I guess I’ll have to add that myself.

    • August 1, 2016 8:39 pm

      Soren, There is a house in my neighborhood that has several big clumps of those early yellow ones, which are known around here as “lemon lilies.” I keep thinking about knocking on their door and asking if they would be willing to share a division. Your yellow-edged red variety sounds delightful; can you post a photo?

      • August 4, 2016 11:23 am

        I’m pretty sure you’d be able to offer them something beautiful as a trade-off… In the old Flâneur Garden I would often trade perennials with the neighbours.

        The yellow edging fades during the day, so it’s not very visible in this afternoon flower – and the real colour is a bit more of a brownish-red, though more vibrant than a ‘fulva’.

        • August 4, 2016 11:25 am

          I tried embedding a picture in the reply above, but since that didn’t work here’s a link…

  6. July 31, 2016 10:00 am

    Jean, Thank you so much for sharing Donna’s dazzling daylily gardens! I am definitely inspired as well. I have a slope with several miscanthus grasses growing on it and have been trying to decide what to plant on the lower slope below them. An array of daylillies would be perfect I think. Now to figure out what colors and bloom times! Do let us know what you choose for your garden. K

    • August 1, 2016 8:41 pm

      Kathy, Donna’s garden is amazing, especially so because it is all her own vision and labor. I love the idea of daylilies on the slope below your miscanthus grasses. I think it’s hard to go wrong with daylilies. I will post about what I am including in late August, when I get the side slope planted.

  7. July 31, 2016 8:34 pm

    Donna’s daylilies are fabulous, and so are yours! I can see why you love them, and with their succession of blooms they give you so much color through the season. Well done!

    • August 1, 2016 8:44 pm

      Deb, It’s great to have such beautiful flowers that are so easy to grow. It looks like some of my late bloomers aren’t going to bloom this year (because it has been too dry for them to make flowers), so my display will probably end earlier than usual. I can live with that; as the daylilies blooms are getting fewer, the phlox are just getting ready to bloom and the asters will follow after that.

  8. August 1, 2016 7:20 pm

    They look great in spite of the dry weather. The garden must be just filled with flowers!

    • August 1, 2016 8:46 pm

      Bittster, I confess to composing and cropping the photos to make the garden look better than it does. 😉 There are fewer flowers than normal because most daylily varieties have made fewer blooms. If we ever get some rain, I’m hoping some of the rebloomers might put out a second flush of flowers.

      • August 1, 2016 11:01 pm

        I’ve been doing plenty of cropping as well with our drought, but did get a weekend full of rain so that will hopefully help. If only I could send some of it it your way!

        • August 2, 2016 5:28 pm

          At this point, I would definitely consider any rain sent this way a gift! The same high pressure systems coming down from Canada that have saved us from being under the “heat dome” have also forced low pressure systems and their accompanying rain out to sea to our south.

  9. Helene permalink
    August 2, 2016 7:44 pm

    I absolutely love daylilies and would like to have many more – if I could squeeze them in somewhere. But 55 different varieties sounds incredible!! You have a lovely collection flowering, I like those soft coloured ones, but I have some really bright ones too – ‘David Kirchhoff’ has been the star in my garden this year 🙂

  10. August 3, 2016 4:42 pm

    Hello Jean, I have to confess to taking out a rather large patch of “bald” daylilies (they had become congested) when we created the Corner Border. They haven’t made a re-appearance as I hated the flower colour, but seeing the variety available, I wouldn’t be surprised if they were reintroduced back into the garden in a future border.

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