Sunday, July 8, 2012

Damn Daylilies

 Several years ago I innocently wandered on to the Daylily forum on GardenWeb, never suspecting that I was about to be sucked into the vortex of High Maintenance. Ironic I know- for I am a high maintenance gardener --I would rather deadhead and water containers than dust and vacuum any day. But there is a limit-a high limit mind you, but a limit none the less.

 The GardenWeb Daylily people are extraordinarily dedicated , and much to my detriment, they post a lot of photos. I learned about the best mail order nurseries, learned about tetraploids and diploids,  proliffs and fans. I also learned about the Daylily Auction. Uh-oh. Very tempting that Daylily Auction. And so I was off. Boxes full of double and triple fans arriving weekly , thrilled to find that freebies are common, shocked to learn what some serious collectors might  pay  for newer hybrids. Even in the peak of my rose collection mania , I never forked out 200 bucks for a bare root rose. How happy I was though with my modest purchases..I stuck them in everywhere.

 It wasn't long before some tragic realities became apparent.Reality 1; snails love Daylily foliage. Not only delicious, but a superior hiding place. Snail nirvanah.Snail Utopia. Reality 2; Daylily colors are highly variable and unstable. In my soil and climate the lovely pinks and lavenders become exactly the color of the 'flesh' crayon you had in your box of crayolas. Flesh is not part of my garden color scheme. Reality 3; Dayliles look like crap if they aren't deadheaded every single day, and even crappier if the horrible snail foliage isn't stripped off frequently. Reality 4; the foliage is also crappy on the two Daylilies I have that the snails don't like.Reality 5; There are Daylilies who hate my garden , and the flowers never ever open all the way. Reality 6; Stippling.

 Still, they are compelling. I'm going to keep this one I guess.



And this one, Calico Jack.



Must keep Bela Lugosi



And what nice clear colors Tigerling has !



Flesh rejects.






Nice flowers , but they never open all the way. Adios.



Annoying stippling 





Not attractive.


13 comments:

  1. Photos are a serious problem for sure. You see? Even your examples of "flesh tone" rejects look quite magnificent. But I agree, first thing tomorrow I must catch up on deadheading...

    Years ago I sent photos of my "bush" school in West Africa to Mom and Dad, trying for a bit of sympathy. Everything was a mess. Buy they were sucked in by the photography and came for a visit!

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    1. I can handle deadheading the flowers pretty well 'bug, but deadheading the foliage..oy!

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  2. I got suckered in much the same way with day lilies. First it was just one or two, but I couldn't resist the drive to the day lily nursery on the weekends - always just for a look, but I always succumbed. Now I have them pretty much bordering my front garden. Last year I bought my most expensive one ever, and it was the one and only one to ever die outright on me. That hurt. I've had the occasional loss from a lazy transplant, but nothing like that before. And this year I have a great short term job overseas, and all I could think was ensuring I would be back in time to see them in flower!

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    1. Aw shucks Marisa..I'd be pretty bummed if I forked out the big bucks for a lemon ! I must say I've never lost one, they are incredibly vigorous.

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  3. Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!! I totally agree with Marie that your flesh tone rejects look quite beautiful... however, I also totally agree with you about the upkeep on daylilies. They are a major pain in the rear end and huge time sink. They do indeed look like crap if not attended to on a daily basis.... So, sadly, I'm also thinning out the ranks of daylilies in my gardens. But, that 'Calico Jack'... ooo la la... I might have to have that one, te he, we are all sick I tell you

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    1. I was pretty horrified to walk around my garden and find that I had somehow acquired 17 clumps of dayliles , all different varieties.I actually dug out 3 last fall so I was up to 20 at one point.jeesh !

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  4. Around my parts, people actually plant masses of Stella D'Oro daylilies as foundation and accent plants. Every time I see this I can't help but cringe. Every time I see a garden of mostly daylilies I can't help but cringe. Of course all the daylily nuts are going to crucify me now. To each his own.

    Yes, the flowers are compelling but for someone who prefers a garden with long seasonal interest, the best course of action is to deep six the daylilies altogether or pick a few favorites and plant them behind something low enough to show off the blooms but high enough to block the ratty foliage.

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    1. I believe that Stella D'Oro thing is a nationwide affliction Sue, they are all over the place here too.

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  5. Thank god you're keeping Bela Lugosi. Designer Thomas Hobbs went in for daylilies in a big way too -- wonder how that infatuation is going.

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    1. Thomas Hobbs is guilty as charged in my downfall..you'll note the foliage was never featured in any of those photos ! No doubt he has 'help' to keep things tidy .

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  6. You're going to kill me, Kathy -- I bought some of the daylilies we saw in the Buffalo gardens last year and I have been so happy this year -- I have been clicking my heels daily for a month or more - there are some real charmers and winners (and yes, I paid the most I've ever paid for one, gulp - but it's a stunner). The heat wave made them go over fairly quickly but for one season of settling in.... I'll keep with the daily maintenance, which is not hard - but ask me in another month, LOL.... Dont you love that Bela Lugosi bud count? Amazing (that's grown nicely too for me).... but the older Flesholas I've tossed and the stippled ones may get weeded out after another season. It's really hard to kill daylilies too... that's a "strength"? they made it thru this last 2 weeks of incredible weather in my zone.

    I love the thought your blog provokes, :). - Cindy H.

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    1. Cindy, I know myself all too well and once I weed out the dogs I fully expect I'll buy another now and again..just like Sue said above the siting is everything.I also think your climate is better for color stability ..lots of growers out your way aren't there ?

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  7. Daylilys make great compost, though. They break down nice and fast and the flowers heat up the pile. I like going through the garden every morning and snapping off the previous days flowers before they turn to drippy goo. I find it relaxing.

    What you need is a rat infestation, I guess. Rats love snails and slugs. Haven't seen a slug or snail for a few years now. Unfortunately.

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