D is for Daylilies

My favorite flowers in the garden have to be the daylilies.  I started my collection with the standard Stella D’oro, and they continue to be the most productive plants.

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I have divided them numerous times, shared them with countless neighbors and friends, offered them up to the Garden Club for our annual May Mart flower sale, and I still have more to divide and conquer.  I simply cannot bring myself to destroy any, so they keep on reproducing!

One of the best features of the daylily has to be (in my own opinion) the ease of which they grow.  I do deadhead them, simply to encourage more blooms.  The plant’s purpose is to produce seeds, so the more you frustrate that attempt by removing spent flowers, the more the plant tries to reproduce by producing more flowers.  Simple.  And by late summer, many of the leaves around the base have turned brown.  Easy to remove and actually revitalize the appearance.

And they come back, year after year, even in my snowy part of the world.  And the first plants start blooming in late May, with the final show ending sometime in late August.  If you are lucky, you get a second blooming period.  No muss, no fuss.  Reliable.

A few springs back, I attended the May Flower Sale at Phipps Conservatory, which just happens to be located right across the street from where I work the day job.  I was astounded by the multitudes of varieties that the local chapter of the American Hemerocallis Society (aka American Daylily Society) had on display and for sale.  They had catalogs of all different varieties, too numerous to even count, picture albums that included the names of each.

I had some variety in mind, and naively thought I would be able to locate it in their catalog.

When I first started collecting Daylilies, I created small name tags to keep with the plants.  But these tags have been long-lost and faded, so now I really don’t know what I have. I make up names for them, and continue to Google daylilies just to try to identify them.  Diploids, tetraploids, (something to do with chromosomes, sounds too technical) throat color, petal shape, height – so many ways to differentiate.

The latest one I (thought I) ordered was called Coach’s Fast Break.  This was the picture of what I thought I was ordering (on the left).

And this is what bloomed (on the right).  A quick search on Google, and I think I have Coach’s Braided Angel.  Surprise!!

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Can’t wait for this summer’s daylily show to begin!

 

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Daylily Faves

June, aka Daylily Premier month, pretty much escaped me this year as I was so busy preparing for B’s graduation party.  I took a few pictures here and there as I noticed the blooms.  I usually take note of the order of blooms – yellows, then oranges, then reds.  They are all in bloom today!  But I’m sure they did it all in order.  Great thing about perennials – they grow without any help from me!

Every year, I seem to have a new favorite.  As they emerge, I try to remember which was the favorite last year.  I think it was this one.

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2015 Best of Show

 

But this year, I’m not sure which to choose.  These dark red ones are really captivating.

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2016 Fave Contender

 

I wish I could remember where I got each of them.  I do know that these lemon yellow ones came from Elaine, and of course, the original Stella D’oros came from Alice.

I bought a few from Shady Rest Gardens last year, and the blooms are truly spectacular.  I tried keeping the name tags close to the spots where they would be coming up this year, but the weather was not kind to said tags.  They were blank this spring!!  There were a number of new-to-me varieties like Coach’s Fast Break, Jewel in a Crown, Monkey Giggles.  I wish I knew which was which, but they are great additions to the Daylily Collection.

 

A Hemerocallis by any other name

About 10 years ago, I started noticing beautiful daylilies around the neighborhood.  Seemed as though every yard that was adorned with flowers had at least one specimen.  The one I noticed first was the stella d’oro.  In fact, I believe my first daylily was a stella d’oro Alice divided and shared.

stella d'oro

stella d’oro

A few years later, she gave me a pink one and a taller maroon one.

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I don’t know the official names of all of my daylilies.  I ordered some through mail order nurseries, and have misplaced the identifiers.

So on my first trip to the Phipps Conservatory Mothers Day flower sale, I searched out the daylily table, thinking these experts will surely be able to help me identify my daylilies.  I thought I could simply show them my pictures and they would recognize them immediately.

OMG – was I in for a surprise.

This table, belonging to the Pittsburgh Iris and Daylily Society, sported binders upon binders of pictures – hundreds of pictures – of possible varieties.  I never realized how many there are.

I’m a fan of daylilies and have visited many websites that feature them.  With the vast amount of hybridizing, there are literally thousands of varieties, each with its own lineage, each with its own interesting name.  And I discovered you can register your own varieties and give them proper registered names.  The American Hemerocallis Society offers a registration service, where for a small fee, you can register your own cultivars.  There are many rules and many features of the flowers that must be documented in order to complete the registration.

I will do my best to identify the daylilies in my collection, but I doubt I will ever be sure.  For now, I will be making up names for them, until the “official” names are discovered.

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