22 July 2009
Dazzled by Daylilies
I met a lovely woman the other day while I was out poking around a couple of nurseries. She confessed that she didn't particularly care for daylilies. I suggested that she take some time in the next week or so and get to Canning Daylily Gardens during their official open garden week (though visitors are welcome anytime, it's just that they're heading into peak bloom shortly) and see if she didn't change her mind about that. I think she'll find that there's more to daylilies than the ol' ditchlily that we all know and (mostly don't) love. Take 'Pride of Canning,' above, which was bred by Wayne and Wayne of Canning Daylily Gardens. What's not to love about this happy lovely flower?
There are somewhere in the vicinity of 60,000 named daylily cultivars. Gardeners love to collect them, breed them, crossbreed them, swap them with others. They've come a huge way in the past thirty or forty years, and now you can get daylilies in every colour but blue, pure black and pure white. Some come close to black and white, though. And most have fascinating watermarks, contrasting edges or throats. How about 'Roses in Snow'?
I have dozens of daylilies, and some of them have no names. I was given them by friends, or bought them from someone's garden, or (ahem), managed to lose the labels, in some cases. I'm sure someone recognizes this beauty, but I cannot find its label, remember where I got it, and haven't a hope in hades of figuring out which one it is by myself.
Although I have a number of solid-colour daylilies, I tend towards those with contrasting centres, like this 'El Desperado,' which is one of my favourites.
And this 'Destined to See' was destined to come home with me from the moment I saw it in a catalogue or a magazine. It's a bit of a slowgrower, but worth it when it blooms.
There are a few daylilies with double-names that are quite similar, and I get them hopelessly mixed up. I know I have 'Always Afternoon', 'Daring Dilemma', 'Classic Caper' and 'Daring Deception'... but which is which? This is 'Always Afternoon'-- I think!
And this is 'Night Beacon', which shows up really, really well as the daylight fades. You can see why.
'Smugglers Gold' is one I particularly like, although it sometimes gets blotchy when we have a lot of rain. My daylilies are just starting to open, however, so I'm hoping that the weather will settle down a bit before they get blooming in earnest.
This striking beauty is called 'South Seas' and I really like its unique colour. It's also fragrant, if I remember correctly. This time of year finds me walking around with yellow staining on my nose, as I MUST smell all the daylilies to see which are fragrant.
Remember I said breeders were getting closer to getting a real white daylily? Wayne and Wayne gave me 'Swiss Mint' a few years ago, and it's not only nearly white, it's wonderfully fragrant.
Designer Jeans lives in my butterfly garden, and something about it reminds me of butterflies.
And to wrap up this ode to daylilies (the first of probably several I'll do this summer), here's the wonderfully striking 'Malaysian Monarch.' Isn't it wonderful? I'm waiting patiently (or not) for ours to all pop into bloom. And then i'm going to photograph each of them exactly where they are and then see if Wayne and Wayne can identify them all. Then I'll label them all. Maybe.