May 30, 2010

On Becoming a Daylily Aficionado

After I showed some of my daylilies, Amy commented about not finding pretty daylilies at the big box stores. My experience with b.b. daylilies has not been good in some cases.

A big box bag is where I met Sammy. The bag was labeled as Ed Murray, a pretty modern red. Ed turned out to be Sammy Russell, a daylily from 1952. Still used in the landscape trade, Sammy is a pretty little brick red that blooms and blooms. I love Sammy, but I paid for Ed. Since then I've gotten what was supposed to be a pretty rose color and turned out to be the ubiquitous Stella D'Oro and another labeled Romantic Rose that is pale pink. Pretty, but not what the attractive packaging led me to believe.

Sammy Russell, a good little red since 1952.

From a box at Sam's Big Box, Byzantine Emperor, a good choice.

So, where to get daylilies? Local independent nurseries have pretty daylilies. Local members of the Hemerocallis Society hold plant sales. Every region of the US has chapters of the American Hemerocallis Society. Many of their members sell by mail order. Prices vary, but the quality of most is good. A bit of research is needed.

When I married, my MIL had pretty yellow daylilies that she called 'lemon lilies' and a beautiful dark red that she called 'red.'

When SIL was in college, MIL visited a cousin over in Tifton and brought home some newer varieties, including some of Miss Katie's own hybrids. The only one of those that remains here is 'Bride Elect,' a Peck hybrid  not yet in bloom this year. Along the way, I bought Fairy Tale Pink and Brocaded Gown with a long-forgotten bonus from 93 y.o. Miss Frankie who advertised in the Farmer's Market Bulletin. Miss Frankie made me dig my own.

Brocaded Gown is my favorite yellow.

Later I visited another grower in the same town who is online. I called and they had my order ready for pick-up when I arrived. They ship all over the country. I bought daylilies at a very good price at the local daylily club's sale. One of them was mislabeled but was still a good choice.

Siloam Ury Winniford while not what I bought is a great plant.

Some daylily enthusiasts pay big money for the latest hybrids with eyes, teeth, ruffles and flourishes. I'm happy with less expensive, merely pretty cultivars that have been around a while. One of my favorites was free. Miss Billie gave me proliferations from a pretty orange daylily that won the Stout Medal in 1959, Salmon Sheen. 

Salmon Sheen often has proliferations (little plants growing on the scape) that form roots and can be taken off and planted directly in the ground. I've often wondered how many generations away from common orange 'ditch lilies' Salmon Sheen might be.

Stout Medal winners are chosen by vote. They are chosen from cultivars that have won previous awards, usually daylilies that will perform well in all parts of the country. Daylilies are listed not only by name, but by hybridizer, size and whether they are evergreen or dormant types and some other characteristics. I look for hybridizers who grow in the South where conditions will be similar to mine.

Silver Veil, a Munson Hybrid

One other way to have different daylilies is to grow your own from seed. Hybridizing is a fairly simple process. I gathered bee-pollinated seed from someone's garden. She told me she'd tried planting seeds from her daylilies but they always turned out ugly. Hybridizers discard many plants before they find keepers. Here's the best one from my gathered seeds.

My daylily from seed. Garden name, Meet My Sister

Another source of daylilies is from the gardens of friends. Daylilies tend to multiply and gardeners are generous. This was one that my friend in Alabama thought was 'Joan Senior' but it was another mistaken identity. She sure is pretty. I'll give her the garden name of 'Kathy Senior.'

Garden name, Kathy Senior

Flowers and text are from the garden of Nell Jean at in the hot, humid depths of Southwest Georgia USA where daylilies bloom and rebloom throughout the summer.


Bernie said...

Such magnificent daylilies. I've only just become a fan of these beauties ... but I'm lucky that I am close to a specialised nursery and I've started buying from him. Mine are only just getting started and I'm looking forward to seeing them bloom. I hope to have as many as you do one day.

kenju said...

Your garden is a wonder!!

I once had a friend who planted daylilies and herbs - and nothing else.

Lancashire rose said...

Beautiful daylilies and I am impressed that you have all their names. I have some but have no idea what they are called. Only one- tiny pumpkin. That name stuck in my brain. I love your daylily from seed. What an achievement. Wouldn't it be nice if they bloomed all summer?

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