Happy 4th of July

July means day lilies (hemerocallis), and today the fireworks are just beginning to explode into bloom.  These are my favorite flowers.  As much as I love hydrangeas and my hansa roses, it is the day lilies that charm me the most.  The name “hemerocallis” means “bloom for a day” and that’s pretty much what day lilies do.  And, they do not actually belong to the lily family.

The Garden Lady stands sentinel in the day lily bed.
The Garden Lady stands sentinel in the day lily bed. That is Sea Urchin blooming to the left.  Red Rum is in the background.

It was colonists who brought day lilies to the New World, but it wasn’t until the 1930’s that hybridization really began. For centuries gardeners grew what are often referred to as “ditch lilies.”  These are the common orange flowers that we see growing wild along country roads, in old homestead sites, and in sunny meadows.  But those bright orange or sometimes yellow flowers are not native to North America.  They probably came to Europeans from China and other Asian countries where various parts of the plant were valued for their medicinal qualities.  Settlers carried day lily plants on horseback and in covered wagons across the North American continent.

Blooming today in the Secret Garden are Cystal Pinot, First Night, Sea Urchin, a nameless deep plum plant, and Red Rum.

But it’s not just day lilies that are gracing the garden.  Scroll down to see other shots.

The little miniature hostas that I bought a year ago are nestled near the back door.
The little miniature hostas that I bought a year ago are nestled near the back door.
Great Expectations, Francee, Stained Glass, and June are draping over the Secret Garden path, an indication that I really must thin these.
Great Expectations, Francee, Stained Glass, and June are draping over the Secret Garden path, an indication that I really must thin these.
This sunny path shows the Jean Davis lavender and Zagreb coreopsis.
This sunny path shows the Jean Davis lavender and Zagreb coreopsis.  In the foreground is First Knight about to bloom.
The red carpet rose provides a nice pop of color in the seating area of the Secret Garden.
The red carpet rose provides a nice pop of color in the seating area of the Secret Garden. That is Red Rum in the foreground to the right and Zagreb coreopsis in the left center.
The Crazy Daisy hasn't done well for the past couple of years, but it looked like it might be returning to health this year.  Until it flopped over.  Ergggg.
The Crazy Daisy hasn’t done well for the past couple of years, but it looked like it might be returning to health this year. Until it flopped over. Ergggg.
This Annabelle Hydrangea seems to be very happy this summer.  This is such a pleasant change.  Last summer's heat and drought didn't make for happy mop heads of bloom.
This Annabelle Hydrangea seems to be very happy this summer. This is such a pleasant change. Last summer’s heat and drought didn’t make for happy mop heads of bloom.
First Knight
First Knight
Nameless plum day lily that I bought a couple years ago that the Fulton Street Market.
Nameless plum day lily that I bought a couple years ago that the Fulton Street Market.
Crystal Pinot
Crystal Pinot
Red Rum
Red Rum

It’s Daylily Time!

They are, of course, my favorites.  A couple decades ago I was happy with the orange ditch lilies that someone gave me.  I then moved on to some orange double day lilies that a friend gave me.  From there I went to what my elderly neighbor called lemon lilies.  It was at Meijer Garden that I saw my first pink day lily.  There was no going back after that.

The day lily bed at the heart of the Secret Garden. The bright red in the back is crocosmia.  This picture reminds me that I need to trim Tardiva!  I don’t know the name of the dark wine day lily in front.  I bought it from a day lily farm in Byron Center years ago and transplanted a piece from my garden in Portland to the garden at 337.

Our weeks of heat haven’t seemed to bother the day lilies.

First Knight is my favorite, though I never thought I’d say that about a yellow daylily.  First Knight was introduced in 1995 and is a tetraploid, meaning it has four sets of chromosomes. Tetraploids tend to be larger and the flower colors are usually more intense.

First Knight

Another tetraploid (and another favorite) is Storm of the Century.

Storm of the Century

Barbara Mitchell is a diploid daylily that has soft peach petals.  The picture on the tag showed it to be a bluer pink, which is what I prefer, but Barbara sends out large scapes and large flowers that show up well against the red crocosmia.

Barbara Mitchell

Near Barbara Mitchell is Georgette Belden. This tetraploid was introduced in 1979.  The flower has an interesting texture.

Georgette Belden

Crystal Pinot was hybridized in 2006.  It is diploid and may be cross breeding with another diploid, something that can happen quite easily.

The garden book says this is Crystal Pinot, but it looks different this year and may be cross breeding.
Crystal Pinot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prairie Blue Eyes is another diploid that does quite well in the Secret Garden.  It does give me that wonderful bluish pink that I love.  No peachy tones here.

Prairie Blue Eyes

I bought Druid’s Chant because of the name (and the color of the flower on the tag).  It isn’t as vigorous as I’d hoped it would be, but it does have lovely pink flowers with a darker throat.  I’d just like to see more of them.  It is a tetraploid.

Druid’s Chant

Sea Urchin reminds me a bit of Storm of the Century, though it is lighter.  It’s another tetraploid and was introduced in 1990.

Sea Urchin 

Below is the unamed gorgeous day lily that I initially planted in my Portland garden.  When I sold that house, I took a toe of this day lily and healed it in at 337.  It has large leaves and sturdy flowers that are the darkest I’ve seen.  I thought it might be Nosferatu and so planted that in another spot in the day lily bed, but Nosferatu, which was not blooming today, is lighter.

Mystery day lily. It has a name, but I don’t know it.

 

There are a few other day lilies blooming, but not today.  I try and deadhead every morning, although it is a task I dislike, not because it is onerous but because some of the scapes no longer have any buds on them.  It means the end of flowering.  Some plants like First Knight have a long bloom season.  But others only stay for a couple weeks and then bow out until next year.