Saturday, July 9, 2011

Be A Big Girl

We spend the first years of our daughters' lives telling them to be a big girl and when they reach teens, we wish they were little again.  Fortunately, by the time they're grown, we appreciate what a lovely big girl they've become. 

I have a few big girls in my garden and I'm grateful they grew up so nicely.  They are the really large daylilies.

  • Large daylilies can be used in large yards because little flowers often get lost. 
  • They can be a singular plant - to form the spotlight.
  • Used at the back of an area, they draw your attention down a walk.
  • Many large daylilies are spiders or unusual forms.
Here are a few of my large lilies:

"Chicago Star" is not only big, she has a very high bud count, is sturdy and withstands the elements.  A bright yellow gold with a slight ruffle on the edges.  8 inch blooms on 24 inch scapes.  Mid season bloomer and over a long period. Semi evergreen.  Introduced in 1970 by Marsh.  Won the 1974 Honorable Mention.
"Lilting Belle" is my all-time favorite daylily.  It looks fragile and it's not.  Belle is a late bloomer and she keeps color in the garden when other lilies are beginning to wind down.  8 inch blooms on 36 inch scapes, semi evergreen.  Introduced by Wilson in 1983.
"Parade of Peacocks" took a few years to get settled into her grand performance.  It's been worth the wait for these 8 inch flowers on 36 inch scapes.  Mid to late season, dormant, hybridized by Oakes and introduced in 1990.      
It's been the perfect year for "Pavlova".  She tends to shred in heavy wind and rain.  Since we've only had one rain since she started her bloom period, it's been a beautiful show.  She looks especially stunning against dark green foliage.  Note the little "Knick Knack" peaking around.  10 inch blooms on 25 inch scapes, an early bloomer and is evergreen.  Hybridized by Lambert and introduced in 1963.
I took a chance on "Fly Catcher" and it hasn't disappointed.  In fact, it's one of those lilies that exceeded my expectations.  First year blooms are substantial, large bud count and healthy plant.  Reds always attract attention and this multi colored large lily draws the eye to where it sits.   7 1/2 inch blooms on 32 inch scapes and is a mid season bloomer.  Dormant.  Introduced by J. Miller in 1978.
"Chester Cyclone" is an unusual spider because the petals twist.  It's in the first bloom year and I have high hopes this lily will continue to increase in clump size and wow factor.  8 1/2 inch blooms on 30 inch scapes.  Dormant and mid season bloomer.  It  may rebloom.  Introduced in 1972 by Blake and it's fragrant. 
I nicknamed this unknown daylily "Big Banana" because of the shape of each petal.  I've divided it over the years and have clumps in most every bed on the property.  It's just that dependable and pretty.  A mid season bloomer.
Another unknown, I call this "Large Peach Dramatic" because when it's happy, it's the size of a large dinner plate.  It, like most teen girls, is a little high maintenance:  it doesn't shed it's spent blooms and they are so large they make the plant messy if I don't do this every day.  Some years the buds don't want to open in the morning without a little touch to help them release.  A mid to late season bloomer. 

Most large daylilies, require a little pampering to help them look their best.  Daily deadheading is usually a must.  Even the most tough large daylily will get a little torn and tattered in high winds and heavy rains.  Pets and children running through the lily beds may snap large petals.  Just like our girls, they are worth it when they mature and become great favorites.    

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