Friday, July 17, 2015

The Late Bloomers

The late bloomers are finally beginning to pop:

Hemerocallis "Hyperion"
"Hyperion" is a Heirloom introduced by Mead in 1924.  It has 5 inch (larger this year) pale lemon yellow blooms with ruffling.  It lays somewhat flat.  Considered a mid to late season bloomer.  Vigorous.  Dormant.  Drought tolerant.  Received Award of Merit.
Hemerocallis "Chicago Apache"
"Chicago Apache" was the first hybrid daylily I bought for this yard.  I've divided and gifted to others many times.  It's a 5 inch deep ruby red velvet with small golden throat.  Sometimes has a darker red halo and light midribs.  Edges are crimped.  30 inch scapes.  Blooms late in season plus rebloom.  Dormant.  Tetraploid. Received Honorable Mention.  
Lilium "Stargazer"
I have no shame when I admit I buy "Stargazer" bulbs at almost any place - nursery, on line, big box, flea markets and thrift stores.  There is no down side to Stargazer lilies.  The flowers are six inch flat pink/red/white blooms, freckled and highly fragrant.  Blooms late in the summer.  Often outlined in white and has a lime green star center.  Up facing but usually needs to be staked since the flowers get so heavy.  Plant next to a fence or railing and you can weave a soft ribbon or string around the stem and brace it up. 

They are toxic to cats but I've never had a cat even remotely interested.  When I bring them in the house, I put where they can't reach.  AND I ALWAYS bring them in the house because they perfume an entire room.  
Hemerocallis "Lifting Belle"
If I had to choose one daylily as my favorite, it would probably be "Lilting Belle".  An 8 inch pink/lavender blend with large creamy yellow throat and white midrib.  Considered a spider variant.  36 inch scapes.  Mid to late season bloomer.  Evergreen.  Vigorous.  The blooms withstand the weather better than any of my big spiders and better than most all the others.  The other night/morning with high winds and beating rain, Lilting Belle's blooms were perfect.  It didn't send up any scapes the summer after our crazy cold 2013 winter but it's making up for it this year.  

Evergreen - Semi evergreen - Dormant

The above is a description of daylily foliage habit and not hardiness.

Although there is no hard rule for which category is best in our Zone 5 (or colder) climate, I've found evergreens are usually the first to be lost during years when it's minus 30 degrees for a long winter.

I try to never buy a daylily that isn't field grown in my climate.  That seems to be a better indicator of whether it will survive our winters.  I love the evergreen daylilies because they are the most wild, innovative and cutting edge.  Many are grown in the south and I just won't take the chance no matter how crazy beautiful.  

I haven't lost many daylilies and I think it's because I stick to buying field stock grown in cold climates.  I've also learned to stick with nursery gown stock and not big box store daylilies.  BBS lilies are seldom true to AHS's description and often weak.

The reason I suggest "field grown" instead of greenhouse grown, is they're hardened off before they sell them.  If they live in their fields, they should live in my yard.  Many hybridizers only grow their seedlings in the field for just this reason.

I also buy (almost exclusively) from nurseries that specialize in daylilies.  They may have other things but they have the crazy daylily gene and I know they try really hard to make sure they only offer healthy strong plants. 

Brief foliage description for the newbies:

Dormant:  Shown with a big "D" in the catalogs, it refers to daylilies that lose their foliage completely before or shortly after the first frost.  They over-winter with pointed foliage buds, usually just beneath the soil surface and will resume growth in the spring.  They REQUIRE a cold period in the winter when their foliage will go dormant and don't do well in zones 9-10.

Semi-evergreen:  Shown with a big "SEV" in catalogs.  The foliage is somewhere between an evergreen and dormant.  Depending on the winter climate, they may try to have some winter foliage but not as much as a true evergreen.  I find they typically perform much like a dormant here in Zone 5.

Evergreen:  Shown with a big "EV" in catalogs.  They retain their foliage throughout the year but in Zone 5 or colder they pretty much go to mush as the freeze settles in for months.  You will find them a frozen pale green mound of foliage.  They may resume growth during a midwinter thaw or in milder climates. 

The whole climate things is one reason gifting a gardening friend a daylily is so successful.  That and I believe the whole "I'm giving you something I love because I love you, too" always makes a plant grow better!        

07-16-2015 tornado outside Monmouth IL
Extremely thankful last night's tornadoes didn't kill anyone.  It certainly had the potential and strength.  Grateful for early warnings and the great job our local news people perform.  And of course all the people who respond and help in the aftermath of all that damage.  

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