Month: July 2009

Re-discovering the daylily

daylily-Happy Returns_edited Until last year I included a limited number of daylilies in my perennial beds, choosing instead to focus my plant-buying dollars on vegetation less palatable to local deer.  But installation of a fence in our back yard expanded my plant choices and I’m re-falling in love with daylilies.

First I moved two daylily clumps, the Hemerocallis ‘Happy Returns’ in the photo to the left and ‘Siloam Ury Winniford’ in the photo at the right.  Both had previously struggled to bloom in a deer accessible bed that increasingly received too little sun, but thrive in their current full-sun, deer-protected location.daylily-Hemerocallis 'Siloam Ury Winniford'-2_edited

Then, remembering the sweet, lemony scent of ‘Hyperion’ I splurged on a nursery purchase of this taller daylily variety shown below.

Daylily-Hemerocallis Hyperion-2_edited

My next step involved getting the biggest daylily bang for the least amount of money.  When the 2008 catalog from Pinetree Garden Seeds came in the mail, I jumped at their special offer of daylily pips … an offer they did not repeat in the 2009 catalog.  I added ‘Catherine Woodbury’ and ‘Prairie Blue Eyes’ to my collection of creamy-tinged daylilies.  I rounded the 3-for $11.95 purchase with an additional pip of ‘Hyperion.’

daylily-Hemerocallis Prairie Blue Eyes-2 7-09 After just one year in the ground I’m enjoying the purple tinge of ‘Prairie Blue Eyes.’  The ‘Hyperion’ pip is also blooming next to it’s more mature nursery purchased relative.  The ‘Catherine Woodbury’ has yet to bloom, but has grown larger and healthier than last year.  All in all, not a bad return for less than twelve bucks.

I also ordered (from a different supplier) a pip of ‘Macbeth,’ being enticed by the ruffled mauve flowers of this daylily variety, plus it’s the name of a beloved family dog.  But it never grew – I topic I must still address with the supplier’s customer service department. (Note: per 7/31/09 phone call, Breck’s will resend ‘Macbeth’ in the spring of 2010.)

I’m curious which daylily varieties other Connecticut gardeners love – hope you’ll share your faves.

Focus on Flowers: Mid-summer bouquets

mid-summer bouquet 7-09 Bring mid-summer’s bountiful blossoms indoors to take full advantage of their unique scents and beauty.  With the exception of the orange gerbera daisy focused at the center of the flower arrangement here (it came as a visitor’s gift – my gerberas are pink), all the greens and blossoms came from my gardens.  Hosta leaves provide the base structure of this bouquet. Use three or five, depending on the size of your vase.  Perennial sweet pea vines and blossoms fill center space in this vase and their wayward growth and tendrils help hold heavier, straight-stem flowers, such as the lilies, upright in a vase.  White, round blossoms of Queen Anne’s lace pick up the white variegation of the hosta leaves and the white centers of the lily blossoms, and give the whole bouquet an airy feel.  The dark sweet-pea flowers help highlight the lighter pink lilies, while the lighter pink sweet peas match and balance the lily color.  Blue anise hyssop blossoms contrast the vibrant orange and pink of the other blossoms and make the brighter colors pop.

Mid-summer bouquet close up 7-09 Flower arrangements such as this one need only take about 15 to 20 minutes to complete.  Choose your vase and its intended location.  Take a bucket of cool water outside and with a good sharp knife slice the blossoms and greens you want to use.  As you walk through your gardens, choose the blossoms you want to build around, then cut the supporting cast as you wander.  Generally try to cut an uneven number of the lead blossoms – note three lilies in the bouquet above – as well as uneven numbers of support greens and flowers.  Be daring.  Choose flowers with different shapes, colors, sizes – a pink gerbera in the center of the arrangement above would not have been as dramatic.  Not feeling dramatic?  That’s okay too … a pink or white gerbera would have easily blended into this bouquet.

hydrangea bouquet 7-09 When time is limited, one of the easiest summer table arrangements can be created by five hosta leaves and three large hydrangea blossoms as in the photo here.  Use a short vase.  Cut the hosta stems so the base of the leaves sit on the rim of the vase. Place the hostas in the vase so they edge the entire rim – the stems will criss-cross in the vase.  Cut the hydrangea stems so the lower portion of the blossoms will rest on the hosta leaves.  Ten minutes, tops, gives you a simple, beautiful, and dramatic display.

You can also create simple, beautiful flower arrangements with fresh cut flowers from a local farm stand (search BuyCTGrown for those near you)  Simply use greens cut from your own bushes and perennials as your supporting cast.