Hemerocallis Flava: an Origami-like Perennial
July 29, 2011
Allan in Garden Design, Gardening Tips & Advice, Perennial Plants, day lilies, garden design, hemerocallis, perennials

Was that a giant yellow humming bird growing in my garden bed? No, It was a single bloom of Hemerocallis Flava, atop a day lily clump that I propagated the year before. The original plant, an exquisite lemon-yellow flower of unusual form, appeared bird-like from a distance. I was so smitten with its origami likeness that I decided to repeat plant another two fans of this variety in the flower bed.

The lone bloom, that appeared earlier than flowers on its two sister plants, loomed over the garden at just under four feet, even though the plant tag stated that it would reach only 32 inches in height. A few days later, the buds on the other clumps flowered, creating a tall, rhythmic repetition of yellow. With so many scapes blooming at the same time, the outline of the humming bird disappeared. Now the clusters of blooms reminded me of Bird of Paradise flowers, but in lemon-yellow rather than orange-purple.

The arrival of these yellow bird-like blooms could not have come at a more welcome time. By now, most of the late spring and early summer perennials have completed their flowering cycle, while mid to late summer plants are not quite ready to open. After all, this is Zone 4 where everything blooms later. The only companion plants flowering in tandem were shorter yellow cultivars of Hemerocallis Stella Supreme and Happy Returns. As I had ensured to have at least three each of these yellow varieties growing in the garden, the differences in the heights of all three cultivars, combined with their multiple numbers, created an impressive, recurring lemon - yellow day lily theme in the flower bed.

Also known as Hemerocallis lilioasphodelus,  the three characteristics that set Flava apart from most other day lilies are:-  the bird-like form of its flowers [noticeable only when a single bud is in bloom], its height - it towers majestically over other plants, and the powerful projection of its color. Although it is known to be fragrant, I have not yet experienced its aroma.

Article originally appeared on Garden Design, Montreal, Perennial Flower Gardens, Gardening Tips, Gardening Advice, Gardening Book Reviews (http://allanbecker-gardenguru.squarespace.com/).
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