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Entries in hemerocallis (19)


Hemerocallis Flava: an Origami-like Perennial

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.


King George is a Royal Perennial write about Hemerocallis more than any other perennial. The truth is, I cannot believe that I actually use it in my compositions. If it were possible to hold a strong prejudice against a plant, this is one perennial that I disliked the most. The first turn-off came in my teens, when the ubiquitous orange daylily would decorate the landscape of most of the homes in my town; it was wearisome to look at. Furthermore, orange was never a favorite color. I have worked with it in recent years only because of my clients’ preferences.

Thousands of new cultivars of daylilies have been introduced since I was a teen ager. Most of them were in shades that clashed with the pastel English-style gardens that I enjoy designing. That was the second turn-off. Other new varieties, that  blended in well, bloomed only in shades that appeared diluted or insipid. That was the third turn-off. With time, I discovered soft lemon-yellow varieties that worked well; but that was not enough for me. I was on a hunt for a pink variety that would fit in with the pastel colors of my gardens – a pink that did not have an orange cast about it. That challenge took me on a hunt that lasted several years before I would find the right shade of pink.

When I first began researching this perennial, the one thing that turned me off, and that still annoys me today, is the short bloom season for some of the most beautiful varieties. Some are so breathtaking, that I cannot bear to watch the bloom cycle come to an end. That is why I focus mainly upon those day lilies that are repeat bloomers, extended bloomers, late bloomers, and varieties that bloom, at least, for two months. year, I diverted from that disciplined regiment when I became enchanted with Hemerocallis King George. It is not sold as a repeat bloomer and I doubt it will bloom for more than one month. The technical detail on the tag said “mid-summer blooming” and in my language that means July. And I didn’t go looking for it, either. At the height of its bloom period, it was strategically placed at the front entrance of the nursery to deliberately seduce unsuspecting buyers. It just so happened, that was the day I chose to visit the nursery to pick up plants, to fill in empty spaces in a client’s garden.

What hit me first, when I discovered this majestic perennial, was the gargantuan size of the flower head and its height. The funny thing is that I have been avoiding its color scheme almost forever. But I was smitten. I purchased this plant for my client’s garden because there was a bare, sun-drenched spot that was begging for a dramatic treatment. This variety is considered to be the largest and most dramatic Hemerocallis in garden commerce. The heavily budded bloomer produces flowers that measure 7 inches wide, with stalks that reach 32 to 36 inches in height. its large size, what sets this plant apart from others [that are similar looking] is the harmony in the tones of its ruffled yellow petals and the wine [or Indian red] halo. So often, we see yellow-red daylilies in color combinations that are harsh and unpleasant. The wine may be bolder than the yellow or a stringent yellow tone may clash with a harsh wine. Not in this case. The rich yellow, almost gold, is a perfect balance for the warm wine.

Ironically, King George is not a Hemerocallis variety that my supplier stocks regularly. I hope that I can find one for my own garden this coming season. If I cannot, I will have to return to the client’s garden to admire it there. If he allows me, I might dislodge a small bulbette from the root ball to propagate a plant of my own.

Oh, by the way, the images posted here do not flatter this variety, at all. It needs to be seen among other plants in order to be appreciated.


Did Your Day Lily Bloom in Orange Instead of Pink?

A garden blogger recently reported how disappointed she was to discover that a day lily, from a mail order supplier, bloomed in a color that did not resemble its catalogue picture. She had ordered pink and it bloomed in light orange. I understand how she felt. It has happened to me several times.

It is a well documented fact that pink is one of the most popular garden colors. To encourage sales of a not-quite-pink plant, catalogue vendors sometimes tweak the natural color, which is closer to peach or orange, so that it appears pinker in print. While this trickery is not acceptable to gardeners, it has been standard practice among many mail order merchants, especially when they market Hemerocallis. To avoid being accused of false representation, some vendors now only sell daylilies in distinct colors that are difficult to misrepresent, intentionally or otherwise.

The question remains, how does one photograph a peach or orange plant so that it appears pinker in print? Is a blue filter used on the lens? Is the picture doctored in a software program? Whatever the explanation, it is frustrating and disappointing to discover that a perennial, delivered and planted last season, is blooming a year later in an undesired color.

Here is a solution that I have found to be helpful: - I no longer buy pink Hemerocallis from mail order firms or on line catalogue sellers. I give my business to growers with web sites, who post mostly accurate photos of their plants. After choosing a day lily, and before placing an order, I surf the net to see how other sellers have photographed it. If the color from several sources is close to the shade that my designated supplier has posted, then I am certain that the desired plant will flower as shown. If there are serious color discrepancies, from one site to another, I will refrain from buying that variety - unless I know that I will be happy with any of the shades. No grower has ever disappointed me. As a matter of fact, one supplier sometimes displays two images of the same plant, from two different photographers, whenever he feels that one image alone does not do justice to plant’s color.

Here are two images for Hemerocallis Pink Damask.




Notice the variation in colors from one image to the next. This is not a variety that a gardener can safely order unless it has already been observed in bloom.



Here are four images of  Hemerocallis, Over the Top.





Five sellers have described it as pink, neon pink, red, dark pink, and deep pink.




Can anyone be certain of its true color before ordering?





Unless the gardener has already seen it in bloom, which is unlikely because it is hard to find, one will have to plant it first to discover its actual color.




In an ideal world, it would be advantageous to spend some time in a grower’s field when each day lily is in bloom to examine its true color; but that is an unrealistic investment of time. On one hand, different varieties have different bloom periods so that several visits would be necessary. On the other hand, most of us do not live within driving distance of a grower. Even by visiting a retail nursery, there is no guarantee of finding exactly what one is searching for. No nursery can stock every day lily that has ever been bred - the numbers must be in the hundreds of thousands - and no vendor can predict which colors customers might want. That is why nurseries prefer to stock only those varieties that have done well for them in the past.

It is only collectors of day lilies and picky garden designers like me who want very specific colors in very exacting shades. We are the ones that hunt for varieties that match the ideas in our imagination. Fortunately, there are growers who understand our needs and give us exactly what we want.


Late Blooming Day Lilies That I Like

After a great deal of research, I am pleased to post images of late blooming Day Lilies that I believe work well in an English style flower border. Because I live in Canada, I can't purchase these perennials from American growers so I am posting the names of suppliers on my side of the border from whom I have ordered in the past. Click on  the names below to access their site. Scroll down to see the posted images.

Hemerocallis Montfort 

Nottawassaga Day Lilies

Gardens Plus

Te Sligte Gardens

Frans Hall, 24 inches high


Sandra Elizabeth, 25 inches high


Watchyl Pink Autumn, 25 inches high


Autumn Minaret, 66 inches high


Blossom Queen, 23 inches high


Dublin Elaine, 32 inches high


Final Touch, 32 inches high


Magnificent Rainbow, 17 inches high


Yuma, 25 inches high


More About Day Lilies

Magnificent Rainbow is a late blooming Day Lily that grows 18 inches high. Image courtesy of Hemerocallis MontfortThere is an explanation why there have been so many postings on this site about the Day Lily, or Hemerocallis. I have been rediscovering this plant all season long after years of deliberately boycotting it. Here’s why:-

One of my objections to this plant has been color. The varieties that I had originally planted were never true to promise and bloomed in shades that were either too insipid or too harsh. As time passed, I did not pay attention to the fact that breeders were developing new colors that might work for me. It has only been recently that I have started to notice them.

Another objection to this plant had been the fact that landscape architects overuse it in their projects. But now I understand why. After a garden has been professionally planted there is never a guarantee that it will always be properly cared for. Hemerocallis is one of several perennials that can outlive neglect and never appear messy.

The last objection is anonymity. For years, I hadn’t noticed Day Lilies that grew in other peoples’ gardens. Hemerocallis plants that bloom from early spring to mid summer, in a well planted perennial garden, tend to be overshadowed by plants that have more attractive flowers. However, the late varieties that bloom in August and September have less competition and therefore are easier to admire.

My renewed interest in Day Lilies was sparked when I began to take note of these late blooming cultivars. They can be vivid at a time of year when the garden is beginning to wane. I recently identified those varieties that work best in my color schemes and that are easily available to me. I will post those results shortly. In the meanwhile, move over, Stella d’Oro, and make room for your new cousins.