Saturday, May 31, 2014

The Amazing Daylily

"Ming Porcelain" daylily

In the first part of May, ripe fruit on brambles and blossoms on rambling rose, hydrangea, pomegranate, and coreopsis signal the coming of the daylilies. My favorite ritual during the second half of May, and the first half of June, is to stroll through the garden and delight over what is new. Often I carry a camera to capture Hemerocallis blossoms, since they last but a single day. 

For years, when passing through Georgetown, South Carolina, I stopped by Roycroft Daylily Nursery and purchased new plants. I am sorry to report that Roycroft is no longer able to accommodate walk in customers. The good news is that they still sell via their catalog and website. I've managed to locate handwritten receipts from my 1993, 1996, and 2007 purchases. In '93 I bought "Ming Porcelain," "Bloodline," "Seductress," and "Hamlet." In '96, "B-R Fairy Tale Pink," "B-R Ben__?__," and an unidentified seedling. In '07, "Jedi Dot Pierce" (which received too little sun until transplanted last year) and "Forsyth Hearts Afire." More recently I bought a seedling labeled "Super Giant 33." I haven't located the records of my other Roycroft purchases and must have recycled the old catalogs I'd accumulated. 

"Forsyth Hearts Afire" growing in a mixed bed
During each of the past three years, I've bought fans for $5 a pair from Lowcountry Daylily Club at Charleston Horticultural Society's Plantasia. Attached to the fans of foliage are plastic labels naming the cultivar and describing the expected height and color combination. Thus far, I've purchased "Burgess Seashell," "Majestic Hue," "Gemstone Warrior," and "Holiday Star."

The American Hemerocallis Society provides an online database of daylilies. It's a great tool for identifying daylilies but doesn't contain every variety and even for those included doesn't always provide a photograph. 

Even knowing the names of some of what I have, it can be difficult to match a cultivar name to the actual plant. I haven't had any luck finding a photo of "Burgess Seashell" online. Its plastic label describes it as "orchid pink, lt. peach bi-tone, GT." GT apparently stands for green throat. Fortunately, when I initially planted "Burgess Seashell" two years ago, I placed actual seashells nearby. This week I transplanted my "Burgess Seashell" daylilies, moving them from the deep shade beneath the live oak to a location beside the workshop where it will receive morning sun and afternoon shade. Perhaps next year it will bloom. 

Close up of "Forsyth Hearts Afire"

In addition to the various cultivars I've purchased at Roycroft and Plantasia, I have several I've transplanted from my mother's garden, others I purchased packaged at Lowe's twenty years ago, and yet others I acquired last year at a plant swap. Some haven't bloomed yet because they're still settling in. Others have bloomed but I haven't been able to identify them.

Family members have given to me what I call roadside daylilies. These are the bright orange ones. Here they generally bloom later than the hybrids. 


Double daylilies descended from ones that grew in my aunt's garden in Virginia

"Bloodline" - Right?

"Forsyth Hearts Afire"

This one bloomed for the first time this year. It reminds
me of the old-fashioned roadside daylilies, yet, it's different.
Look at the midribs. 

Another first year bloomer - Can you identify it?

Daylilies growing at Swan Lake Iris Garden

Roycroft's "Super Giant 33" daylily in foreground
"Endless Summer" hydrangea in background

Do you have daylily stories to share?