Greengirls Helen Yarmoska, Nicole Hvidsten, Martha Buns, Connie Nelson, Kim Palmer and Mary Jane Smetanka are dishin' the dirt from the back-yard garden and beyond. Whether you're a greenthumb or greenhorn, they're eager to learn from your mishaps, mistakes - and most importantly, your sweet successes - all growing season long.
I had a rose phase, and a must-plant-lisianthus phase. I went on a heirloom tomato kick for awhile, too.
The roses proved too fussy for me, and I have one climber left. I haven’t planted lisianthus for years. And in my raised vegetable beds I’ve returned to disease-resistant but tasty hybrid tomatoes like “Celebrity” and “Early Girl” to make sure I have success in my small sunny space.
But my passion for daylilies has never ebbed. There is something about this simple, easy perennial that I never tire of. I have 20 or 25 varieties crammed into the gardens of my city lot, and when they are in their glory I know the garden is at its peak.
This year they all flowered early. Daylilies like moisture, and they got their pre-bloom drink when it rained so heavily in June. “Stella d’Oro,” the small yellow daylily that created a garden craze when it was released and is now ever-present in parking lot medians and commercial plantings, was especially vibrant this year, but all of my daylilies are spectacular this summer.
Plant breeders have played around with daylily genetics, and you can get diploids and tetraploids that have extra chromosomes and bigger, heavier flowers. While I have some fancy daylilies — flowers with different colored “eyes,” frilly petals and double petals, the old-fashioned plants are the ones I like best. Tall, graceful “Hyperion,” an old-fashioned yellow, seems like garden royalty to me. Gentle peachy “Annie Welch” is another favorite, as are some deep dark reds whose names I have forgotten. And you can’t ignore the hot lava orange of “Mauna Loa.”
I would get more daylilies if I had room. Maybe next year I can divide the plants and make room for more. I’d welcome suggestions for some new choices!
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