Daylily Obsession

I will gladly admit that I have an obsession. Gardening is what I love and every spare moment I have is dedicated to doing it. I have often wondered what would happen if I suddenly had more time (and space) to dedicate to what I love.

What happens when my kids are off to their own lives and my yard can be a full garden, instead of a playground/baseball field/football field/wrestling arena with a side of garden?

I think I have found the answer and, oddly enough, I found it in my husband’s aunt and uncle’s yard. And, boy what an answer it is.

Uncle John and Aunt Sue are Daylily Fanatics (note the capital letters). I don’t mean that they like daylilies. I don’t mean that they have a few dozen daylilies. I mean that they have, in a yard not much larger than my own (which as we know is not all that big), they have hundred and hundreds of daylily varieties.

It started as a small thing. The kids were mostly out of the house and there was spare time to do what they enjoyed. A few daylilies caught their eyes and there was the notion that there were people who had toyed with Mother Nature to produce these pretty things. Then there was a trial. Could they make their own daylilies varieties as well? The next thing you know the vegetable bed was gone and the pool is going in the Fall, because there just is not enough room for all the daylilies they wanted to grow.

Their yard is now a stunning display of daylilies. A mish mash of daylily colors, shapes and sizes that would make a Vegas showgirl blush. Their garden has become the garden you get to tour when you pay $19.95 to tour the great private gardens in the neighborhood.

So, with all this daylily experience, what tips does Uncle John have on growing daylilies? For starters, theyare stupid easy to grow. Throw them in the ground wherever and they tend to survive. Heck, don’t throw them in the ground and they will probably survive as well. Great for beginners, but with enough room and complexity for the more advanced.

Also, Uncle John says you have to give them time. Like a fine wine, daylilies develop and mature to display different facets of themselves as they get older. A young pink, shimmery ingénue will mature to a deep coral matronly daylily cougar.

Exposure to sun will also affect the personality and traits of a daylily. A buttery colored daylily may turn golden if moved to a sunnier location or the reverse can also happen.

When I asked Uncle John what is takes to create a new ‘named’ daylily variety, he shrugged and said “oh, just $15”. That is all is takes to name a cross breed you have grown added to the daylily registrar.

While it may be easy to name a new daylily, getting the community as a whole to accept it is not. If you are submitting a variety to be named, it should have the moxie to impress those who really know their daylilies. A named variety is only as good as the word of mouth that talks about it. Present anything less than wonderful and you may have someone publicly point it out.

Uncle John and Aunt Sue are striving for their own daylily perfection. Something spidery, twirled, large and absolutely stunning. They have some promising yearlings in the nursery bed but they are still searching and pollinating to find just the right combination. Uncle John is certain that once the pool is gone, there will be enough room to grow the new crop of seedlings. At least for this year…

Daylilies in Uncle John and Aunt Sue’s garden (in Lightbox, so click on the pic for a bigger image):


Desert Icicle (Roberts-N., 1995)

Little Rainbow (RECKAMP, 1963)

Bark At Me (Roberts-N., 1999)

Boogie my Woogie Baby (Bachman, 2003)

Radiation Biohazard (Gossard, 2000)

Seedling ( Highland Pinched Fingers X Monster )
17 thoughts on “Daylily Obsession
  1. HM, they must have lived at my home before I bought it. I have all different kinds, but I’m not a big fan of them. I gave many of them to my mom.

    Their beds look great though. It’s nice when you can find a certain plant that strikes your fancy!

    You can see photos of a few of my daylilies here: http://chiotsrun.com/2008/07/21/too-many-daylilies/

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  2. Absolutely stunning! Tell them that they have inspired a random internet person to plant some daylilies. :)

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  3. i’m very impressed.the little rainbow is gorgeous!i have one lily too but no pictures with her,she was the queen of the fl group.keep up the good work!
    ildiko

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  4. gus on

    I feel the same way about Hostas. I put in a hosta garden at a former job. The tenant loved it. She also loved that I put the Hostas to the rear and planted clumps of Impatiens along the front. If I had a large shady yard it would be filled with Hostas, and some Astilbe and Huchera.

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  5. I’m not obsessed with daylilies, but I do llove seeing the gardens of people who are. I know a couple of hybridizers and they’ve said the same things you said here – stupid easy to grow, and crossing your own is a breeze and who knows what you’ll get? The hard part is waiting two years to find out. I love daylily days and just posted pics of mine that are blooming now.

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  6. Lori on

    Do they have a blog? I just found a grower that went bankrupt and I can take get all the daylilies I want for $2 a piece. I just have to dig them myself, and there are no variety names available. It’s just a field. I’ve moved about 20 to my place already, but I’d love to know what I have. I’ll post a few photos on my blog, in case you/they can help http://mychapterlipstick.blogspot.com . Thanks.

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  7. I have just this summer become a daylily fan. Two bloomed this year. We thought they were ornamental grasses my dad had brought down from his home in Lincoln NE before he moved to Kansas this past year. Nope….the blooms caught us by pleasant surprise and it was my sister who remembered the planting two years before from some freebies from my neighbor.
    That was when I began noticing all the varietals out there in just my neighborhood.
    Today we bought two more, well one is a Stella d’Oro, still lovely. I plan to google and look for more to add.
    Love the blog!

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  8. And because I am a big ol’ novice dork, just looking up daylilies and realized that Stella d’Oro is a varietal name….

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  9. Kristin on

    Very impressive Uncle John and Aunt Sue! What a gorgeous garden. Hanna, I love that you did a post on the daylilies I have been hearing so much about!

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  10. Annikki on

    You aunt and uncle rock! My eyes are going WOW, but my brain also goes “Mmm, daylilies.” Just had some blossoms this week stuffed with chicken salad! :)

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  11. Faith on

    Beautiful. I have some day lillies, but I have no idea what their names are except for the Stella d’Oro.

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  12. Love the daylillies….we used to have some, but it either got too shady when the trees got larger or something else happened because they are not there anymore. My cousin gave me a Stargazer lilly this summer and I have got to get it planted!! It is still in a pot awaiting me.

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  13. Hey,
    I just must say I love your beautiful lily´s, I have some in my garden too.
    And here in sweden we call them Dagliljor= Day Lily´s.
    Have a nice evening.
    Best regards
    Maya

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  14. I thought other readers would enjoy an activity I got at the botanical gardens. Have you or your children “Ever Seen a Plant Move When You Tickle It?” If you wanted to share your love for nature with your children, here is an activity I have done with mine. This may change the way you and the kids react to plants for ever. Imagine giving your children some seeds. Having them watch them sprout and grow. Then shortly after the second leaves appear they tickle the plant and it moves its branches down and closes its leaves! Give them more than a gift; give them a learning experience they will never forget. I found information and my growing kits at http://www.ticklemeplant.com

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  15. Wendolyn Nicholds on

    Dear Lori
    The first lily is not Strawberry Candy
    Pat Stamile has the candy series you may want to check with them on their site. I believe it is Pink Cotton Candy
    The purple one is a Moldovan called Strutters Ball
    you may email me and I will be able to help with others.
    I am a garden judge for the American Hemerocallis Society and the Ontario daylily society.
    I live in Ottawa, Ontario where I have about 1000 daylilys and diverse native plants and organic edibles
    cheers Wendolyn Nicholds

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  16. Jennifer on

    Hello — do you have any Peggy Schultz daylilies? She was my great grandmother and a second cousin found one gardener that had two of them and gave him one.. I am a big daylily lover (I wish I had more varieties!) but if you had one and were willing to sell it I would be interested.

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