The Fleeting Flowers of Daylilies

Siloam Bo Peep

I showed you a few of my earlier blooming daylilies a few days ago here. For those who may not know, daylilies are so named because each day one flower bud on the bloom stalk (scape) opens to reveal itself for one day of glory. By day’s end, the flower withers; the next day, a new bud opens, until all the buds are gone. Most daylily flowers open at dawn, but a few varieties open in late afternoon, which is nice for gardeners who work away from home all day. For many years, I rarely saw my daylily flowers at their freshly open best, because most of mine open as soon as the sun tops the trees.

It is a true pleasure to catch them just opened for business. My daylilies are suffering from insufficient water. The drought deepens daily here; sparse, errant thunderstorms are routinely snubbing my garden, and my well can’t be risked on mere flowers. Consequently, bloom scapes are not as numerous as they would otherwise be, so the few flowers I’m seeing are coming and going in an eye’s blink.

I wanted to share a few more pictures with you before they’re all gone. The one above, Siloam Bo Peep, is a medium-height fancy ruffled beauty. Don’t ask me about its name. I’ve noticed that the folks who breed daylilies and hostas in particular seem to go for, well, rather creative names.

Here’s a name that puzzles me:

Prairie Blue Eyes

The flower is a bit blue-ish, but the eye isn’t. And why Prairie? I’ve no idea, but it is lovely.

Here’s one that actually makes sense to me:

Little Grapette

This purply-red beauty grows on shorter scapes than some of the others, and the flowers are smaller, so you get a delicate petite ruffled effect that I enjoy. Plus, Little Grapette seems more resilient than the bigger daylilies, blooming longer and more abundantly than its bigger siblings most years.

Here’s a more subtle beauty:

Siloam Dan Tau

I assume this is either named after the breeder or someone the breeder wanted to honor. Its pale peach color benefits from a bit of shade, so that the petals don’t bleach out as quickly during their day of bloom.

And finally, here’s an even more subtle beauty:

Luxury Lace

You can see its ruffles are not as dramatic as some of the others, but its rich pink petals and deep yellow-green eye are quite striking. It’s also a smaller daylily in height and width.

More are still blooming — some big spider daylilies are just getting going, and the Autumn Daffodil daylilies are only now sending up scapes. These yellow-flowered beauties don’t actually wait until autumn to bloom, but they do wait until much later than most of the others to open for business.

It’s easy to fall in love with these perennials, because of the diversity of flower colors, sizes, shapes, and even fragrances. But they’re not perfect. Their grass-like leaves are pretty boring when the flowers aren’t blooming, so you need to be sure to mix them in with perennials that can take over for the daylilies when they’re not showing off. There’s a fungal rust disease that can make the leaves look brown and ugly. And — the biggest issue — the flower buds are irresistible to deer. If they find your daylilies, you’ll only get flowers if you spray noxious repellents on the buds or fence them inside deer-proof enclosures.

When we planted our daylilies some fifteen years ago, the deer were not nearly as numerous. They didn’t start devouring the buds routinely until about seven years ago. Unless I sprayed repellent religiously on the buds, we lost every single flower. Now that we’ve added deer fencing to parts of our yard, the paths the antlered hogs follow through our property have changed. They no longer routinely pass the daylily beds, and we are once again enjoying flowers — without even spraying repellent! I doubt this change will last, but I’m enjoying the show of colors, ruffles, and shapes while I can. And now, through these photos, you can too.

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  1. #1 by Karen on June 24, 2011 - 8:28 am

    So happy that you have given us more day lily photos. I’m sorry to hear of your lack of rain
    and your concern about your well. We are the opposite right now…sun for a few days, then rainy and cool weather. I’m worried about our tomatoes getting blight with so much dampness. Hope you get some meaningful rain soon.

  2. #2 by piedmontgardener on June 24, 2011 - 8:32 am

    Thanks, Karen. Can I trade you some of our hot, dry weather for your cool, wet weather? 🙂

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