Thursday, August 24, 2006

Daylily Highlights

A cool morning here on the mountain, with a noticeable dampness in the house left by the open windows and the drop in temperature last night. There's a heavy dew on the ground and from the office window I can see some of the daylilies drooping with the weight of the water.

Outside my office window are the mullein I pictured back in April four months ago. The rosette of leaves were frosty grey then, unlike their current hardened look. From each leaf grouping stands an 8 foot flower stalk, now darkened and spilling minute seeds to the earth. I should have cut the stalks away a long time ago but there was something interesting about looking out the window and watching the light yellow petals drop one by one from the top of the stalk like wax dripping from a giant candle.

The birds don't care about the absent flowers as the seeds provide a treat for the various wrens and goldfinches. Tiny birds like mullein seeds and these stalks serve as a native birdfeeder. The mass of Rudbeckia fulgida 'Goldsturm', a perennial of growing mass, almost seems to serve protection to the mullein stalk from my loping shears. They are a handsome reminder of approaching fall even though I will probably scold myself next spring as mullein, like this year's bull thistles, will be everywhere.

The sun is pushing through a thick layer of black clouds right now and it's difficult to predict today's weather. Our Daylily Days are over as most folks expect to see great masses of flowers if you advertise as an event. Considering the hundreds of daylilies we grow, I suspect you could say we're on the downhill side with only about 45 varieties still in bloom. They have been spectacular and those that remain are very special to us.

We have a special row of daylilies in the lower garden which I purchased this time of year back in 2003 from Olallie's in South Newfane. If you haven't been to this third generation nursery yetthere's still a little time. You can also visit them on-line

Our friend Dennis from Calais reported visiting there a week ago and he said the display of late bloomers was equal to the tremendous show he and his wife had seen a month or more earlier. I haven't learned the names of the purchases I made back then but in another day or so I'll try to post some names so gardeners up this way can be reminded that late summer-early fall color can continue undaunted into mid-September with just a bit of planning....and a few daylilies.

The blue jays that have been so rowdy this morning have left and the silence is a reminder that it's time to get to work.

From the mountain above Peacham Pond, where phlox and asters serve as late summer fireworks,

Gardening wishes

George Africa

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