Thursday, July 08, 2010

Daylilies Beckon

Thursday, July 10, 2010

A light fog holds tight to the valley below my office window as red colors the sky above the tree line. The sun pulls itself out of bed and brings with it another day of unrelentless heat and almost no customers at Vermont Flower Farm. When the heat index is running 100-104 and when the thermometer on Gail's car sitting in the parking lot registers 105, the reality of a Vermont heat wave is obvious. This hasn't occurred like this since 2002 but unlike many parts of the country, Vermont has woods and waters in which to hide and still enjoy what is otherwise a little much.

Our field of daylilies continues to mature and although the predominant color continues as yellow, this weekend is certain to begin the transformation to a rainbow of colors, save for blue, and an opportunity for gardeners to see mature plants in colors and sizes they have yet to include in their gardens. Every morning we pick one open bloom of every daylily willing to share itself with the world. We put the blooms in individual jelly jars on a table in the shed area, each jar labeled with name and price. This has proven to be an easy way for folks to see what is blooming on the day of their visit and then make choices from there. It's great for senior visitors who want new plants but find walking the gardens difficult.

I wish I had an irrigation system in place at the daylily field. The Winooski River parallels the field but getting the water in quantity to the field is something I haven't figured out yet. I am considering a pump for the tractor but that's the easy part of going that route. Everything has a price but irrigation has been on our list as watering with a hose is just not practical.

A quick walk through the field and shades of first yellow and then orange become obvious. The species daylilies shared these colors so it is obvious why they are the first to bloom. First Show, pictured just below, is a vigorous bloomer that draws early attention to your gardens. We recommend it with Lemon Lollypop for mass plantings as it is inexpensive and produces masses of color. Lemon Lollypop blooms all season so that increases its value, especially for institutional plantings such as schools, hospitals or senior community care homes where visitors might return past the same gardens time and again.

We like to add punctuation marks to our gardens and Chicago Star is a big, bright daylily that becomes a beacon from afar. Like most all the Chicago daylilies, bloom is plentiful and large and growth is vigorous with thick scapes and multiple bloom for some time.

Red is always a good seller although there are so many shades that it quickly becomes an eye of the beholder thing. Tuesday a customer asked for some recommendations for daylilies with long bloom time during early July through mid August when she is in Vermont at her camp. I included some reds in my list and then she said she was different than others and did not like red. So be it!

Some of our earlier reds are not as bright as some might like but the muted reds works so well with other plants. Here are Red Rum and Jeune Tom which might seem pale until matched with some blue, lavender or purple delphiums, some Magnus echinacea and a few helianthus. Suddenly the "pale" becoming striking and the balance is complimentary.

I have always liked Ruby Throat, named after the hummingbird, which comes on a little later here. Tall, straight scapes with lots of flowers makes me happy and it is a red that is strong. This year Gail picked up Prairie Wildfire, shown up top, and I have to say this is a match for me. Good substance, nice throat, and a strong red, bold and earlier than Ruby Throat and something to consider. Unfortunately my opinion is shared by many and other than this picture, I'm not sure there will be any left for sale by tonight. Next year is always a different story.

Writing from the mountain above Peacham Pond where Mrs Turkey just brought out 6 maybe 8 kids for me to see. This was a late hatch as the little kids are having trouble with the grass in the field that hasn't been cut in two weeks. There must be some insects hatching as I can see mom pecking away even from my desk. Life, even on hot days, is good. Take good care of yourself, you friends, seniors, kids and animals today!

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
Vermont Flower Farm A website that makes preparing for a visit to see daylilies a bunch easier
On Facebook as Vermont Flower Farm and Gardens
On Twitter as vtflowerfarm


lynn'sgarden said...

OH! How can one NOT like red daylilies..they are my fave..the deeper shade, the better! The heatwave here in NJ has wreaked havoc in my garden...NOTHING looks good as wilt sets in by mid morning, especially the deck pots, no matter that they're watered every morning! I remember your barn with the individual displays of daylily blooms, pretty! Stay cool, lynn

Joe said...

You sent me into a panic! I have a doctors appointment on the 9th, and when I read July 10th....

It is July 8th.

Sorry, I couldn't resist pointing the date out. That said, I love your blog. I am pretty new at this gardening thing, and I really love what you right. It was the best thing during those late winter blues to get me thinking about my first full season.


George Africa said...

Sorry, Joe. I was in a rush to finish up and get to the dentist. Time was slipping by.

Today's 90 degree temps are down to 75 w/93% humidity. Hope things are better where you live.