Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Dividing Daylilies

Dividing Daylilies

A quiet morning here on the mountain. There's a light wind and it's still raining. The walk with Karl the Wonder Dog was short as the rain pelted down through the coloring maple leaves and leaves joined rain drops, falling to the ground. I'm packing up in a few minutes to head for the nursery and get working. Sun is supposed to reappear by noon but I cannot wait for drier weather before taking on more refencing. Two floods in one summer knocked down lots of fence and it has to go back up as deer are moving more and I don't want them to get used to a new buffet at Vermont Flower Farm.

This time of year we clean up the daylily fields by cutting down the leaves and spent scapes and weeding as best we can before rototilling between the rows. Yesterday I noticed that Fire King, which started blooming August 1st, is still blooming in the garden and so is one of my favorites, Chrystalline Pink Both are pictured here. At the house a number of Olallie daylilies are still blooming too although the flowers are getting smaller now as the end of the bloom cycles nears. There are other daylilies scattered about in minor bloom but to see them you have to walk the rows.

Some people have trouble making themselves divide daylilies. We do it all the time and we dig and divide daylilies until about Columbus Day here when the soil temperature drops below 50°. We dig the clumps with shovels and spade forks by digging around the root ball and popping it out. With older, mature clumps that may weigh over a hundred pounds we use a six foot pry bar after digging around them. It's not always easy and it's good to do some stretching before you start. Once the clumps are out we hose them down with water so they are clean like in this next picture. Then we divide them down to the size we want. Two fans go into pots for next years sales, single fans get lined out in the gardens to grow on for later sales.....that kind of thinking.

Some daylilies split easily with your hands but others require a knife or other cutting instrument. I buy el cheapo knives from Wally World--knives like bread knives with serrated edges or the heavy bladed cutting knives. These are about $3 each and actually last a long time. I recommend to folks that they be ruthless and cut away but just the same, some gardeners just cannot make themselves do the cutting. Be strong, give it a try!

Gotta scoot. Much to do today. Stop and say hello if you are passing along Route 2.

Writing from the mountain above Peacham Pond where a flock of noisy, communicative Canada geese are passing overhead. We know their message!

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
Vermont Flower Farm
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