Family of Flowers
Daylilies are best displayed in sweeping masses, as you've done along your back border, but there is one bed that's different. Tell me about it.
Linda: I noticed that many daylilies had the same names as members of our family. I thought, "Let's have a family bed." A sampling includes 'Donna's Prayer,' 'Rebecca Marie' for our granddaughter, and now 'Sam's Delight.' For years, my stand-in was 'Witch Stitchery,' which Sam bought as a joke. I'm glad to say we now have 'Linda's Magic' as its replacement.
As flowers fade, you should deadhead. Once blooming is done, I cut the scapes (stalks the flowers bloom on) back to the ground so they don't go to seed. This encourages reblooming.
When and how often do you recommend dividing?
Sam: It really depends on the daylily―usually anywhere from two to five years. When flowers become smaller than normal, I know it's time to divide. You can do this in the spring or fall. If I divide in the spring, I replant what I can and pot some of the divisions to share.
Sam: Yeah, this advice comes from the same woman who just bought six roses on sale that we have no room for.
Hey, I think we're doing this interview because she overbought daylilies 14 years ago.
Linda: Yeah, but really, sales are good. Gardening can be expensive. Go to a good garden center. If you're busy with work or children, you should still garden. Don't feel bad about keeping it low-key. Just wait until you retire to go really crazy like we have.
What does it take to have an award-winning garden? Persistence. Sam and Linda grow more than just daylilies. You name it; we bet it's in their garden somewhere. In 2002, their yard was one of four first-prize winners in the All-American Lawn Contest sponsored by Lowe's and Briggs & Stratton.
Did you know that there are more than 50,000 named daylily selections? Here are this couple's top five.
- 'Tuscawilla Tigress'―showy and vigorous
- 'Red Volunteer'―huge flowers
- 'Orange Velvet'―semievergreen rebloomer
- 'Vanilla Fluff'―wonderfully scented
- 'Strawberry Candy'―pink with rose red eye
- Permanent fixture: Evergreen selections claim their spots in the garden year-round, so plant them in generous sweeps where their foliage adds texture to the border.
- Here today, gone tomorrow: Semievergreen selections may or may not keep their leaves, depending on where they are grown. Like their deciduous counterparts, they should be planted where the foliage from other plants (such as liriope) will fill in the voids when leaves disappear.
- Long and short of it: Heights range from 1 to 4 feet. While the shorties do well as front-of-the-border plants, tall guys such as 'Hyperion' are better in the back.
- Timing is everything: With early, mid-, and late-season bloomers, you can have flowers filling your garden from May through frost. For easy nonstop color, plant one of the repeat bloomers such as 'Happy Returns.'
"Family of Flowers" is from the May 2008 issue of Southern Living.