Daylily Haiku Thursday | Diversity in Daylilies

One of the greatest contributions that daylilies make to the garden is diversity.  Although the foliage generally stays the same, the size and display of the flower changes from one cultivar to the next.  There are daylilies registered at under 1" and some that stretch to 12" or more.  That's quite a range of bloom size!

Of the 70,000 registered daylily cultivars, only about 2% of them are registered as miniature daylilies.  The official definition of a miniature daylily is one that has a bloom that is less than 3" in size.  Miniatures are different from small daylilies, which are registered at 3" and up to 4.5".  Between the two of them, they encompass about 10% of all registered daylilies.
I love small and minis, and I think this is a great area of concentration for someone looking to find their own niche in the daylily world.  These size daylilies often have foliage that is smaller and more compact, which makes them a great addition to rock gardens, container plantings, front-of-the-bed positioning, and focal plantings in fairy gardens.  In my experience these small powerhouses also usually generate a large number of scapes loaded with buds.
Some hybridizers focus on this size, and others think the tiny ones are a waste of space - but thats the beauty of daylilies!  There is something for everyone.  The current AHS President, Julie Covington did an amazing presentation on Smalls and Minis at the recent daylily symposium in Nashville.  Her stunning photography showed probably 100 good examples of these types.  I was inspired by her presentation to go back through my photos and enjoy the petite pretties in my own collection.  The first photo is the mammoth H. 'Mojave Sunset' (registered at 9") and the petite H. 'Siloam Grace Stamile' (registered at 2.12".)  This photo shows the great contrast and diversity available in daylilies.  The two blooms evoke different moods and serve different purposes in the garden.   

These three shown above are workhorses in the front of the border.  From left we have H. 'All Gods Children' (3.25"), H. 'Brookwood Black Kitten' (2.75") and H. 'Mary Ethel Anderson.' (2.5")  
Tiny, tiny, tiny!

I also love these three.  Above is H. 'Magician's Apprentice' (2.75"), H. 'Madeline Nettles Eyes' (2.25"), and H. 'Mystic Vision' (3.5".)

When I think of miniature daylilies, a few specific hybridizers come to mind that I believe are experts in the area of smalls and minis.  Grace Stamile and Elizabeth Salter have a deep legacy of introducing stellar daylilies in this size range.  Recently, Jane Trimmer has introduced a line of "popcorn" doubles that are as entertaining as they are tiny.  (Ironically, I hear that she has abandoned her tiny line for the great big ones - and if her H. 'Tusk' is any indication, shes going to hit those out of the park, too.)  Tim Herrington also has produced some very distinct miniature and small daylilies.  I have commented about his diversity before.

spring is marching near
with brighter evenings - warm nights
soothing away winter.

The good news about daylilies is that there is something for everyone.  Mini, small, huge, extra huge, spider, unusual...the possibilities are endless, which is why they will always be in my garden as a source of both color and structure.


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