Great Daylilies That No One Is Talking (loudly enough) About...

<posted December 19, 2013> I don't pretend to know what the right daylilies are, but I do know of several daylilies I grow that aren't widely grown or widely chatted about on various public forums.  But they should be.

I think of them as hidden treasures in my collection.

One of them is today's haiku picture and it is H. 'Empire of Desire' by Richard Norris of Ashwood Daylilies.  It is a HUGE bloom on tall scapes that really has a lot of different points of distinction.  Of the many yellow-daylilies-with-relief-sculpting-and-green-throats registered today, this one is top of my list.  Let's start at its core - the bright lime green throat, representing the jealous "heart" of this empire.  The deep carving, casting shadows on the wide, supple petals, heavy presence...the ironic, innocent-white get my drift (a la Fifty Shades of the Daylily!)  

That's how it goes in my garden.  

I don't grow a single daylily that doesn't have a story.  It comes from someone special or its hybridized by someone I admire or I first experienced it somewhere memorable or it carries the name of a memory I want to often revisit...a real connection.  My friends who aren't gardeners like to walk the garden with me to just hear the tales of the plants that live here.  It's a living scrapbook.

That's how it is with most daylily gardeners.  We connect our gardens to our inside lives, to our other lives, to the lives we once led or the ones we are destined to live someday.

I thought I would show you some other photos of daylilies I think are worth a try.  These are daylilies with special distinction.  Some connection.  

Another one from Richard Norris' H. 'Remembered Kisses.'

This daylily feels masculine.  Its strong and purposeful always has just the right amount of motion to make it stand out above others in this genre.  The raspberry-red edge is consistent and interesting.  The feathered edge of the eye zone provides even more interest on those vanilla segments.  I love the interplay of colors in the throat of this daylily, too.

On what other plants in your garden can you use such adjectives!? 

Visit Richard's website, see his 2014 introductions!  If you want a list of other recommendations from him, let me know.  Seriously! 

Here is H. 'Texas Beautiful Bouquet', hybridized by Josie Bomar and registered in 2007.  It is a DORMANT plant, which is good for my mild climate and for gardeners in warm and cold climates. 

The magical swirl of color in this bloom gets me every time.  It has classic pie-crust edges and unbeatable substance.  Another huge point of distinction for this one is its FRAGRANCE.  Its mesmerizing.  The buds also start to open the previous day, so you get this nice ballet as the buds crack open.  You can see that in the below picture.  And the bud count is not to shabby, either (its higher than its registration data reports.)  I love this plant.

Then there is H. 'Tornado Chaser' (seen below.)  I love the long petals that allow for great color and movement.  Look at those curls!  The color of the lavender band breaks just where the petal cannot stretch anymore and is forced into a spiral of curls.  It is never unwieldy and it is always beautiful. Kimberly has some gem daylilies.  One of the daylily clubs I belong to is placing an order for her 2014 collection for our club auction.  I cant wait to see what she sends along a bonuses - she's always generous with club orders.

The green throat stays all day, and I enjoy that very much.  It is planted right next to my own introduction, H.'A Thousand Sweet Kisses.'  These two blooms below are having a conversation in the garden on a rainy day.  I wish it were me and Kimberly instead of just our two introductions!  Check us out...

I can't count how many times I have said the two words 'Truffles Milanese' this year.  It was probably the most talked-about daylily in my garden.  This picture says it all.

It is clear, clean, erect, strong, consistent and it smells reaaaaally good.  (I'd insert the easy pun here, but I'm afraid it wouldn't pass the censors.)  

I sold out of it this year to visitors alone.  Some blooms were over 8".  By the end of bloom season I would walk by it and just shake my head. Ridiculously amazing.  You need to call David Kirchhoff right now and order that one.  

The next hidden treasure is Herbie Phelps' H. 'Unforgettable Wonder.'  Herbie sent this to me years ago in a trade for H. 'Matchless Fire.'  What a great trade!  This one has a saffron-colored base that is very appealing among yellows.  I love the ultra-crimped edges.  If you get really close, you can see a gorgeous gold filigree sewn into the edge.

Another double I could not get enough of this summer was H. 'Cockspur,' - seen below and registered by Missouri's own Bob Tankesley-Clarke.  

My fab BFF Nicole in Michigan gifted this to me years ago.  She always knows what I will like; she has a sense of crazy in her taste, too.  I love the veining. This bloom pulsates with color (especially the bright yellow throat) and it stands very tall in the garden.  It also bloomed 100% double, which means each bloom that opened was double. Not all daylily who say they are double do that, sometimes they misfire and only show one layer of petaloids...

So, with Christmas and New Year's approaching, you should search out one or more of these cultivars for your own collection or to gift to someone else so they can add something to their "living scrapbook" with memories of YOU!

I still haven't decided what will be the one new intro I buy for myself this Christmas season....stay tuned!


Gardens at Waters East said...

I do like the day lilies you posted today. (Especially Texas Beauty) I have hybridized more than 450 different plants so I have an interest in seeing what others have. I have a number of them in past archives listed as hybridized day lilies if you want to check some out. Thanks for the posting. JC

Unknown said...

Hi, NIkki,
I am so glad someone else appreciates Richard Norris. I have several of his daylilies, the favorite being Evidence of Aliens, Kermit's Scream, Substantial Evidence, Pigment of Imagination, and Plane Geometry. These flowers have such heavy substance, grow well, and are fairly unique when so many hybridizers are introducing flowers that look like a thousand others out there.
Laura Teague


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