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Barbara Ann white daylily.


botanical name. They produce a bloom that opens in the morning and fades within 24 hours, generally overnight, although there are species that flower at night. Fortu- nately, daylily scapes, as the flower stem is called, have the ability to produce more than one bloom, the number depending on the variety. Often the blossoms are fragrant, especially the night


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bloomers, and there are new hybrids that will even re-bloom, the most famous being Stella de Oro, a smaller daylily with narrow leaves and yellow flowers. There are now several other choices and some of the newer cultivars will bloom for months. Although at one time daylilies were considered to be


part of the lily family, they have since been removed to a group that is based on the flower stalk emerging from a basal rosette of leaves. The group includes Kniphofia (red hot pokers). Daylilies have an interesting but perhaps little known


trait in that they produce a miniature daylily called a “proliferation” at nodes along the flower scapes. The proliferation can be planted and will produce an exact clone of its parent. The plants can also be propagated through root division and seeds. Daylilies, like true lilies, are easy to hybridize. There are


over 60,000 cultivars named and registered. The flowers consist of three petals and three sepals, six stamens and a prominent, two-lobed anther. However,


8 • Beautiful Gardens 2015


eauty in living things is always ephemeral, but when it lasts for only one day, it seems all the more desir- able. So it is with daylilies, or Hemerocallis, their


Inwood daylily.


The dreaded orange or tawny daylily


New gardeners beware of friends offering daylily roots – chances are that this is the very prolific Hemerocallis fulva, an invasive species that travels via underground stolons, or roots that send out runners to start new plants. They are tough plants and will persist if even the smallest piece of root is left in place. On the other hand, they are great for filling in vast empty space and will even out-compete goutweed.


the variety of colour, shape and texture of the three petals is astonishing. They can be ruffled, recurved, long, slen- der and drooping, even doubled. The colours can range from creamy white to orange, to red, to purple, to pink and cream and lemon yellow and all shades in between. Often they have a contrasting throat which can be dark or light or banded, watermarked, haloed, tipped, dotted or dusted or flecked. Petals can be edged in dark tones that mirror their throats. They can be diamond dusted, where tiny crystals in the cells of the plant reflect light creating an illusion of being dusted with sparkles. The variety is endless. The most elusive colour is blue. While many varieties


contain this colour as part of their name, I have never yet seen a true blue daylily. Don’t rely on photos, either; the


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