Daylilies Old & New

Old fashioned Orange or Tawny Daylilies are pretty, but their spreading tendency can be a problem.

Daylily breeders have gone way beyond the species orange ditch lilies of old. (Hemerocallis Fulva)  If you have these in a small garden bed, consider pulling them out and instead planting some of the newer vibrant and varied cultivars. Of course if you have them in your ditch, where nothing else will grow, keep them there. They will be perfectly happy and are easy care perennials. However, a problem with having the orange lilies in a smaller garden border is their tendency to spread sideways and colonize an area. They are not well behaved enough to play with other perennials. Luckily, newer varieties have a tidier growing form, staying in a circular clump, which slowly increases outwards.

One of the best things about modern bred daylilies is that they available in early, middle and late season varieties, so provide a long season of flowers in the garden. Some daylilies, both old and new, are wonderfully scented, (and I don’t know about you, but I am increasingly looking for scent in the garden). Old fashioned scented varieties are the Lemon Lily, (Hemerocallis Flava) which blooms early in June, and Hyperion lilies, both yellow.

Fragrant Lemon Lily paired with bright violet Geranium.

Each daylily flower, like the name, only blooms one day, but they do make great cut flowers. Bring in a stem with several buds, and you can remove the old flowers and enjoy the other buds as they open.

When buying, check to see if it is early, mid or late season, and get at least one of each. Oh, and daylily flower buds, like squash blossoms, are edible.

Daylilies come in so many colours now, yellow to deep purple, and almost black.

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