The Happy Daylily Blog - daylily pictures and thoughts from my garden

August 19th 2017

There is one day every year that I find to be very sad. It's the 'first day without a bloom'. The daylilies started blooming in earnest back in April. Since then there has been at least one bloom open in my garden every day... until today that is.

I really can't complain as I had continuous blooms for over 4 months and blooming is not completely over. I still have a couple of scapes with buds and about a half dozen new scapes that haven't bloomed yet.


Seedling 10-046

Today's seedling is what one that I used a 'bridge plant'. It isn't something that I would ever consider registering even though it did win a purple ribbon in our daylily show in 2013. It just isn't that pretty (IMHO). What it does offer however is it gives some interesting seedlings when used as a parent plant. When I crossed it with Shipwreck Cove (a cream with a dark purple eye and edge) I got some seedlings with lavender eyes and edges and green throats. These seedlings were striking but most haven't performed up to my standards for bud count, etc...

Seedling 10-046 has 6" blooms on 20" scapes and comes from the cross {Always Baroque X (Hedwig's Eyes x Spacecoast Starburst)}.


August 17th, 2017

The summer doldrums continue with 'feels like' temperatures reaching the mid to upper 100's during the hottest part of the day. Because I no longer have to deal with the '9 to 5' I find the summers to be much more bearable than before. Early morning temperatures are warm but my front yard beds are all in the shade for the first couple of hours. The back yard beds on the other hand, are in the shade beginning in the late afternoon. In the early evening temperatures can still be in the 90's but lower relative humidity levels and a typical nice breeze can actually make it more pleasant in the garden than the early morning. Of course I still have weed issues but overall the garden looks better than it used to at this time of year.


Seedling 15-068

Seedling 15-068 was one of the last ones to make the cut for evaluation in 2015. It's a nice pink with a bold red eye and edge but was a relatively small plant with mediocre bud count. Nevertheless, I decided to see what it could do because I liked the colors. The bloom actually got a little better this year but overall performance still has it on the 'probably not' list. It has a 5" bloom on 20" scapes. I have no idea what the parentage is on this one.


August 11th, 2017

I have always heard that serious daylily hybridizers have "programs" that target specific goals. Just about anything can be considered a program such as increasing the size of patterned daylilies, sunfast reds, green edges, etc... Years ago I decided that my program would be large dark purples with wide petals and ruffles. A noble goal indeed especially in the early 90's when there were not a lot of good purple daylilies to work with. Still, I persisted and bought many purple daylilies to start my program. I suppose things might have worked out better if I knew then what I know now but to say the program was a flop would be kind.

After a couple of years with nothing to show for it, I read somewhere that at that time purples were the most difficult color to hybridize with and because the number of good seedlings compared to the total number planted was so small, it was best suited to the larger hybridizers who planted tens of thousands of seedlings every year. So I decided that I needed to change to a program to something simpler that produced better results. In the end I decided that just creating daylilies that I like was what I really wanted to do.


Seedling 15-043

This is seedling 15-043. It has 6" blooms on 25" scapes. It comes from the cross (Frank's Hot Tamale X Bella Vita). The midribs through the red eye gives the appearance of the eye being segmented instead of a solid band of color.


August 9th, 2017

We've been having 'happy daylily' weather. During the past 5 days we had 5.5" of rain, with 4.5" of it coming a couple of nights ago. Usually, when we get multiple inches of rain from the same storm it often falls quickly causing much of it to run off. In this case it rained for over 5 straight hours giving much of it a chance to soak in.


Seedling 16-096

Today's seedling is 16-096. It has a 5" bloom on 31" scapes.


August 7th, 2017

Following up on the nut grass discussion, I hope this experiment works because I need to get these daylilies out of their pots and into the ground this fall. After several years of experimenting with growing daylilies in pots I find that daylilies just don't do as well in pots here in Houston. It's too hot! With a little coaxing they can bloom well enough in the spring but they suffer when the full force of summer heat arrives.


Seedling 14-073

This is seedling 14-073. It has 6" blooms on 29" scapes. It comes from the cross (May I Have This Dance X Hog Heaven).


August 5th, 2017

With the nut grass taking over the daylily beds, I knew I had to chemically treat the noxious weed to try and eliminate it. But what to do with the aproximately 6 dozen daylilies currently in the beds? I have no place to temporarily grow them for a season. Nut grass is most active in the heat of the summer and digging and replanting daylilies in 90+ degree temperatures is out of the question (both for them and for me!).

So last fall I dug up each daylily and planted them in 2-gal pots. Each potted daylily had a matching empty pot which I sunk in the ground in the location where the daylily had been growing. Then I placed the potted daylilies in the sunken pots. The result is that the potted daylilies can easily be removed temporarily allowing the beds to be treated. The potted daylilies can then be placed back in the sunken pots. Note that I placed short lengths of PVC pipe in the sunken pots preventing the potted plants from becoming wedged into the empty pots. That made them easy to remove.

This past week I performed my first treatment. The process went even better than I expected. The first day I removed the daylilies and placed them in the driveway (in order so they could be put back in the same locations). By then it was too hot to spray so the following morning I sprayed using Bonide Sedge Ender. After spraying it was too hot (for me) so I waited until the following morning to replace the daylilies in their sunken pots. While it was a 3-day process, it really only took about 4 hours of actual work. The nut grass is already showing signs of yellowing so I am encouraged. I do however expect I'll probably have to treat one more time later in the summer as some of the tubers may have been dormant and could sprout later on. I'll have to wait to see how effective this turns out to be.


Seedling 08-014


Catalina KissRuffled Masterwork

If you're a regular follower then you know I prefer edged and eyed daylilies. That doesn't mean I haven't worked with 'selfs' in my hybridizing. Today's image is one of the resulting 'selfs' that have made it to my keep list. Seedling 08-014 has 6" blooms on 23" scapes.

The cross (Catalina Kiss X Ruffled Masterwork) actually produced the results I was hoping for with 08-014 inherited the petal color from Catalina Kiss while inheriting the ruffling and green throat from Ruffled Masterwork - the best of each (IMHO).


August 4th, 2017

Nut grass (purple nutsedge) is probably the most difficult weed I fight in my garden. I believe I brought it in many years ago with some free horse poop that I had access to. Since then it's been a constant battle to keep it under control. Last year it exploded in my front yard beds. If it was a cash crop, I'd be rich (smile).

Pulling up the nut grass foliage provides a little cosmetic control but the nut grass keeps coming back. This is because removing the foliage leaves small nut-like tubers deep in the soil and they just send up new runners which sprout new foliage. Both nut grass and daylilies are monocots which generally means that the herbicides that kill nut grass also kill daylilies. Therefore I can't use a chemical spray to kill the nut grass without first removing the daylilies. I can't do because I have no other place to plant the daylilies.

So this year I'm trying something new. I'll talk about it in my next post.


Seedling 14-005

Seedling 14-005 comes from the cross (Hedwig's Eyes X Shipwreck Cove). It has 6" blooms on 31" scapes


August 1st, 2017

It's August 1st and I'm still getting spotty bloom in the daylily garden. There has now been at least one daylily bloom in the garden every day for over three and a half months.


Springtime Romance (Jarvis 2011)

Some of the blooms at this time of year are not much more than shadows of their former self. There are some however that still look pretty decent - not as good as they did back in May, but decent none-the-less. One of these late season pretties is Springtime Romance.

This picture of Springtime Romance was taken this morning. This was the last bloom on one of the third set of scapes from this year.


July 30th, 2017

I was hoping we would get some much needed rain today but it looks like it won't happen. I made the decision to turn on the sprinklers this morning as the lawn was getting a little crunchy and I'm sure the daylilies needed it. When it comes to watering in our hot and humid Houston summers I have found that a couple of times a week is usually sufficient. Watering too frequently can lead to crown rot. Also, I can't let them stay dry for too long as prolonged dry soil can stress some plants and then when they finally get water the can develop rot.

Many years ago I tried watering every other day during the hottest part of the summer thinking that lots of water would help the daylilies avoid getting the scraggly foliage that many of the cultivars get in continual mid to upper 90 degree days. All I got was major losses from crown rot. I estimate almost 25% of all my daylilies died that summer. Now that I water only a couple of times a week I only lose an occaional cultivar.


Seedling 12-066

Today's image is seedling 12-066. It has 5.5" blooms on 25" scapes. Bud counts have been in the mid teens but because I like the bloom I've kept it around.


July 28th, 2017

We're in the middle of a mini heat wave with temps forcast to hit 100 today for the first time this summer. This is a good time to see which seedlings are capable of handling the high temperatures and which are suffering or in a few cases, going into summer dormancy.

Summer dormancy is when a daylily stops growing and loses most or all of its foliage temporarily during the heat of the summer. Often this happens after the plant finishes blooming especially if the bloom has been prolific. Like winter dormancy, the foliage starts growing again after a while. Some years I don't see any summer dormancy while other years I may see it in a half dozen or more different seedlings.


Seedling 12-005

Today's seedling is 12-005. It has 6" blooms on 23" scapes. It doesn't produce large plants but it reblooms well and can have up to 20 buds per scape.


July 24th, 2017

Today's image is seedling 16-155 taken on a rebloom scape. It has 6" blooms on 22" scapes and comes from the cross (Springtime Romance X Crystal Smith).


Seedling 16-155


July 21st, 2017

The garden hasn't given up yet even though the daily temperatures are now in the mid 90's. Today there were a couple of dozen or so blooms.


Seedling 14-062


Seedling 11-022What Fun

Seedling 14-062 has 6" blooms on 25" scapes. It has performed fairly well with bud counts in the low 20's on 4-way branching. It resulted from the cross (seedling 11-022 X What Fun). Seedling 11-022 came from the cross (Caribbean Magic x Magic Attraction).


July 18th, 2017

Today's image is seedling 16-008. It has 6.5" blooms on 32" scapes. It comes from the cross (Violet Stained Glass X Born To Be Wild) and has a chartreuse color applique throat.


Seedling 16-008


July 16th, 2017

Here's another seedling with a dark eye. This is seedling 15-009. It has a 6" bloom on 34" scapes. It comes from the cross (Mississippi Memento X Thomas Tew).


seedling 15-009


July 14th, 2017

What first caught my eye with seedling 15-091 was the color - a light pink eye and edge. The first year blooms were somewhat irregularly shaped, however this year they improved with most blooms looking more like this picture. The blooms are 6" on 25" scapes and come from the cross (Jessica Lynn Bell X Walter Kennedy).


Seedling 15-091


July 12th, 2017

Substance when used to describe daylilies refers to the ability of blooms to withstand the elements. It can also be used when describing flower petal thickness. A daylily bloom with good substance may hold up under a light to moderate rain shower with little damage. I have also noticed that daylily blooms with poor substance tend to begin deteriorating faster than those with heavy substance especially on hot days.


Seedling 14-026

Seedling 14-026 has exceptional substance and I've seen it look good even after a hard rain. Also, it usually looks almost as good in the evening as it does when it first opens. It has 6" blooms on 30" scapes. It's from the cross (May I Have This Dance X Hog Heaven).


July 10th, 2017

This is seedling 16-144. It has a 5.5" bloom on 15" scapes which is much shorter than I like. Short scapes can be ok if the foliage size allows the blooms to be displayed above the foliage. This seedling has been grown in an area that gets too much shade so I plan to move it into a sunny location in the fall. Then we'll see how it performs.


Seedling 16-144


July 8th, 2017

I was doing some garden clean up recently and found a number of proliferations on some of the spent scapes. Proliferations look like small fans growing along the scape. These prolifs can be rooted by various methods giving additional fans of the cultivar. Usually these prolifs don't bloom the first year but by the second year they perform like any other fan of the cultivar. My method of propagating these prolifs may not be as effective as some more intensive methods but it takes little effort and does produce results.
  • Cut off the scape when roots begin to form at the base of the prolif
  • Trim off excess scape leaving about 1.5" both above and below the prolif
  • Trim the prolif foliage to about 2" in length
  • Make a small hole or slit in the soil near the base of the mother plant on the side that will receive the most shade from the mother plant
  • Push the prolif into the soil so the roots are at least a half inch into the soil and firm the soil around the base of the prolif

Prolif prepared for planting

Other than keeping the soil around the prolif from drying out until the roots become established, there isn't anything further to do. If the prolif takes (usually it does), the result will be just another fan along side the clump of the mother plant.


Seedling 15-038

Today's image is seedling 15-038. It has 6" blooms on 21" scapes. It comes from the cross (Mississippi Memento X Parrot Jungle).


July 6th, 2017

One of the frequent questions I get is "can or should I remove spent scapes?". Removing scapes improves the look of the garden because as the scapes begin to dry they turn brown making them a little unsigntly. So from an asthetic perspective, removing the spent scapes is a good thing.

I look at it a little differently and there are some who agree with this theory. The scapes are full of plant juices and nutrients needed for flowering and seed production. I believe that after the last bloom (and assuming there are no seed pods), some of the nutrients in the scape are drawn back into the plant. Nature does not like to waste resource so partially recapturing these nutrients only makes sense to me. It's further evidenced by the fact that the scape dies back from the top to the bottom. I don't however believe that removing the scape immediately after the last flower significantly harms the plant. Therefore my answer to the question is "you can remove the scapes if you want" but I let them know why they may not want to.

Personally, I usually remove the ones in the front yard (to keep the neighbor's happy) but leave the ones in the back yard.


Seedling 12-078


What Love Can DoSweet Tranquility

Seedling 12-078 has 6" blooms on 27" scapes with a bud count of 20. It comes from the cross (What Love Can Do x Sweet Tranquility).


July 4th, 2017

This is a rebloom image of Peaceful Moment taken yesterday. It's not as full and lush as the blooms earlier this season but still looked pretty good for this time of year.


Peaceful Moment (Jarvis, 2010)

Parentage is (Key Lime Ice X J.T. Davis).


July 3rd, 2017

While I really like black eyes in daylilies, they have not been all that common in my seedlings. Perhaps this is because I haven't concentrated on that trait.

One seedling in particular, 12-017, has a black eye. It's a consistent opener and performs well every year. Bud count is acceptable with up to 22 5.5" blooms on 21" scapes. It comes from the cross (Hedwig's Eyes X Crazy Ivan).


Seedling 12-017


July 1st, 2017

Our gulf coast summer weather has settled in for the long haul. Temperatures are now in the low to mid 90's just about every day. These conditions can speed up blooming quite a bit. For example, yesterday on one scape I had 4 blooms open and 3 more were open on the same scape today. These bloom clusters make a nice show.


Seedling 14-058

Today's image is seedling 14-058. It has 5" blooms on 22" scapes. It comes from the cross [Midnight Amulet X {Mask Of Eternity x (Islesworth x Awesome Blossom)}]. I like its black eye and edge. So far it hasn't had much of a bud count but some daylilies just are not happy in a pot. I need to move it to one of the beds to see what it can do.


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