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

January 27th, 2018

The back yard beds are now covered with about 2" of leaf mold compost. Next comes the front yard beds which I'll start next week. I put my yard guy on alert that I should be ready for him to till the beds in about week or so.

Seedling 16-080

Today's seedling is 16-080. It has 6.5" blooms 26" scapes and comes from the cross (Cimarron Rose X Rose Sensation).

January 23rd, 2018

The weather is finally cooperating and I brought in my first cubic yard of leaf mold compost. Leaf mold compost has an excellent supply of beneficial bacteria and fungi which feeds the soil. I use it because it speeds up recovery of the 'soil food web' after being disturbed by digging or tilling. A healthy soil food web is very important for healthy plants. The compost is being spread about 2-3" thick and will be tilled into the soil prior to the daylilies being replanted. I used this method in one of my front yard beds in the fall of 2015 and in 2016 I had a super bloom season.

The only source I have to purchase this bulk in half cubic yard increments is about 30 miles away. It's not a bad drive and a round trip takes about 2 hours. They used to sell a cubic yard and allow me to split it in two trips. I have a small 3/4 ton pickup and trying to carry a full yard which weighs about 1700 lbs. would be pushing the limits. Unfortunately, they have stopped this practice. I now have to purchase by the half yard which costs more but I currently don't have a better option if I want leaf mold compost.

Seedling 15-037

Seedling 15-037 is one of those daylilies that opens symetrically a high percentage of the time. It has a nice green throat and yellow gold edge but otherwise doesn't have any other special traits. It's just 'another pretty face' (and I don't have any problem with that!). It comes from the cross (May I Have This Dance X Hog Heaven) and has 5.5" blooms on 24" scapes.

January 18th, 2018

So far, it's been the coldest winter in over 20 years here in Houston. Woke up to 19 F. yesterday with a layer of sleet covering everything. This morning it was 23 F. and there was still some sleet on the ground. Some of the daylilies had begun to put out new growth after the hard freezes earlier this month but they'll undoubtedly have to start again. These hard freezes with warm temperatures between can be hard on evergreen daylilies.

Seedling 15-007

Today's seedling is 15-007, another from a (Mississippi Memento X Thomas Tew) cross. It has 6" blooms when they open flat (5.5" when they recurve as in this picture). I hope the images I'm posting help those who are starting to get cabin fever from being shut in by the cold and snow.

January 15th, 2018

It was 65 F. this afternoon and I just couldn't help myself... One of my back beds needed to be leveled and it was calling me to come out and enjoy the day. A couple of hours and all is now good.

Seedling 16-140

Living LargeSarah Starchak

Lavender is my least favorite daylily color. This makes it difficult for me to mark lavenders for further evaluation but seedling 16-140 made the cut. It has 7" blooms on 27" scapes. It comes from the cross (Living Large X Sarah Starchak). Sarah Starchak is registered as 8" and is the largest round formed daylily I have ever grown.

January 12th, 2018

A close inspection of new foliage growth shows the annual winter arrival of aphids has started. Only a few of the little green sap suckers have shown up so far but without a good supply of predators to keep them in check, it looks like a bumper crop will follow. Before the freezes, there were lots of ladybugs flying around as well as some lacewings. Since the hard freezes however, about all I've seen are a few milkweed assassin bugs. They eat aphids but alone are not enough to keep them under control. With a few more light freezes this week, I'll have to wait to see what emerges before I take any action.

Seedling 15-019

Today's seedling is 15-019. It has 6" blooms on 30" scapes and comes from the cross (Bella Vita X Frank's Hot Tamale).

January 9th, 2018

Here's a picture of Hedwig's Eyes that I referred to in yesterday's post. It has 5.5" blooms on 32" scapes. It comes from the cross (Isle Of Zanzibar X Awesome Blossom).

Hedwig's Eyes (Jarvis 2005)

January 8th, 2018

Due to downsizing I had about 3 dozen 7-gal pots filled with soil but no plants. Today I distributed this extra soil in the back beds. The new border blocks raised the level of the beds so there was plenty of room. It rained last night so the pots were extra heavy. I'm going to feel it tomorrow. Next, I have to start bringing in the compost and spread it over the beds.

Eastern Screech Owl

A couple of days ago I had an unusual visitor to my backyard. He was nice enough to pose for me and this is the picture. Eastern Screech Owls are relatively common in this area but are rarely seen because they are supposedly strictly nocturnal. Apparently, this one didn't get the message because he was perched on my back fence on a bright sunny day. Maybe he heard I had a daylily named Hedwig's Eyes (LOL).

Eastern Screech Owls are the smallest owl found in southeast Texas. You can get an idea of his size compared to the top of the fence picket he's setting on. I've often heard the screech owl calls during the night. To me they sound like a mournful 'winny' and not the typical owl 'hoo-hoo'.

January 6th, 2018

The worst of the cold weather is over for the time being. Nighttime temperatures are at least staying above freezing. We had several nights with freezing temperatures down as low as 23 F. Of course the daylily foliage was impacted and at first it looked pretty ugly. However after spending a day in the sun it didn't look quite as bad.

I find it interesting to observe how a freeze can affect each seedling differently. Daylilies are among the plants that produce "Antifreeze Proteins" These antifreeze proteins work by attaching themselves to the tiniest of ice crystals as they begin to form keeping the crystals from growing larger and rupturing the plant cell. This has the effect of lowering the temperature it takes to cause the water in the cells to freeze. Different cultivars produce differing amounts of these antifreeze proteins thus resulting in more damage to some than others.

Seedling 15-021

This is seedling 15-021. It doesn't have a spectacular bloom but does stand out in the garden. It has 5" blooms on 27" scapes and comes from the cross (Mississippi Memento X Thomas Tew).

January 1st, 2018

Happy New Year to all. The new year brought with it our coldest weather so far. In fact, they are saying this will be the coldest spell in quite a number of years with at least four more sub-freezing nights. It's a good thing that for the most part, daylilies can deal with the cold. I suspect there will be some foliage damage tonight when temperatures are predicted to drop to about 21 F. but the plants will bounce back... they always do.

Seedling 15-092

Today's seedling picture is 15-092, a 6" bloom on 26" scapes. It comes from the cross (May I Have This Dance X Celtic Moonglow).

December 24th, 2017

I just thought I'd post something with 'Christmasy' colors...

Seedling 13-001

...and seedling 13-001 seems to fit the bill. It has 6" blooms on 24" scapes and comes from the cross (Wild Cherry Round Up X Walter Kennedy).

December 23rd, 2017

I was pleasantly surprised today when my yard guy showed up to lay the blocks around the backyard beds. It took him and his two helpers about five and a half hours to complete the project. Yes, the new bed borders are strictly utilitarian but at least they won't have to be replaced again for a long time (if ever). The next project is to prepare the beds for tilling. I plan to add a few inches of organic compost (probably leaf mould) before having the beds tilled.

Seedling 16-138

Seedling 16-138 has a 6" bloom on 29" scapes. It comes from the cross (John Hawkins X Hedwig's Eyes). I was a little surprised that the yellow petal color in Hedwig's Eyes did not show up in this seedling.

December 19th, 2017

Today was sunny and mild so I decided to do a little weeding. There was part of a bed that I had been overlooking and it needed a little attention. Much to my surprise I found quite a number of ladybugs flying around. They kept landing on my clothes and even in my hair. I immediately suspected that the ladybugs might be there to attack a fresh crop of aphids on my daylilies but after a detailed inspection, I found none. I suppose that's why the ladybugs were flying... they were looking for something to eat. I hope this doesn't mean they'll be gone when the aphids do arrive. I'm predicting that will happen in the first or second week of January.

Seedling 14-082

Seedling 14-082 comes from the cross (Iwanna Piranha X Emerald Bay). It has 6" blooms on 28" scapes. It has a bud count in the mid 20's but the scape tends to lean over a little when the bud count gets that high.

December 13th, 2017

The blocks to border my backyard beds were delivered yesterday. The old wooden bed timbers have been removed and I'm ready to have my yard guy lay the blocks. Hopefully he can do it before Christmas. With a little help he can probably do it in a single day while it would take me many days to accomplish the same thing. I decided to go with blocks because wooden timbers just don't last like they used to. I think the first timbers I used lasted 20 years but now I'm lucky to get 4 years before they start falling apart. The blocks shouldn't have to ever be replaced which is good.

Seedling 15-024

Seedling 15-024 comes from the cross (Hedwig's Eyes X Dragon Knife). The bloom only measures a little over 5" but the bright yellow color and bold purple eye really make it stand out in the garden.

December 8th, 2017

No gardening today... (yes, this is Houston this morning).

December 7th, 2017

I have never been one to pay a lot of attention to what was currently popular in daylily breeding. I guess that's one of the advantages of being a hobby hybridizer. I can concentrate on whatever makes me happy instead of trying to create something that others will want to purchase. Still, it's been interesting to observe how trends have changed in daylilies over the years.

My earliest recollections were about how hybridizers were trying to improve daylily ruffles especially in purple and red tetraploids. There wasn't a lot of tet ruffling years ago especially in those colors. Then wide petaled daylilies became the rage followed by daylilies with colored edges. More recently however, daylily trends have gone full circle with narrow petals like spiders and unusual forms becoming popular. These are like those that were common 30 years ago when I started growing daylilies.

Seedling 13-056

While I like just about any style daylily, wide petalled large flowered daylilies with edges are my favorites and most of my seedlings under evaluation fit into these categories. Today's seedling (13-056) is both wide petaled and has an edge. 13-056 also has a very green throat and there's some green in the yellow ruffled edges. So far bud count has only been in the mid teens but I'm hoping for better results once I get it out of the pot and into the ground.

November 27th, 2017

Some daylilies multiply slowly. I've even had a couple that have taken as much as three years to go from 1 fan to 2 fans. Other daylilies multiply like crazy. I always like daylilies that multiply well but the down side can be having to divide them more frequently. When a clump gets too thick, the blooms can become smaller and fewer. So I try and keep a step ahead by dividing when the clump starts to get large.

Caribbean Magic (Jarvis, 2014)

Caribbean Magic is one of those great increasers. Last fall I planted 4 fans in a new bed in the front yard. As usual, it increased like crazy. Today I dug the clump and divided it. The original 4 fans were now 24 fans - a 6-fold increase in just one year.

November 25th, 2017

I got a real workout with the garden task I just finished. In preparation for reworking all the backyard beds, I had to move about a hundred 7-gal pots to a temporary location across the yard. Being cool this time of year, the soil in the pots had retained much of the moisture from the last watering and were incredibly heavy. I estimate they averaged about 50 lbs each. Multiplying the 100 pots times 50 lbs each would mean I moved about two and a half tons of pots. There was a day when this would have taken maybe a couple of hours but it took these old bones way longer than that. But I did finish it in one day.

I also moved a couple of dozen pots of Aspidistra from their ultra-shady location behind a shed in preparation for their planting in the front yard. I'm going to put them in the far side of one of the daylily beds. That side of the bed is under the canopy of the neighbor's huge oak tree. Aspidistra grows very well outside here if you give it lots of shade.

Seedling 16-141

Seedling 16-141, new this past year, didn't have an impressive bud count but I like the clear, bright red color.

November 12th, 2017

One of my fall projects is to purchase some of those border wall stones and make some bed borders in my front yard. Friday I went to my local Home Depot to see what they had to offer. The stones which would work were selling for over $4 each but I found one that was marked down to about a dollar. I bought a dozen which is what I needed for the first bed. That evening I suddenly realized that I should have purchased the other 40 stones to complete the project before they were gone as I would save over $120 dollars. So yesterday I went back to buy the rest. 40 stones weighs over 800 lbs. and a couple of employees even helped me get the stones to the cash register. When they entered the SKU for the stones it came up with a price of .01 each. The cashier said she couldn't sell the stones for a penny.

Then one of the employees who was helping me took me to see the manager. When he heard the story he said "Sir, today is your lucky day". Yes, he actually said that. And then he told me he couldn't sell them for a penny but because I was a good customer I could have the stones for free. The employees even helped me load them in my pickup. What a deal!

When I got home I did a little research and found an explanation for what happened. According to one website, once Home Depot decides to close out an item it goes through a markdown process to hopefully sell their remaining stock. The first markdown is 25% off followed by 50% and then 75% until the item is sold out. This is all done automatically by date with the additional markdowns usually happening at 3-month intervals. If the item still hasn't sold at 75% off, it's automatically marked down to a penny. Penny items are supposed to be removed from the shelves and destroyed. Of course, this removal process takes time so it's possible for someone to try and purchase a penny item before the store has a chance to remove it. This is what happened to me.

I don't believe cashiers are not supposed to sell you penny items. They're supposed to confiscate them if these items make it to the register but I wonder just how often this really happens. After all, they're just going to throw the items away and it would create good will for the company. Furthermore, what happens when you go through the self check out and there isn't a cashier to see the penny item (especially on weekends when the store is packed and the lines are long)?

One website I found even provided details on how to exploit this policy. Just google "Home Depot penny price". Nuff said...

Seedling 14-034

Seedling 14-034 has 5" blooms on 26" scapes and has a bud count in the mid 20's on 5-way branching. It comes from the cross (Edwardian Charm X Happy Halloween).

November 4th, 2017

This morning I sprayed again for rust. The last spraying knocked down most of the active rust but after a 1" rain a few days ago followed by days of high humidity it was starting to appear again. It was a nice mild morning so it was pleasant to be outside.

The effects of my cutting back over the past few years became very apparent this morning. Three years ago it would take 21 gallons to spray all the daylilies. As I went thru the cut-backs, smaller amounts of spray were required. This morning it took only 7 gallons to give them a good thorough spraying.

Seedling 16-147

Seedling 16-147 has 7" blooms on 27" scapes. It comes from the cross (May I Have This Dance X Sarah Starchak).

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