Do you see any daylilies you’d like to have in this field?
No, maybe, yes?
How about in this field?Possibly, maybe, perhaps?
Okay, how about this field?Are you confused yet? Maybe the one you wanted is in that first field? Or in one of the fields I didn't include a picture of? Or maybe it isn't even blooming when these pictures were taken?
Now you can understand my dilemma when I visit Soules Garden in Indianapolis every summer to see the daylilies in bloom. I always leave wanting some daylilies, some good daylilies, but which ones? The choices are seemingly endless standing their gazing from one field to another.
In fact, there are an overwhelming number of named daylilies in the gardening world. If you visit the American Hemerocallis Society website and access their online database, then click on “Show All Dayliles”, you’ll find 64,382 named daylilies to browse through.
The owners of Soules Garden estimate they have only about a thousand different daylilies, but are adding more daylilies and removing a few every year to keep their collection up to date. So, among their 1,000 daylilies, surely I could find a dozen or so that I’d like to have?
Really, how hard could it be? Just pick one, or two or a dozen, right? But which ones? Chris, one of the owners, is very helpful and enthusiastic. He’ll tell you something nice about each daylily, and get you excited about nearly every daylily in bloom. Cynthia is a bit more reasonable when it comes to the daylilies -- her specialty is more the hostas and miniature plants. Oh, did I mention that they also sell a couple hundred varieties of hostas at Soules Garden? Plus they have a good selection of miniature plants, including many that have found their way home to my miniature garden.
It is hard to pick just a few daylilies with so many choices available, don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
But I have overcome the overwhelming feelings of the daylily world! Finally, after years of visiting Soules Garden and never buying a daylily, I sauntered into the garden this past Friday, gave them my list and bought eighteen different varieties of daylilies.
What made this year different?
Dee at Red Dirt Ramblings is what (or who) made this year different. Truth be told, most daylilies don’t do much for me. I was bored with ‘Stella D’Oro’, who isn’t, and found that the blooms of many daylilies left me saying “that’s nice”, which is like saying “that’s nice but I’m not sure I want to lift a trowel to plant one in my garden”.
But Dee, who has quite a few daylilies of her own and belongs to a local daylily society in Oklahoma, started talking and writing about the spider and unusual form (UF) daylilies suddenly the daylily world had focus for me. I loved those flowers! I could see those flowers growing in my garden, flowers like ‘Rose Emily’.
Dee was more than happy to provide some advice via email on what to look for in a “good daylily” including:
"Good branching. Do the flowers have enough room to open? This is very important with spiders because they often have such big flowers.
High bloom. Is the bloom high enough above the foliage to display the flowers properly and let if open?
Plenty of buds. You want lots of buds to create lots of blooms. Otherwise, you won't get many flowers in the year."
Now with my new focus and Dee's advice, I combed through the Soules Garden website searching for “spider”, “unusual form”, rebloomer, and “green” (because I like green flowers), made up a list, and sent it to Dee. Dee sent back some suggestions on a couple to remove and a few to add, and I was all set!
I think they were a bit surprised at Soules that after so many visits, because I visit a couple of times every season, I actually bought some daylilies. They were very helpful. They reviewed my list, verified their stock and graciously added a few more that I found as I wandered through the fields, this time with an eye for “spider” and “unusual form” daylilies. They dug the daylilies for me, attached labels, and then carefully wrapped each one in wet newspaper for the trip home to my garden.
For now, I’ve planted my new daylilies in a few spare beds in my vegetable garden, where they each have a label so I can identify them later. I also made a map to show where they are so that if I lose a label, I can still figure out which dayliy is which. At some point, next year or maybe even later, I'll move them out to other areas of the garden.
I feel like a daylily loving gardening geek now, but realize I’ve barely scratched the surface of what’s available. With 25 or so types of daylilies in my garden, I have approximately .04% of all the named daylilies in the AHS database. That’s not many, but let’s humor me and call it “a good start”.
Soules Garden is hosting their annual daylily open house this weekend, July 11-12. Stop in if you are in the area and stand in those fields and see if you can pick out just one or two daylilies for your garden!