My interest in daylilies or hemerocallis started from the knowledge that they were among the few perennials that would grow well under the large trees on my property and from reports that they were easy to grow anywhere and were free from pests.
They certainly proved easy to grow, though the report that they were completely free front pests turned out to be a slight exaggeration.
Nevertheless, they do fill a void in the perennial garden toward the end of June and during July and August.
Although they bloom at the same time as tulips, tree peonies, herbaceous peonies, iris, delphiniums, roses, and chrysanthemums, I do not believe they are in any way a substitute for any of these flowers, and I have no quarrel with anyone who prefers any of these others to daylilies.
I do believe, however, that there is a place in every garden for the modern daylily-especially if one will take the time and trouble to see the newer introductions.
These range in color from light cream to deepest yellow-orange, from pastel pink and rose to deep reds and purple, and now the hybridizers have produced a lovely violet.
The Many Pioneers
A few years ago, there were only a few people interested in hybridizing the daylily.
Among the pioneers was George Yeld, who made the first cross, Amnon, in about 1891. Willy Muller, Amos Perry, Carl Betseher, Theodore Mead, Bertrand H. Fan., Dr. A. B. Stout, Hans Peter Sass, and Paul Howard Cook also were pioneers who saw possibilities in it and introduced some very fine things.
Although reds and other colors were being worked out very definitely by the hybridizers, using the variety Cissy Giuseppe, the tremendous stimulus was added to the hybridizers’ interest in 1929 when the New York Botanical Garden obtained pink as well as good red-flowered plants of Hemerocallis fulva from Dr. Albert N. Steward of China.
The pink flowers form Dr. Stout are called H. fulva var. roses. One of these seedlings has been propagated as a horticultural variety and named Rosalind.
Beginning in the early 1930s, more and more people became interested in hybridizing and since then some marvelous types of flowers have been made available to the public by a host of individuals.
This group is increasing day by day until it is almost impossible to keep up with them. At present, there is hardly an iris catalog that does not contain a list of modern daylilies.
The hybridizers’ present objectives cover every aspect of the plants and flowers:
- New sizes and shapes of flowers
- New color combinations
- Double flowers in various colors
- Larger numbers of flowers
- Better lasting qualities
- Additional night-blooming varieties
- Blooms that are proportionate to the plants
Rapes that are erect, flowers with fragrance, good branching, variegated foliage, flowers that will withstand wilt and not curl or bleach in the hot sun or during a drought, plants that will multiply rapidly, and plants that are resistant to cold and disease.
A few years ago there were only four or five hundred named varieties of day-lilies.
Now there are over three thousand, and some hybridizers raise as many as a hundred thousand plants a year.
It is to be hoped, therefore, that the hybridizers will seriously strive to limit their introductions to plants that are distinct from and superior to existing varieties.
Evergreen Daylily Reports From The South
From reports received from the South, and especially from Florida, it would appear that the evergreen type of daylily does much better there than the type that is not evergreen.
Some of these daylilies and their offspring, especially Aurantiaca, have not been hardy, however, and some experts believe that evergreen daylilies are not as satisfactory as deciduous ones in the North.
But to me, it is inconceivable that a daylily with hardy blood that is merely propagated in the South and then sent north should not be hardy.
The selections of varieties are based on my observations. Hybridizers are making progress in the various color classes by leaps and bounds, but, in my opinion, any daylily in my list of “favorites irrespective of price” will be considered a good flower for a long time to come.
Yellow spoon chrysanthemums and orange pompom dahlias, in combination with mahogany-colored croton leaves, are typically autumn and make a long-lasting corsage.
Flowers are wired separately and each mum is wired to one or more croton leaves and these are made into a base into which the dahlias are placed to finish the design.