Monday, June 2, 2008
A Fable: The Gardener and The Daylilies
Tucked in the back of one of my favorite garden book were three pages ripped from my first and only garden journal...coincidentally, they were the only pages I ever wrote. They were also, as it turns out, three very important pages. The first sentence in the journal reads:
"Day Lily planning is hard, but they arrived and I planted them all."
It was Earth Day and I planted 37 bare root Daylilies. They had arrived a day earlier in two big boxes. You could tell they had just been dug...they looked healthy and a little dirt was still clinging to the roots. They had huge fans.
Following the instructions of Gilbert Wild and Sons I soaked them.
Daylily planning is hard, but they arrived and I planted them all. I wish you were here with me now, I am laughing my head off remembering that day and what I wrote. It was 18 years ago...I had never ordered bare rooted anything and was completely shocked by the magnitude of my task.
What was I thinking when I ordered them? I had an 8 year old son, a husband who traveled and a private practice. What was I thinking?
I was younger and had more energy. But really, I fell in love with the Daylilies after reading their description in the sales brochure. More importantly, I wanted to garden. But, I wanted to garden on a bigger scale then I had been able to (busy life). It was a bonus that they were on sale! It was a great sale.
Daylily planning is hard, but they arrived and I planted them all. With 37 bare rooted plants you have to plant... So I sat down, drew out a plan, based on color, bloom time, height of scapes...and the next day...while the plants were soaking, I dug a garden bed and then I planted them.
They grew in spite of my lack of preparation and my rather haphazard plan. I think I went outside everyday to check on them. The scapes began to develop almost overnight. The first to flower was Beckoning Beauty. I wrote the date next to her name in my journal!
Beckoning Beauty~ May 23, '90.
This is Whimsical? Or Mystery Valley! One of them, I'm pretty sure! But not Beckoning Beauty.
Which brings me to why those 3 pages are the most important pages. They contain the original planting plan and a complete list of the 37 Daylilies I planted April 23, 1990. Every one of those 37 bare rooted daylilies...bloomed the summer of 1990. They bloomed beautifully for years...the garden matured, the trees grew denser and the bed got shadier. They didn't bloom as vigorously and eventually, some didn't bloom at all. I could identify a few beloved varieties, but I couldn't find the master plan to identify the others....The master plan was a drawing of the original bed and where each named variety of daylily was planted. The three important pages ripped from my garden journal.
We decided to build the porch and dug up the Coneflowers, the Ox-Eye Daisies and all the other perennials that had come to live in the daylily bed. I'm just not sure all 37 survived the trauma of a summer and fall in a kiddie pool where they waited while the porch was being built. I do know that in the chaos of garden destruction and the excitement of remodeling that the daylilies were no longer identifiable by me. They were at this point just green leaves.
But all is not lost. They are happy in their new home in full sun. They have plumped up and bloomed. Now, with list in hand and photographs, good digital photographs, I can search the internet and identify some, if not all of the survivors of my lack of planning.
Daylilies are incredible plants...my first loves. (Wildflowers are my soul mates.) Don't you agree that these work horses, the survivors of my neglect, deserve others knowing their names? I want to know their names. I want to be able to say...that beautiful white daylily with the hint of melon in her throat is
Ice Carnival. Isn't she a beauty! This photo is from the White Flower Farm website. She is in my garden waiting to bloom this summer....I found her name on the list that was tucked in the back of EL's book, The Little Bulbs.
I have great hopes that most will have a name tag before long!
Some of the Daylilies are well known to me!
The yellow daylily is Kindly Light, an old soul of a daylily... described in the literature as a classic spider. Still loved by the public, almost half a century after it was introduced.
I love it, too. I can't help it I am a sucker for simple. This Daylily is simply beautiful to me. It's my first love and you all know, we never seem to get over them!
I almost forgot. All fables have morals or lessons: Nothing bothers a gardener more than to see she has aided her own undoing;-)