Home of the Practically Perfect Pink Phlox and other native plants for pollinators

Monday, June 7, 2010

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

My First Love

Long time readers may recall that daylilies were my first ever flower love. They came into my life after reading A Southern Garden by Elizabeth Lawrence the summer of 1986. She spoke so glowingly of their ease of care that I knew I would love them. Our son was starting kindergarten that fall and as a part time therapist I could finally devote more time to gardening. I subscribed to several garden magazines and read everything in them, including the ads! (It's amazing what you can learn from ads in a garden magazine!) One day a small brochure arrived from a daylily nursery in Missouri. It totally captured my attention. I remember pouring over the brochure, reading descriptions, imagining what the plants would look like in the garden, picking this one, discarding it for another and finally arriving at my choices. In order to get the 50% off discount you had to order over $100~My 37 daylilies added up to that exactly. It was a rainbow of early, mid and late blooming plants. It never dawned on me to buy multiples of any particular daylily~I wanted as many as I could afford! I did happen to discover Hyperion and Kindly Light (below June 6) and they have remained favorites for all these years. Go here for the original story A Fable: The Gardener and The Daylilies

Kindly Light a spider type(all photos enlarge)

Doesn't the eye radiate?

A whole new world opened up to me ~catalog shopping! There were hundreds of daylilies to choose among and new words entered my vocabulary. Words like diamond dusted, branching, eye color, throats and halo. I learned to use them in sentences with other daylily aficionados when I joined the Middle Tennessee Daylily Society. It was my first garden club and I loved it! What a wonderful group of gardeners~I've never had so much fun or laughed so hard about hybridizing or trialing plants! I was about 2o years younger then anyone else, but we had a blast! For a complete hemerocallis dictionary go here.

Last week

When we decided to add a front porch to the house the perennials, grasses and all the daylilies were moved to a new bed in the sunniest spot in the front yard. That's where they are now. I dearly love those daylilies and added more Hyperion and Kindly light, a few reds and one or two pinks here and there. Most have survived and it's crowded out there ~

June 2009 cacophony of color

Right now, it's beginning to look like clown pants. Imagine please~Tennessee Coneflowers, Sundrops, Showing Evening Primrose, pink and rosy salvias, rose lychnis coronaria , Verbena bonariensis and Shasta Daisy and the annuals~pink cosmos, rose zinnias, all look smashing together and then along come my beautiful daylilies with their clashing reds, out of place brown eyed buffs and demanding peach/apricot/golden glowing colors. It's a cacophony of color! Truthfully, I can live with clown pants! But, with the addition of more liatris varieties, veronicastrums, Joe Pye Weed and a marvelous variegated panicum~it's pretty crowded. I look longingly at the garden and imagine the spaces that would open up~IF~ I moved the daylilies. Even, though I love the big, beautiful flowers that bloom in June~they take up a lot of valuable sunny real estate that wildflowers would love to have. Daylilies are my first loves, but, not my last.

Ruellia strepens native to garden

I fell head over heels in love with the wildflowers that I found growing on the property~
They thrive in the shallow clay soil that's wet all winter and dry as concrete in summers.
They provide nectar and pollen for bees and butterflies, leafy greens for larvae and seeds for birds. Wildflowers make my heart smile. They are my soul mate flowers. Annuals and friendly exotics have a place here, but wildflowers will always come first.
Penstemon X native to garden

There's limited sunny spots at C&L for plants that need full sun....Especially ones that have strappy green leaves most of the season with only a few weeks of bloom! No matter how beautiful the bloom!

So this summer may be the last summer of the daylilies!

June 2009

NO! Not Banishment! They will always be my first love~ This is the last summer for them to be in the Susan's Bed! They'll be moving to another spot in the garden~

I'm just not sure where or when and I haven't broken the news to them!
Breaking up is sure hard to do!

I must admit that the many variations on an
orange/peach/pink/melon/apricot theme still make me smile!

Hoping you all had a marvelous weekend filled with gardening and easy times with your plants!


June 6, 2010


  1. Gail,
    I had a lot of day lilies at my last placve. Moved a lot of them here and now most are in bad locations as the butterfly attactors get the best spot these days. Really enjoyed your writing about this subject!

    Hey we had our 80th butterfly species here the Zebra Swallowtail, likely no other new ones can show up here :( what to do now?

  2. Daylilies are so lovely and so easy to grow - they are kind of must in the garden. Then breaking up comes to many plants as we move forward and clear the idea what kind of plants we really want in our garden :)

  3. Ack! You are scaring me with that talk of daylilies moving out of the good stuff in favor of wildflowers, Gail! I agree about the strappy leaves, but those flowers, the array of colors, the sentiment involved. I know you don't have that many choice and sunny spots. How about along the street, on the other side of Mr. Hedge? Daylilies greeting the passersby with all the room in the world, who cares if they take up that space? Just a suggestion. :-)
    ps. forgot to say, lovely story and photos! xxxooo

  4. Frances, I totally agree~and that's why I haven't moved them! Hedge is really occupying the sunniest spot ever! Once we clean him up there might be delicious room for them~But I will not make any moves before having the best ever spot for my lovelies!

  5. For a second I thought they were being ousted completely! A move is a better option! Of course when you move them is a great time to divide them too.

  6. Beautiful daylilies! I hope they like their new home!

  7. Monica, LOL! Cats and tomatoes are great companions! gail

  8. This could be my story -from discovering Lawrence to the Gilbert Wild's catalog. Like you, our daylilies have been moved over the years again and again because of lack of sunlight. :(

  9. That's a tough one, isn't it? Do they work in pots? I could imagine a few pots of them on a front door step. Or maybe a few pots arranged on both sides of a bench... Truthfully, I know nothing about daylillies. Same problem, I have mostly shade, so the sun goes for other things...

  10. Until I started blogging and saw all those daylilies on my US friends' blogs I had no daylilies in my garden. I have some now & like them but they do take up a lot of space.

    Was relieved to read that it will not be an acrimonious divorce between you & yr Daylilies, just a move to a new bed.



  11. They'll look lovely no matter where you put them. I'm with you and simply love Hyperion. Such a performer and smells good to beat the band. Can't wait to see how you clean up the forsythia hedge and fit them all in. That will a traffic stopper for sure.

  12. A "cacophony of color" is precisely what makes a garden a garden, to me. :) I crave colour, and your lilies are spectacular. My favourite photos are always the ones where one colour spills over into another, creating this wonderful "warp and woof" of blooms. Have I told you already...I love your gardens?! ;-)

  13. I think that this is a slight bump in your relationship - I'm no professional, but I noted a few insults (clown pants indeed), your writing how there might be something better out there, telling us how in the past you got along so well, and now you are somehow just settling. I too had decided I was too good for my Hemerocallis and so I ripped them up and redistributed them. I gave them plants to live next to that echo their pretty colours. I say get out that shovel, move'em around and learn to love'em all over again.

  14. Barbara, Yes, some real relationship rehab is needed! gail

  15. Hi Gail,

    I always fall in love with a new plant every few years or so and I have to figure out what will have to go. I do like plants that flower over a long length of time, although I do have a few favorites that only flower a couple of months a year :-) I do love the combination of the orange daylilies and the purple coneflowers.

  16. Gail....I fully understand. Native wildflowers are my first love. Like you, they are my soul mates......

    The day lillies are very beautiful and I am sure you will find just the right spot for them.

    The red data list means a plant is endangered, threatened or vulnerable......

    Enjoy your lovely garden Gail

  17. Your photos are lovely!!!

    My heart almost stopped when I thought you were going to say you were getting rid of them:) Some of your photos look familiar, I think I have a few of the same. I got one of those assortments from Wild in Missouri a long, long time ago. I add a few new ones every year but still have those old faithfuls.

  18. Gail an amusing story with hopefully a happy ending. i look forward to seeing your Daylillies in their new home and I am sure the Susan's bed will be better just for the Susans

  19. Fancy having penstemons growing as a native plant - how lovely! I have a smaller version of your problem with oriental poppies. Not everything grows up here but poppies do and I have loads. They are spectacular in flower but have a long time of just taking up space. What to do? I am still thinking about it and probably will for a year or two yet.
    Your day lilies are gorgeous though!

  20. You have some gorgeous lilies !
    Think I fancy the purpleish ones the most.
    Hope you find a happy sunny spot for them.

  21. Phew, that was a close one, I thought at first it was us, that you were going to break up with.

    I love daylillies also, in fact my very first container plant was Stella 'doro.

    And I still have some of it out in the garden. They do take up a lot of room for a plant that only blooms for a short while.

    But then if you saw how many Rhododendrons, and Azaleas there are around here, especially when they look like soggy kleenex after the rain....
    well, you might choose daylillies.

    Good luck with them, they are all stunning.


  22. Our daylilies are beginning to bloom too. I love them. You might be surprised at how well they do in the shade. You might try them there.

  23. Oh no, I thought you meant completely. Wheeew, glad it was only to move to a new home.
    Some of mine {that was here when we bought} will move to a new bed {if I ever get it finished}. I have acquired a few more since as they are variably care free. Double Talk & another new one will grace me with blooms this yr.

  24. Oh Gail, Hyperion was the first daylily I planted, long ago in another house before I was really interested in gardening - such a pure sweet yellow! I'm sure wherever you move your impressive collection, they'll be lovely:)

  25. Don't put the clown pants in storage, keep where you can put them on when needed. The world needs more clown pants.

  26. I understand, really I do!

    At the house that I had for 20+ years, I had a collection of daylilies. Hyperion is a favorite. Here, I'm so limited on space inside the fence that I just have a few ordinary, but reblooming varieties.

  27. Gail, You really had me going there for a few minutes; I thought you were going to get rid of all your daylilies! Daylilies are the lynch pin of the high summer display in my garden, and I have more varieties of them than of any other plant. For several years, I had a daylily hybridizer 15 miles away who had "dig your own" sales ($5 a plant!!) each weekend. I used to find it impossible to drive by the place on the weekend (and it was amazing how often I just had to go that way) without stopping to buy just one or two (or five or ten) plants. -Jean

  28. What memories this post brought back. Daylilies were also my first love; the daylily society was the first I joined and daylilies were the first plants I ordered from catalogs. In the days before computers, I used to make charts with all my faves cross-referenced to see which nursery had the best price and who carried which varieties. My daylilies are now in my curbside slope; not prime real estate but, like you, I must have them somewehere

  29. Overcrowding in our gardens is so hard at times and something must give in most cases... Your daylilies are so lovely there but I am sure you will find the right spots to relocate those vibrant blooms. I love clown pants in a garden! So cheerful!!! Happy moving later on Gail. Your garden looks gorgeous. ;>)

  30. Aw, sniff, and may they be happy in their new home. My huge display of daylilies is just beginning, Gail, and should bloom through August. I too love these beauties ... and wish yours well.

  31. This post really hit home for me. I just posted about the orange lilies that were here when I moved in. I have learned to get along with this bold color and have, many times, thought of moving them. I look forward to seeing what you do with your daylilies.

  32. Your photos look so wonderful. It's always such a difficult decision to move things in the garden, isn't it? In my case, the idea ferments for a bit (well, years) and then suddenly the time is right to go ahead. It sounds as if you're at the fermenting stage, Gail! Love, Victoria xx

  33. This is a great story Gail. I think we can all relate. When I first started gardening, I liked completely different plants as well. The difference is that I've moved a lot so I get the opportunity to start over without all the, digging, moving & rearranging. It makes complete sense to me that you would move them. You and wildflowers belong together. :-)
    ps If only I'd had the Internet when my daughter was a baby ~ I could have done a lot of plant buying!!

  34. So beautiful, and the colors! I can see why they are your first love. Do you have problems with deer? My garden is right at the edge of the woods, and I often wake to find my lilies headless, just as the start to bloom.

    PS- I love wildflowers, too.

  35. Your story sounds all too familiar to me. You're making the right decision for all concerned. I am surprised that you're not just getting rid of them completely. I'm moving toward that point.

  36. I'd cry if I had to get rid of my daylilies. I'm glad you have somewhere else to put them. Most of us have to edit to fit our favorites on limited land, don't we. Isn't it wonderful that there are so many beautiful plants out there that it's hard to choose which to grow?

  37. Hi Gail,
    Down here everything sold as daylilies just says "daylilies" on it... no names or cultivars. Yours are very pretty and they look nice with all your other colorful sunlovers. But I totally understand your dilemma as sunny spots are premium around here, too.
    But then again I am WAY into foliage so leafy green plants that only bloom once a year is good by me.

    I know you'll find a good home for them and they will stay happy.


  38. Gardenpath, The deer occasionally show up...they will be here this fall since there's a bumper crop of acorns coming on! gail

  39. Hi Gail, I understand that thrill of discovering a new genus of stunning plants. Love your daylily photos.

  40. I also have some daylilies - not just daylilies but the ultra common ones, Stella d'oro, that ar nowhere as pretty as yours, taking up a huge huge space in my front bed. I think you have given me permission to banish them. Thanks, I needed that!

  41. Clown pants! I'll have to remember that apt description next time I'm trying to describe my approach to color in my flower beds. LOL

  42. Oh Gail, you scared me. Breaking up with daylilies? Never, but I do get rid of many which don't perform at RDR. Loved your photos. I have 'Hyperion' but my 'Kindly Light' wasn't. :0 Can't wait to see you.~~Dee


"Insects are the little things that run the world." Dr. E O Wilson