Jun 11, 2010

Daylilies: here today, gone tomorrow

We created the bed alongside the driveway 8 years ago by my guess-timation.  The guys laid the landscape timbers to my specifications, we added leaves and compost that fall, and I covered the mess with plastic for a little natural radiation treatment on the bermudagrass.

The following spring, we removed the plastic, and I introduced about 150 daffodils bulbs.    I then drove to a private residence  on the north side of Knoxville and helped myself to daylilies from the friend who lived there.  I distinctly remember planting them because that was the year I broke my great toe on my left foot.  I sat on the ground, squatted on an upturned bucket and contorted my body to baby that toe as I dug hole after hole for the clumps to fit in.  The friend has since relocated to the Houston area, but her daylily divisions remain part of my landscaping - the daffodil/daylily combinaton is something I saw touted in Southern Living many years ago.  Over the years, I've divided and shuffled my own daylily clumps, trying to get a better blend of colors and blooming times down through this very long bed (the driveway stretches about 70 feet through here before widening in the turnaround area adjacent to the garage bays.)  I've also added a few dozen varieties, thanks to plant sales and eBay.

The introduction of a sprinkler system last year has helped the plants in this bed tremendously.  The bed is located under a couple (beautiful) sugar maples that suck the nutrients and moisture from the soil every chance they get.  My efforts at keeping the bed watered with a hose have always been hit-or-miss, so now they're responding well to the more regular waterings thanks to a timer and pop-up head sprayers.  The daffodils are probably saying a silent prayer as they recover from their late winter/early spring display.  That's okay - they can thank me by showing off next spring.

For the next few weeks, the daylilies will be on parade, with one after another blooming until they're all spent.  The purple ruellia I dug up out of the cow pasture behind us has finally settled in and filled in some of the blank spots, so it will provide some color after the daylilies are gone.  If I had room, I'd introduce some crocosmia to the bed, just to keep the color going into early fall but I think this bed is near capacity.  And in case you think I can't mix colors, check this out.

Put on your sunglasses for indeed, it is a combination of bright yellow (I love the spider-y dayliliies) a vivid cherry pink, right in the middle of pale pink, lavender with a splash of red and orange thrown in for good measure.  Subtle and demure are not my strong suit - at least when it comes to flower colors.  What can I say? I live in a state that thinks orange looks good on all skin tones!