Tag Archive | Daylily

Daylilies are not Ordinary!!

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‘Peach Pie’ from my garden this past summer

Surely no one has missed seeing the ubiquitous Stella D’Oro daylilies that adorn every bank, shopping mall, and school in suburbia. As a result, there is a tendency to scorn daylilies when pulling together your garden — but that would be a huge mistake! [Note: even Stellas deserve your respect for their continuing bloom throughout summer.] There are thousands of varieties of daylilies and they rank among the easiest perennials to grow. With the myriad of colors, your garden can be a rainbow of color from early spring into the fall.

For my own purposes, I classify daylilies as ‘spiders’, ‘ruffles’, or ‘bells’. Stellas fall into the ‘bell’ category with their classically shaped flowers. I have a whole bed of lilies that would fall into the ‘spider’ category in shades of mauve, peach, lemon yellow, and orange. The ‘Peach Pie’ shown in the photo above would fall into the ‘ruffles’ category and I can’t wait for it to flower every year. The petals are so delicate and the flowers so beautiful!

I’m on the lookout for something equally striking and have discovered some unique varieties that I hope you’ll also enjoy:

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‘Star Bright’ from Water Mill Gardens

‘Star Bright’ is definitely a ‘spider’ daylily, and how lovely are those curling, curved back petals?! This one has 8-inch blooms: apricot flowers with violet and red eye zone and pale green throat. I was pretty excited to learn that it’s cold-hardy in USDA Zones 4 to 9 (I’m at 5). This one blooms early to mid-season, is 32 to 40 inches tall, and 24 to 36 inches wide. I would definitely find a spot for this beauty in my garden!

I’m a sucker for the pale pastels: peach, cream, and pale yellow. With that in mind, then, is it any wonder that I have my eye on a ‘ruffles’ cultivar that would look beautiful tucked next to some fuchsia bee balm. ‘Marque Moon’ has creamy white flowers with yellow throat and edges in the summer. On a sunny day, the petals glisten.

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Marque Moon

Some daylilies have a glitter quality on their petals. When the sparkles are white, it’s referred to as ‘diamond dusted’. With yellow-flowered cultivars, it’s more gold-colored so those are said to be ‘gold dusted’. The glitter and the sweet fragrance beg for a spot near the front of your garden. This one blooms mid- to late season, and is 20 to 24 inches tall, 18 to 24 inches wide. Cold hardy in USDA zones 3 to 9.

As hosta lovers will tell you, the variations in foliage can sometimes make all the difference in a garden. With that in mind, then, look at the variegated foliate on the ‘Golden Zebra’ daylily. The wider-than-

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‘Golden Zebra’ by Monrovia

usual leaves are long and arching, and the variegation is stable, so it won’t revert back to all-green leaves. They start the season green with creamy white margins that turn yellow later on.

This one is compact (15 to 24 inches tall and wide), which makes it perfect for the front of a border, where it will bloom midseason.

This winter, as you gaze at the catalogs that start arriving around Christmas, and you can’t wait to get your planning started, I hope you’ll consider a spot in your garden for one of the many daylily cultivars that will add beauty (and almost no work) to your landscape.

 

 

 

 

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Yes, you can eat your flowers…

if you plant the right ones! Edible flowers add such a unique elegance to your table! 570A0E6A-14D8-006C-41E6-A482834206B4-4797Many fruits, vegetables, and herbs have edible flowers, performing double duty in the garden. Not only do they add beauty and bounty, but also flavor and whimsy to the table.

It’s surprisingly easy to grow edible flowers in your home garden, but there are a few simple things to keep in mind.

  • First, make sure you know what you’re tasting. Check a reliable source for proper identification and to ensure the flowers are fit to eat or use as a garnish. For instance, check this article by the University of Minnesota extension.
  • Make sure that children understand that they must never sample a flower or berry they don’t know without checking with a knowledgeable adult first.
  • Some flowers may simply taste unpleasant, but others may contain chemical substances that are actually toxic to ingest. For example, foxglove is a striking flower but it contains a compound used to make the drug digitalis, a heart medication. Eating the flowers can have an adverse effect on the heart. Exquisitely scented lily-of-the-valley flowers are quite toxic if ingested, as are the berries.
  • Don’t assume that because the fruit from a plant is edible, the flower is also edible. Bean and pea flowers are perfectly edible but eggplant, tomato, potato, and pepper flowers are toxic.
  • It’s important never to use pesticides on plants from which you will harvest flowers. Even if you use a particular type of pesticide on your vegetables, don’t assume that it’s okay to use it on the flowers. Usually, a strong spray of water will rid you of the insect problems. If it doesn’t, just don’t eat those flowers.
  • Finally, don’t use flowers from a florist unless they were specifically grown for eating. You can never be sure that they don’t have preservatives or insecticides on them.

Most edible flowers simply need well-drained soil, usually full sun and plenty of water. You can grow edible flowers in garden beds with other plants, in raised beds, single containers, and even hanging baskets. Consider using herbs for their flowers in other places than an herb garden.

To capture best flavor, harvest edible flowers early in the morning just after they’ve opened. Rinse the flowers in cool water and pull out the stamens, which are often bitter. Store them between paper towels in a plastic container in the refrigerator until ready to use in your gourmet meals!

A Few Suggestions

Calendula (Calendula officinalis) – Very mild flavor; tastes like it smells; sprinkle bright yellow and orange petals on endive salad.

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Beautiful and tasty Nasturtiums

 

Nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus) – Flowers and leaves have peppery flavor, a nice contrast to a vinaigrette-dressed salad or a chicken salad sandwich; garnish cheesecake with fresh raspberries, mint leaves and bright red and yellow nasturtiums

Marigold (Tagetes spp.) – Flavor is overwhelmingly pungent; signet marigolds have a citrus-like flavor; nice in a glass of iced tea; the bright colors complement pastas.

Violets, pansies and Johnny-jump-ups (Viola spp.) – Add an old-fashioned, whimsical note to salads and vegetable dishes; freeze Johnny-jump-ups into ice cubes for punch; candied violets are a beautiful decoration on a white frosted cake. Add a deep blue violet to a glass of sparkling water.

Rose (Rosa spp.) – Some roses are more flavorful than others; petals add a soft, romantic flavor to honey for glazing chicken; red rose petals make soft pink vinegar for a floral salad; rose sorbet; scent the sugar bowl for use in tea.

Daylily (Hemerocallis spp.) and squash (Curcubita spp.) – Dip the blossoms in batter and fry; stuff with crabmeat or chicken salad; float a zucchini squash blossom in a bowl of cucumber; use as a dipping bowl for cream cheese dip.

The SKIRTS do Saturday

Most women have a group of girls with whom they do things that their spouse or significant other have little or no interest in. One warm Saturday was one of those outings for the SKIRTS. Solaris Farms in Reedsville to view and buy daylilies was the destination. Talk about eye candy!

The farm is a family homestead. Nate enjoys experimenting to make a hardy daylily that can withstand Wisconsin’s winters. The family is hands-on in this business. We saw Nate out sharpening shovels and digging up plants when a customer wanted to take some home. The two children are now in college but have helped when times are busy. Kim also can be seen advising customers.

We walked through the gardens that were for display and growing hybrids for future sale. I loved the bench perched atop a hill overlooking a field of daylilies. Some of the old farm buildings are used in the business and serve as a great rustic backdrop to the gardens.Winey bird

When we made it to the shopping area, we took our clipboards in hand and perused the rows. It was daylily heaven. There were ruffled ones, sparkly ones, tiny ones and long spidery ones. big oleSix petalWe laughed at the names; Pearls before Swine, Beyond Thunder Dome and House of Misrepresentatives just to name a few. The highest priced flower had a three digit figure. We smiled and kept walking.

I was standing firm that I had enough plants. I refused a clipboard that not only carried a sheet for making a list but descriptions in detail of each plant. By the time I got to the second half of the gardens, I had to return for a clipboard. Then our plants were plucked from the earth, labeled and gently bagged for their journey home.

On the drive home we came upon a plant sale at a farm house. These were home grown at that property and very healthy. As we were looking around, the owner said everything was half-price making the most expensive item $2.50. Now I lost it! Sixteen dollars later, I totally broke resolve. Just when I thought I could sit back and enjoy the garden, I have more digging and rearranging.

Written by Kim