- Daylilies that multiply too fast. Sounds crazy, right? Truth is, I get tired of dividing the same plant every year or so, and then trying to re-home the discards. (Why can't I just throw them in the ditch?) At one point in time, I'm pretty sure every friend I've ever had received a division of 'Mary Todd.'
- Blooms that have poor substance and slick-off in the sun (wet, slimy blooms). In my 100% sun yard that calls for instant removal.
- Scapes that droop and/or fall over. I refuse to prop up any plant in my garden. Away you go!
- Daylily bloom petals that canoe (when the flower petals turn inwards) Ick!
- A cultivar that puts out exceptionally beautiful blooms alongside of inconsistent blooms. Why put up with that? There are thousands and thousands of daylilies available that always have consistent, beautiful blooms; those are the ones I keep.
- Some daylilies have roots that are so densely woven together and tangled up that I have had to resort to a small saw to get divisions! It must be genetics, because most daylily roots are not saw-worthy.
- Daylilies that periodically send out traveling roots to new fans that are far away from the mother plant. Then Picky-Me has to dig out the traveling fan to keep the plant contained in its allotted garden space.
- Plants that bloom inside of their foliage instead of above the foliage.
- Ratty foliage. Enough said.
- Daylilies that exhibit scape blasting. I've had some cultivars that routinely did this every year. I've said goodbye to all of them but one, and that daylily (Virginia B. Hanson) is so perfect in all other aspects that she gets a pass.
As much as I love my daylilies, Picky-Patty-Me harbors a few pet peeves. Here are my top ten:
Here are some of my experiences that make up the ever-present irony of daily life. Do any sound familiar?
I'm often glad I live out in the country, because I'd be the first to admit that I can get very distracted while outside gardening. I sometimes find myself just sitting still with my eyes closed so I can hear the birds, feel the wind in my hair, or enjoy the warm sun on my face. If I had close neighbors they'd probably wonder what I was doing.
Weeding, after all, is not the most rewarding garden activity. I can easily be distracted from weeding -- fill that bunny hole, stomp down that mole tunnel, remove the Japanese beetles from my plants, or run to get my camera or phone to capture that perfect photo I can visualize. Some days (or should I say most days) weeding can take way longer than expected.
But I don't think that's a bad thing; it's all part of what we enjoy about the garden experience. And on a positive note...it's great for your well-being.
Pictured: Daylily 'Grey Witch'
If you talk, sing, or play music to your plants, will they respond? Does it help them grow?
I read an interesting article "The Intelligent Plant" written by Michael Pollan and published in The New Yorker. According to the article, plants have the ability to sense and react to the world. For instance, when plants were played a recording of a caterpillar chewing on a leaf, they reacted by secreting a defensive chemical, just as though they were threatened. Pollan also states that plants can sense gravity, the presence of water, and can adjust/shift the direction of growing roots when it senses there is an obstruction (a rock, perhaps).
The Discovery Channel’s Mythbusters explored the possibility that plants respond to sound and/or speech. They set up seven greenhouses, four of which were equipped with stereos playing looped recordings. Two were of negative speech, while two were of positive speech. The fifth greenhouse had classical music playing, while the sixth had heavy death metal. A seventh greenhouse, set up as the control, had no music. The team found that the plants in the four greenhouses with recordings grew faster than the control plants with no music, but the plants in the greenhouses with music grew even faster than the negative and positive speech. Surprisingly, the plants in the greenhouse exposed to heavy death metal music grew the best of all!
Bottom line: Talk and sing to your plants; complain, yell, and scream...just don't give them the silent treatment.
New Yorker article "The Intelligent Plant"
Discovery Mythbusters (Episode #23 aired November 15, 2004)
Pictured: Daylily 'Black Falcon Ritual'
Recently I passed by a home that had a ginormous resin cow in the front yard. The homeowner had tied a chain around the cow and wrapped the chain around a tree trunk with a padlock. Cows are big here in Wisconsin! This is yard art at its best!
You've all seen yard whimsy gone wild, yes? It's that yard that has one too many flamingos and somehow crosses the invisible line between tasteful and tacky. It stops you in your tracks to gape at in disbelief. Thoughts I ponder when I see yard whimsy gone wild:
Garden slip-ups are, without a doubt, one of the easiest topics for me to write about since I have single-handedly made just about every blunder that a gardener possibly could. As I've mentioned in earlier blogs, I did not grow up in a gardening family; my love of perennials came unexpectedly out of left field. Without a mentor I learned to garden by the trial-and-error method. Some of my gardening ideas worked (luck), but many others were an epic fail. It was then that I borrowed books from the library. The gardening books helped me achieve a much better outcome. And why is it that we never read instructions until we screw up or can't figure something out? Human nature, I guess.
Here are a few of the things I've learned (the hard way):
Grateful living is happy living. Every year at this time I like to take time to reflect on things that made me smile or feel grateful over the past year. Here's my list:
Pictured above: Minneapolis sophisti-cat 'Sophie,' a shelter rescue who now lives the life of a princess
The human eye can distinguish between millions of different colors. Regardless of whether you are familiar with color theory or color wheels, most gardeners just know or feel when certain color combinations work together and other combinations don't. And much of that 'know-or-feel' has to do with personal preference. Some gardeners love the monochromatic look (all white flowers, for instance), while others may just plant pastels, or perhaps vibrant oranges, yellows and reds. Any of these looks can be very appealing. Your garden visitors may think it was pure luck that the colors, sizes and shapes all go together and look great. I'll admit there are moments of serendipity when perfectness just happens, but most of us gardeners work very hard to have our plants play nicely together.
Every summer I run around the garden picking blooms and comparing them with other blooms, trying to determine which color combos go together best. This is why I juggle plants around every fall; I keep trying to make what I think looks good, better. For this reason I keep detailed information about every plant that I grow, including each plant's size, bloom time (start-to-finish), bloom size, and color. So in addition to my personal preferences, I use data to help me make decisions. And herein lies the challenge...even when you have all of this information at your disposal, Mother Nature provides variances. You can make an educated guess about what you think should happen, but ultimately she holds the reins! That being said, Mother Nature never stops me from continually trying to get it right.
Pictured: Daylily 'Spacecoast Cherries and Cream' with its companion 'Echinacea Double Delight'
After a long winter, which continued through the month of April, gardening in Wisconsin proves to be an exercise in delayed gratification. And there's nothing whatsoever I can do -- Mother Nature has the reins. My job is to move the plants around, get rid of the weeds, add mulch, and wait. Looking around the garden, I see lots and lots of scapes, but hardly any flowers yet. Is it really the end of June? The *wait* part is getting harder and harder by the day. So it looks like delayed gratification isn't my only issue; add whining to the list!
Pictured is my old faithful 'Moonlit Masquerade,' one of only four daylilies blooming in my yard on June 24.
The great thing about growing daylilies is that no matter what your income level is, you can find one to fit your budget. There are so many exceptional daylilies available that you can purchase for $10 and under. And on the other end of the spectrum, there are trend-setting daylilies you can buy for up to $300. After a daylily has been out on the open market for a while, the purchase price gradually decreases over time as new cultivars are introduced each year.
When I was first bitten by the daylily bug my kiddos were in elementary school. At that time I remember feeling guilty that I spent more money than I should have on a daylily. Should I have bought school clothes instead? I ultimately decided that the new daylily made me a happier Mom. How's that for rationalization?
Although I'm still not in a place to afford triple-digit daylily prices, that doesn't dampen my enthusiasm by any means. I just have to wait a little longer to get what's on my wish list. As it stands right now, I am perfectly happy getting the seven and eight-year-old daylilies. As each year passes, hybridizers come up with more and more innovative, cutting-edge daylilies. Consequently, there is always yet another daylily that I must have -- it's a never-ending cycle.
Pictured: Daylily 'Signs and Wonders.' At the time I bought this pretty, it was my biggest splurge to date. Sorry? Not really.
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