Sunday, April 26, 2009

Adventures in Daylilies!

A miscellaneous late-night search for "daylilies toronto" found a guy practically right around the corner from here who sells daylilies, mostly mail-order, from three locations in the GTA.

His operation is called Arcadian Daylilies, and it seems to be run in the most wonderful, professional manner.
Most of the daylilies are in 2 gallon containers. He's developed a special technique for overwintering them in containers, which is apparently not easy to do, as they don't deal well with repeated freeze/thaw cycles. Some are in the ground, and some, mostly leftovers, missing-label and discontinued plants, are in 1-gallon containers, which he sells off for an amazing $5.

When I heard 1-gallon, I wasn't expecting much, but these are actually nice, big pots, quite deep, with well-grown, obviously healthy clumps with 3-5 fans. Especially compared to the almost $7 I spent at Home Depot for a one called Night Beacon. Those (I bought 2 packages) were basically 3 straggly bare roots dying neglectedly in a bag. I hope they rebound, but experience with Home Depot has taught me not to hope for too much.

So I leaped at the chance to own four of these thrilling and special daylilies. ($20 was my limit, and even that was too much on a day when we spent almost $200 fixing the computer)

So here's what I bought:
Gay Cravat
Technical specs: lt July 6" Flwr 32" Ht tet D 8 b/s {no idea what most of this stuff means!}
Description: Blooming around peak season this flower has worked great en masse. The pale straw yellow is accented by a deep raspberry eyezone. A favorite. Excellent increaser.


Startle (bought 2 of these - what a sucker I am for the word R-E-D!)
Tech specs: Height is 26 inches with 5 inch bloom. Mid Season Bloom, Dormant, Tetraploid.
Description: Red Bitone With Cream Halo. Startle is its name for a reason - a stunning five inch velvety red flower outlined with a ruffled ivory edge.


Pandora's Box (dwarf)
Tech specs: 4" bloom, 19" tall, Early-Mid Season + rebloom, Evergreen
Description: Contrasting light and dark come together in this popular variety. Blooms are a pale cream with a deep purple eyezone. Very attractive. Fragrant.

Daylily descriptions get so complicated. I don't want to get all wrapped up in the terminology of it...my criteria were mostly "not yellow or orange, medium height." These all look like they fit the bill! Planted all three in the back bed - Gay Cravat at the back corner where I took out the Astrantia, the startles on either "arm" of the L-shaped bed and Pandora's Box in the foreground. Should be lots of yummy daylily action back there come July!


And then there's the Home Depot daylilies, which I'm not even sure will survive:
Night Beacon
Tech specs: Early to mid, 4" Blooms, Dip., Evr., Rebloomer
Description: Black purple flowers, large chartreuse center with a green throat. Spectacular contrast of colour. Diam: 10,5 cm.( 4"). (Hansen'88) Dipl.
(a bit gaudy for my taste, but whatever)

Glad I've got a couple of rebloomers in this lot, anyway!

Oh, also from end of season last year (still overpriced, but that's Plant World for you), my only other named daylily so far:
Happy Returns
Tech specs: ea July 3" Flwr 18" Ht dip D 6 b/s
Canary yellow ruffled offspring of Stella D'Oro. Consistent repeat scape builder through late September in our gardens. What this translate into is consistently reliable rebloom. Best Bloomer

This one just sounded so die-hard that I had to buy it - even though it's yellow. :-)))
They grow so well here; I may get sick of them in a couple of years, but meanwhile, I'm playing around with cheap ones to see if I can find any reliable favourites...

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