I went through a Daylily (Hemerocallis sp. and cvs.) phase for a year or two, then lost interest. This says more about me than it does about Daylilies – I go through frequent periods of enthusiasm for a particular species or genus of plant. In most cases the enthusiasm fades, but leaves behind a few clumps of plants here and there in the garden. Overall, I would say that the garden is better for it.
Most of the Daylilies in our garden are tucked into out-of-the-way corners. An exception is ‘Eye-yi-yi’, which occupies a highly visible spot in the Driveway Border.
What drew me to Daylilies for a time was their extraordinary toughness, the many variations of flowers in the red-to-orange color range, and the grassy foliage. They really are carefree plants, not needing much attention except for a division every few years.
While no Daylily is native to North America, they can play nicely with a number of native plants. Above is Daylily ‘Priceless Gold Strike’ with Wild Petunia (Ruellia humilis). Wild Petunia grows 1-2′ high and has more of a mounded to sprawling habit. It fills in well around other plants in sunny spots and can tolerate dry conditions.
Like Daylilies, Wild Petunia requires no special attention and can make a nice edging for a bed or border. It emerges late, so it also combines well with spring bubs. As with Daylilies, the flowers usually last for a single day. They are attractive to native pollinators, especially long-tongued bees. Wild Petunia is also a host plant for Common Buckeye butterflies.
I’ve already written about Bush’s Poppy Mallow (Callirhoe bushii) this year, but I don’t think I mentioned that it combines nicely with Daylilies, especially yellow ones. I can’t remember this Daylily’s name, unfortunately, but I do like the soft yellow 6-pointed stars with little round pops of magenta supplied by the Poppy Mallow.
And now, a few more Daylilies. This is ‘Mary Todd’. There’s a nice clump of this variety at the east end of the Parkway Bed.
We have a bunch of ‘Chicago Apache’ on either side of the Crabapple tree in the Front Garden. The ones facing west bloom well but those facing east flower sparsely. I do wonder if the names of some flower cultivars, like those of sports teams, are due some reconsideration.
The ‘Egyptian Spice’ Daylilies that I planted years ago on the south side of the Crabapple tree have prospered and multiplied. The color reminds me of orange sherbet.
So there you have my Daylily collection, such as it is, with a couple of companions. I don’t expect I’ll be adding more Daylilies any time soon, but I don’t expect to get rid of any, either. While the infatuation is long passed, I do feel that most sunny gardens are better off with at least one or two varieties of Daylily.