Summer Garden Delights

When daylilies are mentioned, many people picture the orange daylilies from their childhood. These “ditch lilies” as they were called, could be seen in the ditches of rural areas, along streams and around many rural and city homes. Even today, ditch lilies still thrive in these locations. Today, daylilies offer a rainbow of color combinations and a variety of characteristics, offering texture and variety to any garden.

Yes, there are oranges but add to that an assortment of reds, yellows, pinks, greens, purples, lavenders, creams … you get the idea. Now add a multitude of different colors, designs and shades on the bloom. Surround them with ruffled edges, pleated edges, straight edges, multicolored edges and more.
Another variable is bloom size. Blooms are miniature (less than 3 inches in diameter), small (3 to less than 4.5 inches), large (4.5 to less than 7 inches) and extra large (7 inches and above). Scapes, the stalk on which the blooms grow, can measure under 12 inches to more than six feet tall, with the majority being two to four feet.

As for when a daylily starts to first bloom, there is wide variance in that, too. Daylilies are given bloom times of extra early, early, early midseason, midseason, late midseason, late, and very late. They tend to follow this in whatever zone the garden is located.

Daylily plants have three types of growth habits:
Dormant: lose all foliage for winter, reappear in spring.
Semi-evergreen: foliage will die back near to the ground in cold climates and generally wait until spring to resume growth.
Evergreen: retain foliage and in cold climates over winter as a mound of pale green frozen foliage. Steady growth returns when all freezes have passed.
Every daylily is named by its hybridizer when it is registered. You may find silly names (‘A Moose Fishing On A Pond On Monday’ and ‘Crazy As A Loon’), location names (‘Mapping Kansas’ and ‘Missouri Gold’), people names (‘Good Golly Miss Molly’ and ‘Aunt Nellie’), plus names to honor special occasions (‘Beth and Jeremy’s Big Day’ and ‘Fiftieth Anniversary’). The subjects for names are limitless.

Are you looking for a particular daylily? The American Hemerocallis Society (AHS) makes available to everyone, a searchable database ( Enter a word, and the name of every registered daylily with that word in its name is listed. The AHS site also allows the user to search for the name of a specific daylily. Information about each registered daylily in the database is shown (pictures, registration year, hybridizer’s name, plant habit, scape height, bloom size, bloom time, bud count, etc). With over 83,000 registered daylilies, it’s good to have a tool that narrows the field.

Daylilies are easy to grow and maintain, and wonderful plants for all gardeners, beginners and experienced alike. They need four to six hours of sunlight, although they aren’t fussy about which part of the day. They are extremely hardy plants, and have less pests and diseases than many garden plants. They will grow in a variety of soil types with varying amounts of attention.
Meet the perfect companion plant. With assorted scape heights, bloom times and color options, you are certain to find just the right plant for your garden design. Of course, they’re striking when planted en mass.

Whether you are fairly new to gardening, or a longtimer, consider welcoming daylilies into your garden. The colors, patterns and shapes will delight and amaze you and all your garden visitors.

The Mo-Kan Daylily Society is celebrating its 40th birthday and invites you to its annual daylily sale on Saturday, August 19th at the Loose Park Garden Center located at 52nd and Wornall Rd., Kansas City, Mo. The sale hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. There will be hundreds of bare root and potted daylilies available for purchase, all from Mo-Kan members’ gardens. Payment may be made by credit card, check or cash. Also, Mo-Kan Daylily Society members will be on hand to answer questions, assist buyers and demonstrate daylily planting.

Carl Hamilton is Co-President of the Mo-Kan Daylily Society and may be contacted at

To view additional images of Daylilies, visit the online version of the August 2017 issue at

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