Our Daylily Addiction

Our Daylily Addiction

Last year in June, our neighbor Kathy suggested we go to the daylily show at the NC Arboretum. Oh, I thought to myself. What an innocent diversion. The Arboretum is always fun to go to anyway, and a show of competition daylilies? How bad could it be?

Truly Evil.

Before we could get in, they had to finish the judging. And I really had No Idea. Three tables of such variety I would not have believed it if I weren't staring at them. I had, of course, seen yards of daylilies with lots of colors other than orange. But I really hadn't stopped to look--I was usually on the way to work or some other such thing, and unless you are walking, there just isn't time to *see* what is whizzing past.

The show greatly improved my awareness. Unfortunately, it also opened me up to a new habit. Outside the education center where the judging is held were tables of daylilies brought in by growers/breeders who had their wares for sale, mostly bare root.

I hadn't even brought cash.

Kathy bailed us out so we could bring three new treasures home, and an annual habit was born. We began shopping by name (Fire on the Mountain, Desperado Love), by color--it was hard to behave. This year we were prepared with greenbacks and another friend to "share the love" with. The back end of the Subaru came home full.

Daylilies are not natives, as may be believed. They were introduced from Europe and Asia so long ago that we tend to

think

of them as natives. The hybrid cultivars that we were indulging in at the Arboretum are clumping species that spread slowly and are no threat to native environments. The taller roadside variety, however, can be a

problem

. It had been used for erosion control--not nearly as bad as kudzu!--on slopes, especially. But on most invasive lists, it is no where near the top ten, and it is relatively easy to remove, unlike vinca or kudzu.

When we purchased our property, the previous owner had used some of these roadside daylilies to great effect in the front of the house. It's going to be hard, but as our new additions gain in stature, we'll be able to divide them and replace the invasive varieties with new, guilt-free hybrids. Daylilies with single blooms are enjoyed by hummingbirds and other pollinators, so there is no reason for you not to have a few of the thousands of available cultivars worked into your landscape. So find yourself a "Best Kept Secret" or a "Peacock Maiden" and enjoy a great ground cover!

(No names for the first two, but the last two images are "Desperado Love" and "Illini Princess.")

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