The heat is on this weekend. This morning as I helped my club sell potted daylilies at a local farmers' market, the thermometer worked its way up toward ninety. It was ninety-one in St. Peters when I went out to look at the garden after a two-hour nap at 5 pm.
The heat was dry today, unlike our usual high humidity, and the dryness took a lot out of most of the daylilies. When you survey the scene at drive time on a hot day, be prepared to wince at what you see.
And yet, many cultivars can take a day like this and still provide garden value when no sane person would be taking a garden stroll! It's best to wait until the cool of the day for that. The best flowers will recover much of their beauty as the sun begins to wane and the temperature eases back down.
Here are some of the beauties that still gave pleasure at ninety degrees. Tied for first place was this gorgeous spider, AZURE WINGS by Patrick Stamile. Kathy had removed the pollen in the morning to store in the freezer. She is working out a marvelous system for numbering her daylilies and the pollens she has collected. This daylily has never had a bad day!
Also tied for first place is Ted Petit's huge melon pastel, THE ANOINTED ONE, which Kathy insisted I go out to see.
When you consider that this is a new plant that arrived in the mail just a few weeks ago, the size and quality of these first flowers speak volumes about the exceptional plant energy of this cultivar.
Running a close second was the phenomenal dark red, BRITISH STERLING by David Kirchhoff. One of the hardest things to achieve in breeding dark flowers is resistance to full, hot sun. This flower barely showed the effects of the day and therefore gets many stars for garden value.
Right up there in the ratings was Tim Bell's A FEW GOOD MEN. It looks just like this in the morning. The only reason I don't rate it as tied for number one is the somewhat muddy background color of the flower and the way one of the petals has curved over, perhaps in self-protection. The lack of color clarity in the background color makes me assign a lower garden value to it.
Another highly-valued flower in my collection is this gem by Mort Morss, KARELIA, which I can't imagine ever taking out of my collection.
The next few are also solid performers on a day like this and are in the mid rank of second place only because of a bit of fading. Here is RAZZLE DAZZLE CANDY by Patrick Stamile, which arrived here in late March and is blooming on it's second set of scapes, the first having been clipped for shipping.
Here is Joel Polston's DRAGON EMPRESS. This is a flower that definitely needs heat in order to open. The previous three or four blossoms on this plant were unable to open after the cool nights we had last week, but today's blossom shows me why I was so eager to add this to the collection.
That flower starts the day with such a concentration of color that even a day like today can't fade it enough to make it an also-ran. This is my kind of daylily!