Monday, May 28, 2012

Daylily Color, Form, and Substance

This morning I waited until 8 am to take pictures of the daylilies.  I noticed that when I take pictures at 6, the sun is just over the trees and the light is orange red.  At 8 the sun is not orange red any more and the light is oblique.  Remember that; it will be on the test.

Color, form, and substance work together to please or disappoint.  I like vibrant colors as well as pastels.  I like a variety of forms and even some colors that are blended and mysterious.  But I dislike a daylily that opens with one petal sticking out like a bratty child sticking a tongue out.  I dislike color that seems dull.  I dislike substance that is flimsy and can't take sun exposure.  On top of that, some daylilies begin to decompose in mid-afternoon, while others hang in there until after dinner.  I try a lot of different cultivars to see how they perform here, and if they struggle, if they can't take the weather or the sun, or if they start to break down in mid-afternoon, I try to send them somewhere better.  Or, if the case warrants it, I will destroy the plant rather than "contribute" it to my club's plant sale, thus spoiling the fun for an unsuspecting bargain-hunter.

No, the place for a lousy daylily is on the compost pile.  Alternatively, you could try giving it to one of your enemies as a gesture of friendship.  Socrates, were he still around, would poo-poo the notion that harming an enemy is a form of "good."  Somewhere or other Plato records Socrates as leading a group of friends through a discussion of justice, and he puts them into the unwelcome position of admitting that doing evil to an enemy is an evil thing, and evil in the atmosphere poisons the doer as well as the done to.  Something like that, I think.

Let's start with hot color.  This is John Allgood's ELIJAH, and it's entirely about the joy of hot, hot orange with red in it.

The hybridizer and landscape designer Darrel Apps told a story once about giving a lecture in which he showed an advantageous landscape use of a mass of this daylily.  Someone came forward after his talk and bought every plant he had available.

Here's an example of clear bright red on a big flower with an open form.  This is Van Sellers' ALL AMERICAN CHIEF, a daylily that's wildly popular everywhere.

I bought this daylily for Kathy last summer after she swooned over a clump of it in a tour garden.  I've always loved this one since I first saw it fourteen years ago.

Here's a cooler color, a dark bing cherry violet bred by my friend Phil Reilly in central Florida.  This is called MARVELOUS MADNESS.  It was wide open at 6 am this morning and the color was still good when I looked again at 3:30.

This is a new plant this year.  The scape is a lot shorter than registered, but I'm seeing stunted growth throughout the garden, randomly, this season.  One of my own seedlings which measured 28" high last year is blooming on 10" scapes this year.  Oi!

Things can go blacker than this.  Here is Jamie Gossard's DARK MONKEY, also new this year, for Kathy's spider and UF hybridizing.

I'm keeping an eye on a huge rose pink one by Phil Reilly named GWENDOLYN ROSE.

Like MARVELOUS MADNESS, this one opens early and perfectly.  It is over 6 inches across the face of the flower.  With such wide petals, the overall impression of this dusty rose confection is of something called "full-figured" in daylily circles, and elsewhere.

We're cooling down now, looking at medium lavender purple and blue.  This is a sister seedling to the one I posted yesterday by my friend, Subhana Ansari.

I'm very taken with the look of this blossom.  I don't know if it will make seeds yet, but this morning I put pollen from Steve Moldovan's PIECE OF SKY on this in hopes of something miraculous.

Finally, one of the few tiny daylilies I grow.  This is Grace Stamile's LITTLE BLUE ANGEL.  I bought it two years ago because this was the best blue eye Grace had yet achieved, and I wanted to have it in my garden as a presence.  I am so glad I did that.  Thank you, Grace!!

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