Daylily Daze

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Daylily Daze

Categories: Blog, Garden Guru


Daylilies (Hemerocallis) are the epitome of bright summer perennials and Powell Gardens’ Perennial Garden displays nearly 500 varieties in a landscape setting. Daylilies brighten the garden with light to dark colors from reds to oranges, yellows, greenish, pinks, lavenders, and near white; and combinations thereof. Many appear to glow with sunshine like this yellow in a sea of other colors. Every part of the daylily plant is edible but they are best as food for the soul or “eye candy” as I call them.


Daylilies are planted with appropriate perennials for pleasing combinations like pastel pink Lady Emily Daylily (lower right) combined with Highland White Dream Daisy (left), Summer Pastels Yarrow (upper center to right) and a pink-flowering Asiatic Lily (upper right quarter). You can get some great ideas for what to plant with daylilies in our Perennial Garden.


This plant combination includes the near white Gentle Shepherd Daylily (mid center and left) with White Swan and regular Purple Coneflowers, a hardy Easter Lily and sprigs of Plume Poppy.


Jennifer Bolyard, Senior Gardener in the Perennial Garden, poses with one of her favorite daylilies in the garden: cultivar Spanish Brocade. Each morning Jennifer and intern Sharon Rink remove the spent blooms off all our daylilies so they always look fresh and bright during your visit. Jennifer likes the bold, beautiful and dramatic cultivars.


Here is a closeup of Jennifer’s favorite ‘Spanish Brocade’ Daylily. Look for it on the left side of the walk from the trolley stop into the Perennial Garden.


Intern Sharon Rink stops for a picture while weeding in the Perennial Garden. Her pick for favorite daylily is ‘Lusty Leland’ as she like the ones in bright, hot colors with a contrasting yellow throat.


Lusty Leland Daylily is a vivacious red. I once had a visitor couple chuckling near our mass of this daylily: turns out his name was Leland. Reading all the names of our cultivars is half the fun!


One of my favorite “reds” is ‘Scarlet Tanager’ with “diamond dust” making the flowers sparkle.


For a pink-red Daylily ‘Fabulous Favorite’ stands out on the walk from the trolley stop into the garden.


Mended Heart Daylily, a vivacious orange with darker halo, is Janet Heter’s (Senior Gardener in the nearby Rock & Waterfall Garden) favorite.


Outrageous Daylily is aptly named and a perennial favorite of Perennial Garden visitors.


Lady Florence Daylily has some extra petals and a very glowing yellow-orange flower. We have double-flowering dayliles in the garden but most of us prefer the single bloom types.


MoKan Gold Daylily was hybridized by local daylily hybridizer Bob Lennington. It was mentioned by both Jennifer and Sharon as a top pick in the Perennial Garden.


Some daylilies are greenish, especially in the throat of the flower like this Priority Daylily.


One of our finest “purple” flowering daylilies is ‘Rue Royal’, there are good lavenders but no true purple and definitely no blue-flowering daylily.


There is a good range of pink-flowering daylilies. This is the sumptuous and frilled Holiday Frills Daylily.


The thick, smokey pink petals of Smokey Mountain Autumn Daylily make it a real show stopper.


The fun, bitone flowers of Chicago Candy Cane can really add some zest to a perennial border.


Old King Cole was a merry old sole but the daylily with that name is a most interesting bicolor!


The frilled picotee flower edge and dark eye of Daring Deception Daylily make it another visitor favorite.

The collection of daylilies at Powell Gardens shows a great variety in a beautiful setting. We have no collection policy for daylilies and have many older varieties as well as some of the newest hybrids. They have to thrive here and fit the color schemes or theme of each perennial bed so that you, our visitor, has a beautiful experience. I always like to stroll through with my camera or notepad and get ideas for my own garden and future garden designs.

Jennifer Bolyard and Sharon Rink will be in the garden to answer your daylily or perennial garden questions on Friday afternoon and evening for our Booms & Blooms Festival on July 3 (the Perennial Garden will be open until 8 p.m. that day). Regional daylily expert Bob McConnell (co-owner with his wife Sue of McConnell’s Plantland in Columbia, MO) will be selling daylilies in front of the Visitor Center on Friday and Saturday (July 3 & 4), bring him your daylily questions and/or wish list and he will take care of you. We always appreciate his generosity of daylilies to Powell Gardens and his expert advice. He knows which ones really perform in our intense climate!