22 June 2011

Looking Good From Behind

It was June 2010, and my first year as a master gardener-in-training. I received my invitation for seven members' garden tours, and decided to trip on down to a few located nearby.

I had considered opening up my own plot to the tour but feared the consequences. One day I pictured myself offering visitors glasses of lemonade, and pretentiously parading around the yard receiving accolades from my fellow gardeners for my accomplishments. On another, I was struggling to hold the interest of bored visitors wondering why they ever dropped in on a first-year gardener to view his mundane work-in-progress collection of plant swap misfits.

At the first garden visited, I was welcomed by an apologetic gentleman who explained that he had returned that week from a month long vacation in Florida, after signing up to host a tour several months prior. The property was very pleasant, but filled with numerous potted plants, some semi-neglected and others crying to be planted.

Surprisingly, he offered his visitors a free plant from a "needs a home" pile. The ladies visiting at the same time declined. I picked out a small budding unknown daylily (Hemerocallis) that was labeled "red." I was secretly hoping to hear, "take the ladies' allotment, too" but it didn't come. There is a certain pleasure in hoarding - a topic for another day.

The daylily bloomed in my front cottage garden as dull and dark maroon with a saturated yellow throat. It had smallish blossoms, about 3-4 inches across (10 cm). I found it unappealing and drowned out by my more colorful characters in the garden, but was too busy (lazy) to move it. This year I have come to appreciate its unique color and contrast. I call it the 'Redskins Lily' in honor of our team's burgundy and gold colors. Since it is now established, there are more blossoms and its bloom time does not coincide with the other clowns.

What I find interesting about this flower is that it actually looks great from behind. The yellow throat contrasts nicely with the dark maroon, especially since yellow is more visible from the back of the petals than from the front. Bloom time and context can make a dull dark daylily a winner.

For The Record:
  • Well-drained organic soil
  • Full sun
  • Small amount of fertilizer
  • No serious problems

Garden Calendar:
  • Blooming: pink cosmos, liatris, coneflower, daylily, cosoms, nicotiana, daisy, cleome, marigold, spiderwort,
    hostas, rudbeckia
  • Harvested: lettuce, dill


Cherry Lane said...
Glad you've come around to your 'Redskins' daylily. It is nice from behind.
J.C. said...
Great article title! What's that J Lo song, "watch me walk it out" :-)