18 July 2014

Daylilies And Shakespeare

Annuals in the shade
It's been about three years since I visited the Cutler Botanical Garden back in my hometown, Binghamton NY. My first visit saw a vegetable garden and a generous balance of perennials, annuals, and a few specimen trees. The second time, however, was different. Flood waters of the Chenango River had just receded, and any plants not washed away were encrusted with mud. It has recovered since then.

Most botanical gardens, I believe, have a specialty or focus that distinguishes them from others and gives them a unique personality. I found something on my recent visit to Cutler that I did not see in previous visits: daylilies and Shakespeare. The picture quality is courtesy of my iPad2's crappy camera and a harsh, direct sun kinda day.

My favorite millet / Get those herbs out of the shade!
The garden is small and set on 3.5 acres (1.5 hectare.) It consists of a few meandering trails through a mostly turf-covered area, with a vegetable garden, herb garden, perennial, and annual beds laid out around the paths. A rose garden with path leads to a central gazebo, framed throughout with lots of annuals. LOTS and lots of annuals. I prefer perennials, but luscious, unique annuals pique my interest, too.

The vegetable and herb gardens were typical. The herb garden, surprisingly, was mostly in light shade. In fact, annual beds planted with sun-lovers were also in shade. The herb garden was part of the 'Shakespeare Trail.' The trail has about two dozen plants, identified by sign, that are cited in the writer's works. The plant and associated passages were listed in a brochure.

Here did she fall a tear; here in this place,
I'll set a bank of rue, our herb of grace"

--King Richard

I was also very fond of the Daylilies collection. My estimate is that about 60 daylily varieties were on display in their own area. A few varieties were shouting out to me, reminding me that I still wanted a red daylily for my own patch. The blooms with the green throats were really enticing.

These unnamed beauties caught my camera lens.

And my favorite unknown ... if anyone has a clue ...

The next day required a trip to Apalachin to help pick out plants for family and browse the W & W Nursery. The entrance was graced by a few dead tree trunks carved into sculpture. I picked up Cherokee Star daylily. No green throats, (well, maybe a little) but quite vibrant on muscular stems. And, it was a discounted price due to the 'Daylily Days' sale.

On the way out of the gate, a wagon cart o' plants beckoned with "Find Me A Home - $3 each." Who could resist a cart full of orphans, and why didn't I see this on the way in? Probably because I was too excited with anticipation at entering the nursery.

Through the dried-out pots I found a hydrangea arborescens "Invincibelle Spirit" still clinging to life. I had just spied a large, fragrant, healthy $60 specimen blooming in the nursery. I scarfed up the orphan and giddily deposited $3 in the 'honor system' coffee jug on the wagon's edge. Today, the 1-foot tall (30 cm) hydrangea is beginning a new life and starting to bloom with tiny clusters, as if to say, "thank you for my new home."
My new Cherokee Star


Jean Campbell said...
It looks as if none of the gardens are in dense all-day shade. If I'd given my Herb Wheel a little shade it would have fared better.
Jim Coliton said...
Having "Shakespeare" in the title caught my attention, but the wonderful day-lilies caught my eye. Great color even with a less than great camera. After your post on hydrangeas I'm giving serious thought to adding some next year. Sounds like they would do well in our area.
Swimray said...
Some of the herbs were in fairly constant shade -- better than a flood though.

Different types of hydrangeas out there. My are 'arborescens' - they bloom on new year's growth instead of last year's. Choose wisely.
Christa atCedarmereFarm said...
I have never seen daylilies as pretty as the ones you captured (even with your ipad).
Swimray said...
I found these stunning. I think I found the name of the last one is "Radiation Biohazard"
Jim/ArtofGardening.org said...
I didn't even know Binghamton HAD a botanical garden. I will have to check it out next time I visit home too. Apparently it is located almost across the street from my mother's new apartment - I can walk there!
Jim/ArtofGardening.org said...
I finally got there last weekend! It's a nice garden. Just the perfect size for my mom to walk around.
Swimray said...
It's a nice walk around and not too big. Hope another flood along the river does not set it back again.
Alana said...
Thank you for spreading the word about Cutler - it is a gem, and, more amazingly, free. This year, a regional indoor farmers market opened just a few steps away (I would recommend, right now, NOT visiting on Saturday mornings, until the market gets its parking situation straightened out). The lilies were super this year!