During the past few weeks, many of us had an opportunity to spend more time planting and tending our gardens. As the blossoming spring season ended, we spent hours cleaning up fading foliage ... sowing seeds for annual color ... planting bulbs for summer blooms. It was a beautiful Spring.

I know that summer has arrived when the Daylilies start to bloom. With what I have seen so far, the summer blooming season shows just as much promise and beauty as did the Spring. Hemerocallis translates to Day Beauty” or “Beauty of the Day.” Since the bloom only lasts for one day, don’t miss an opportunity to stroll through your garden each morning so that you don’t miss a thing. This hardy, clump-forming perennial will brighten up any garden. Beginning in late Spring, daylilies bloom over several weeks displaying beautifully sculptured flowers on scapes (stalks).

Hemerocallis spp. vary widely in flower color, shape and texture; leaf size; and plant height. Available in almost every imaginable color (pure blues are rare), you can find a cultivar to fit any garden space. According to Clemson University Extension (HGIC), flower color patterns may be the same color throughout (H. ‘Victorian Lace’), Blended (two or more colors as seen in H. ‘Ruby Spider’), or polychrome (three or more colors). In some plants, there are color differences between the petals and the sepals. That is, sepals and petals may be shades of the same color, referred to as Bi-tone, or they may be considered Bicolor. In the latter color pattern, the petals and sepals are different colors.

Some flower color patterns affect the eye, band, watermark, or halo zone of the flower. These zones may be a color completely different from the remainder of the flower, or it may be a tint or shade of the same color. Still, other flower color patterns include edged (H. ‘Sycamore Fancy’), ruffled (H. ‘Picoteed Rippled Ruffle’), or differences in the midrib, or center vein (H. ‘Open Hearth’).

Flower forms include trumpet, spider (H. ‘Ruby Soider’), star, circular, or triangular. Other interesting forms are double, recurved, pinched, or ruffled (H. ‘Victorian Lace’). Foliage on some plants resembles blades, while the foliage of smaller varieties appears grasslike. In Zone 7, Hemerocallis is generally semi-evergreen or evergreen, making the daylily a favorite in the landscape. Dormant varieties will die back during the colder months.

There are two types of blooming patterns — Everbloomers or Rebloomers. Ever bloomers have several ‘flushes of blooms’ in succession throughout the summer, while Rebloomers bloom more than once during the summer (e.g., first flush in May and again in July). Hemerocallis spp. range in heights from eight inches to five feet. Indeed a versatile choice for any garden.

Although sensitive to soil conditions when tubers are planted, they are adaptable once established. Avoid planting the tuber too deep. Be sure that you select a well-drained and sunny area. Hemerocallis spp. are generally disease resistant. To keep them healthy, conduct a soil test every 3-4 years when you divide the clumps. Remember, any extra plants make excellent gifts for gardening family and friends! Although relatively low maintenance, once established, protect them during the winter by mulching. Daylilies are a favorite for deer, so take care to protect them. If you are a pet parent, they are toxic to cats but safe for dogs and humans.

Feature Daylilies in mass plantings or pair them with complementary shrubs, grasses, and perennials. They are ideally suited for planting on slopes, in borders, along pathways, or in meadows. Be careful, collecting Hemerocallis hybrids and cultivars may become addictive! To brighten each day and lift our spirits, I send a daily garden photo to my sisters. This morning, I texted a photograph of Hemerocallis ‘Victorian Lace’. Their responses: “Breathtaking!” “Gorgeous!” And the most accurate description — “It looks as if it was sewn by God!”

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Stephanie Howard is one of many UGA Master Gardener Extension Volunteers of Cherokee County. For more information or questions contact the Cherokee County Extension Office at 770-721-7803 or for upcoming seminars follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/cherokeemastergardeners or on our website at cherokeemastergardenersinc.wildapricot.org.

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