Summer brings wild orange daylilies
By Julie Brocklehurst-Woods | Special to the County News
The wild orange daylilies, called tiger lilies by some, are glowing alongside the road. It is a hallmark of summer. Hundreds of varieties of this flower are available in the marketplace.
This plant is one of my favorites because it grows with so little care. They never need to be watered, and they will thrive under a wide variety of soil and sun conditions, producing the most flowers in full sun but tolerating significant shade. Most are tall enough to shade out many weeds.
Each flower opens for just one day. The downside is that usually those spent flowers hang unattractively on the plant for several days. These plants should be divided every three-to-five years for maximum bloom, providing lots of extras for your friends.
For each of several years I went to Sand Hill Road in Caledonia to buy more daylilies from Mary and Denny Quackenbush. It is worth stopping by just to see their field full of these glorious flowers. They sell nice healthy, large clumps for very reasonable prices. It is surely a labor of love for them, under their canopy in the high heat of the summer.
I noticed their small ad in the Pennysaver this week, they are open for business. They are a registered American Hemerocallis Society Display Garden. Details may be found on their web site, QB Daylily Gardens.
Most daylilies are fairly large plants. My garden has reached its daylily capacity, so I haven’t purchased more in the past couple of years. Another factor in my decision was the fact that deer keep eating my buds, which is frustrating.
I think daylilies are ideal surrounding mailbox posts, to reducing trimming after mowing. The foliage can begin to look ratty after the blooms are done, but if you cut the leaves off and water it well a couple of times, new leaves will grow back. Stella De Oro is one of my favorite varieties because it blooms early, often re-blooms in the fall, the spent flowers fall off, and because the flowers are down lower, the deer don’t eat it as often.
I also have a shorter yellow daylily called Fragrant Treasure, which smells lovely. The tall fragrant yellow Hyperion is also great, but those buds are perilously positioned at deer nose height. Spider shapes, ruffles, and brilliant reds in this flower continue to entice me.
Many people don’t know that daylilies are edible. They have a mild flavor, something like summer squash but with a more crisp texture. The buds are good sautéed with butter and onions. You can also stuff the blossoms with bread crumbs and cheese. Bon appetite!
Julie Brocklehurst-Woods is a master gardener with the Cornell Cooperative Extension Service of Livingston County.