Friday, July 10, 2009


Daylilies are one of the more popular plants in Ketchikan gardens - I have a couple clumps in my own yard - but I have always found them about as exciting as a patch of dandelions. After flipping through the pages of our latest book - The New Encyclopedia of Daylilies: more than 1700 outstanding selections by Ted Petit and John Peat - I realize that daylilies are an amazingly beautiful plant. Ketchikan just happens to be overrun with the plain vanilla version (golden yellow, straight-edged petals).
Ah, but the possibilities! Doubles, miniatures, ruffled, multipetaled, spider, eyed and patterned petals abound in a complete rainbow of colors. Forget the boring yellow, try some deep red, purple, or black. Or perhaps a "peach-pink flower with a burgundy-purple eyezone and a picotee edge above a green throat". The double flowers, especially the ones with ruffled petal edges, are truly stunning. Page after page of gorgeous photos and intricate flowers delight the eyes.
One of the major reasons for the popularity of daylilies is that they are pretty much effortless plants, and they do well in our local climate. However, the chapter on cultivation (planting, diseases and propagation) is still very interesting and helpful. In addition, the authors include a list of daylily suppliers in the back of the book (complete with websites), so that you can start expanding beyond the 'John Doe' plants so predominant in Ketchikan. (And as your exotic lily varieties grow and need dividing, I think they would make excellent gifts for your gardening friends).
This is a very beautiful and inspiring book, and it makes me itch to rip up my garden and start anew.

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