On Gardening: Put your garden in blooming rhythm with stunning daylilies


A hungry Eastern Tiger swallowtail butterfly gave The Garden Guy a lesson a couple of days ago and that is, everyone loves an orange smoothie in the summer. As you might suspect I am playing with you, but just a little.

This year I planted daylilies for the first time in years. While I was the director of University of Georgia’s Coastal Georgia Botanical Garden in Savannah, I was amazed to see what daylily hybridizing was accomplishing. The American Hemerocallis Display Garden showed some of the most beautiful flowers on the planet.

This year was The Garden Guy’s time to put the daylily to test, so to speak, but in a different manner than in Savannah. First, those daylilies were mostly regional. In other words, they were developed and sold locally by some of the area’s best breeders and daylily farms, which is absolutely fine. A daylily collector or enthusiast could track these down, but the average Joe Gardener would find it tough to buy at the local garden center.

So, this year I wanted to try some of the massed produced varieties, so to speak, and selected several of the Rainbow Rhythm group from Proven Winners. As you may already be guessing Rainbow Rhythm Orange Smoothie was one of my chosen selections.

On that day while I was doing a butterfly hunt in my landscape and checking out buddleias and every other plant a butterfly would want. I looked back behind me and was shocked to see the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail had chosen the daylily.

One of my Rainbow Rhythm Orange Smoothie clumps had seven flowers opened at once and the Eastern Tiger went to each and every one. I’ve seen a few butterflies and hummers hit on daylilies before but this action was worthy of a video.

The flower petals are Orange Mango in color with a light rose band, pink mid-rib and a green throat all reaching 4 inches wide. The scapes will reach about 2 feet tall and boasts a high 32 bud count. It is also known to be a rebloomer.

I have always wanted to create a tropical garden incorporating daylilies and in another area of the landscape I am doing just that with Rainbow Rhythm Tiger Swirl. This is a huge daylily reaching 6 1/2 inches in a triangular shape. They are golden yellow with a raspberry red eye. The bottom sepals twist giving a unique if not exotic look.

The scapes or flower stalks are tall reaching 32-plus inches. As companions I have chosen Ice Cream Blue Java banana, Portora elephant ears, milkweeds, Lime Sizzler firebush and a tall candlestick plant.

In another area of the landscape I am growing Rainbow Rhythm Storm Shelter, which is mauve with a purple eye and yellow green throat. If that is not enough it has a picoted edge. I am also growing year’s new introduction, Rainbow Rhythm Sound of My Heart. These flowers are pastel pink with a wine purple eye and yellow green throat. It has ruffled edges. Each variety produces 5-inch flowers and they are clustered around a golden needled Fluffy arborvitae. These two varieties will make you think you should enter the local daylily competition.

There are eleven colors or selections to choose from in the Rainbow Rhythm group. I promise you will want several. They are easy to grow requiring at least six hours of direct sunlight each day for best performance. Best results are obtained from raised beds rich in organic matter.

Perhaps you haven’t tried daylilies because the flowers only last a day. Remember, each scape or flower stalk has many buds as I mentioned above and these open in a series, giving you beauty for not only days but also weeks and even months as they repeat.

One warning, if you grow the Rainbow Rhythm daylilies your neighbors may get jealous and even think you’ve secretly become a Master Gardener.

(Norman Winter, horticulturist, garden speaker and author of, “Tough-as-Nails Flowers for the South” and “Captivating Combinations: Color and Style in the Garden.” Follow him on Facebook @NormanWinterTheGardenGuy.)

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