Sunday, May 24, 2015

All in the Family: Daylilies

Many of us still have the old Ditch Lily daylily somewhere in a back corner.  Like Narcissus, the oldest cultivars surviving tend to have desirable characteristics.

I took pics of Ditch Lilies and Salmon Sheen and prepared to write about the evolution of modern-day Daylilies. Oh, Wait. I did that last year:

Evolution of the Daylily

-- and here they are again this year. Salmon Sheen on the right is one of my favorites. Introduced in 1951, it won the Stout Medal in 1959.  Dr. Stout gave the characteristics of a great daylily in a speech in 1957. They include:

  • Winter hardiness. 
  • Long season of bloom. 
  • Flower color that does not bleach out and petals and sepals do not curl or wilt prematurely. 
  • Flowers drop quickly after bloom on their own. 
  • Flowers stay open in the evenings. 
  • Flowers sit high enough above the foliage so as to be seen. 
  • Scapes are neither too heavy to overwhelm the plant or too thin to allow drooping. 
  • Full, lush and green foliage.
Hybridizing as far as getting new seeds is easy; bees do it.  If you want certain parents, it requires isolating the pod parent and dabbing with pollen from the other desired parent.

The hard part comes with isolating a really great daylily from a bunch of dogs. Steve Muldovan said that one of a hundred might be worth considering and one in a thousand might be a keeper.

I have 3 plants from a handful of seeds I collected from a neighbor's pretty plants last summer. I hope one is a keeper. I've been lucky before and I've discarded many plants after 3 years of hoping for beauty.

Let us then consider two other daylilies, this time dark red:

The one on the left was here when I first visited here more than 50 years ago. MIL called it 'my red daylily' and I never found a name for it.

The one on the left is Dominic. The parents of Dominic are Royal Ambassador and Baja, each a lighter red in the photos I've seen.

Many of my beds are seen at a distance, so I like similar colors en masse: reds here, purples there, oranges over by some blue hydrangeas.

This is my first seedling, hardly fashionable by today's standards but a tough plant with lasting flowers in hot sun. I call it garden name of 'Saddle Oxfords' -- a name not found in the database of thousands. 

There is a Daylily Show near here next month. Maybe like Rock Rose I'll find a keeper at their sale. 

Friday, May 22, 2015

Bah, Bah Boxwood: Stung by a Wasp

I was not thinking about wasps being around when one popped my on the hand.

I was pruning these, twice as big as last year (this photo) and decided to see on the back side how far down I could cut to reveal the trunks of the topiary trees. 
I had put these off when I was pruning boxwood because they take so much time. 

He-Who-Mows suggested just cutting off the meatballs. I thought to prune up the spheres as small trees and cut the bottom squared off part (they are more square than the pic shows. The insides have a lot of dead limbs from lack of light. 

The trunks are huge, the part with the topiary. I would have to take the electric chain saw to them so I decided to just hand prune the dead parts. Then the wasp got me.

About 10 years ago I had a pretty severe reaction to a wasp sting and took a series of shots. I have an Epi pen. Before resorting to a dose of Epinephrine, I thought to just take some antihistamine and use all the home remedies for the bite site that are on the net. Well, maybe not every one. I didn't use a cut onion, nor vinegar and baking soda.

So I took the only Benedryl left in the house and some purple elixir. I put Absorbine Jr. on the site and then soaked my hand in ice water for 10 minutes or at least it seemed like 10 minutes. I found some tablets for Domeboro solution and used that as a soak. I read that Caladryl was better than anything else and lacking that, used some poison ivy cream that I think has the same ingredients as Caladryl.

I've not had any allergic response other than mild swelling of my hand, in 2 hours. 

He-Who-Mows and resorts to extreme measures sprayed the whole end of the boxwood with wasp remover. Trimming that bush may be moot. It will probably die. 

Those boxwood are there for more than 50 years. They could all be cut down, next year after Christmas when the wasps are frozen. Cut to the ground, they will come back, or not.

My pruning may be curtailed until summer is over.

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