Rainbow Rhythm Daylilies Turn Problem Zone Into Secret Garden | House and garden
Strange as it may sound, my secret garden is a daylily garden. This does not mean that I am passionate about cupboard daylilies, quite the contrary. It started a few years ago when my wife Jan said the side of our house was awkward and we needed plants. To be honest, he was more of a Garden Guy Gulley sort of thing.
In the back yard there are French drains to drain the water – and by that I mean it flows into the side yard, the area of Jan’s discontent. Side yards by their nature are often problem areas. What are we doing?
The main considerations are: is it seen from the side of the street and from your neighbors? And the most important criterion of all, is it a route where you, your friends and family go from point A to point B, like the front yard to the back yard? Mine was none of the above, and to make this area of lost weed with drainage issues worse, this is also the location of the air conditioning unit.
Oddly, this is my best spot for sun and ground except the dead spot where the water flows downhill. So two years ago I started planting Rainbow Rhythm Daylilies like Orange Smoothie, Sound of My Heart and Storm Shelter. I added Fluffy arborvitae for lingering interest and to possibly be a foil or screen for the air conditioner.
I have also planted Bloom-A-Thon repeat flowering azaleas and a few Camellia sasanquas. At the end of the summer Jan said, “Why are you doing this, no one can see it? Please don’t tell him I wrote this in this column.
This year I added the new Unplugged Pink salvia, which will debut next year with Rockin salvias and some Pink gomphrena truffula. I also added 10 more daylilies. They represent informal drifts of five each from Rainbow Rhythm King of the Ages and Rainbow Rhythm Lake of Fire. Both are like thoroughbred racehorses with tall, wide flower stems or stems and huge blooms. My first bloom of 2021 was Lake of Fire, and if the garden was compared to basketball, it’s full of double doubles and triple doubles from daylily participants.
Then the killer: I added river rock to the center of the drainage area. A few passes with bags of rocks on a hand truck brought me close to cardiac arrest, so I borrowed neighbor Dave’s trailer to tie it to my lawn mower. It made the movement a lot easier, but by the end of the project I was on all fours as the back screamed.
But I love the new secret garden, and I also added some Echinacea, as well as some Red-Hot Pokers.
There are now 11 selections to choose from in the Rainbow Rhythm series of daylilies. They all look like competition quality, which brings up an important point. Over the next several weeks, across the country, locals of the American Hemerocallis Society will be hosting daylily shows and most likely providing educational programming. These are normally fun events for the whole family.
Until then, be aware that daylilies are easy to grow, requiring at least six hours of direct sunlight each day for best performance. The best results are obtained from raised beds rich in organic matter. My fertile soil has good drainage and looks perfect.
Maybe you haven’t tried daylilies because the flowers only last a day. Remember that each flower stalk or stem has many buds as I mentioned above and these open in series giving you beauty not only for days but also weeks and even months as they repeat themselves.
This I know my wife was right our side yard was a hindrance and has now turned into my secret garden.
Rainbow Rhythm daylilies and a baker’s dozen pollinator-friendly perennials made me look for the next addition, an old teak chair or bench. I promise to have my camera in hand.