ABOUT US & OUR PLANTS
Our daylily gardens are set in a richly fertile area of Whangarei in Northland. We live with our 17 year old son Joshua and our two dogs Maia and Ted, in a large century-old kauri villa amongst peaceful countryside. Our 8 acre property is run on organic principles. Certainly the weeds think so! We grow a variety of trees including avocados, macadamias and citrus. Our daylilies are the stars of the garden and when they are in full bloom during summer, it is a glorious sight.
We have over 500 different types of lilies, covering about 3 acres, in an amazing colour range. Although we are mainly a mail order business, we do enjoy opening our gardens from November to February and especially during the peak time in December. Daylilies have become increasingly popular in New Zealand over the last years and are being used more frequently in private gardens and with landscapes. In America they are still the top-selling perennial. A growing trend in New Zealand over the past few years is to select a bright vibrant mix of colours to create a Pacific Rim look which works extremely well alongside natives. One of the daylily’s best features is that it is a low maintenance plant that can flower for months on end without too much fuss..
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TThe daylily has often been called the perennial supreme and, if there is such a one, it is this incredible plant. It possesses great visual beauty, variety and stamina, adapting easily to the growing conditions in vast areas of the world.
The Greek name is derived from Hemero" - a day and Callas" - beauty
It is a unique plant in that it has both evergreen and deciduous foliage types and many subtle foliage variations between the two.
Originally from the Orient, daylilies have been part of the Chinese culture for thousands of years. The first known reference to them was about 2697 BC. They were grown mainly for food as well as medicinal purposes.
Today there are over 32000 different cultivars and improvement of the new plants in colour, size, form, substance and texture has made these lilies America's top selling perennial.. Perhaps the most spectacular improvement made in the daylily in recent years has been in the realm of colour. Here the hybridizer has captured practically every colour in the rainbow, except pure white or blue. In addition, daylilies are now being bred for longer seasons of bloom.
Few perennials lend themselves quite so well `to garden landscaping as do daylilies. Practically any growing conditions are acceptable. They resist drought but have no objection to a moist position and once planted can be left undisturbed for several years. However, if dug every third year, divided into small divisions and replanted in rejuvenated soil, more and improved blooms will result. They are disease free and are appreciated for their easy culture and hardiness and grow well in full sun or partial shade.
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USES OF DAYLILIES
Daylilies can be used with dramatic effect in most planting compositions. They are most effective in mass plantings, especially if they consist of plants of the same colour rather than a mixture of many kinds.
They look great in sweeping drifts or massed against a wall. They are ideal for covering banks as well as along road sides, pond borders, in semi-wild spots or in any area where mowing is impractical. Daylilies lend charm to the overall picture if planted in long winding borders. Plant them along the back boundary, down a winding path or as accents to a shrubbery planting. Combining daylilies that bloom during different times will ensure continuous colour over a long period of time..
Perennial borders featuring daylilies offer almost unlimited possibilities for harmonious colour combinations but may have a limited length of bloom. A more effective and potentially interesting technique is to design a mixed border garden, i.e. combining daylilies and other perennials along with annuals and bulbs in the same bed. Iris, astilbe, hosta, phlox, perennial blue salvia, shasta daisies and artemisia are just a few of the plants that are effective compliments to the daylily. White flowers of any sort serve as good backgrounds for the colourful daylily and break up contrasting shades.
One of our favourite combinations is a stunning lemon lily So Lovely" which has tall elegant stems, combined with the blue Salvia Ugliginosa and deep blue Agapanthus. We also find many of the pink and lavender purple varieties e.g. Caliphs Robes, Mariska, Delicately Yours, Silver Ice, and the miniature Little Fellow, marvellous for planting in a cottage garden setting with old roses and silver foliage plants. Clumps of miniatures add to this look and combine very well with violets, pansies and alyssum..
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PACIFIC RIM COLOURS
For those wanting a more dramatic look, we find that many of the brighter coloured lilies look superb planted with natives. Rust reds, tangerine orange and bright golden yellow give a Pacific Rim tropical look among foliage plants such as flaxes, grasses, ferns, and the infinite variety of plants native to our country.
"Hemlilies" are also useful in informal floral arrangements. Cut stems when buds are starting to open and they will continue to open new blooms each day for a week or more. Keep dead flowers pinched off. Individual flowers are eminently suitable for table decoration. Half a dozen fresh blooms arranged with a few sprigs of maidenhair fern in a shallow bowl makes a beautiful centrepiece.
DAYLILIES AS FOOD
Daylilies are as nutritious and vitamin rich as any other vegetable. They are high in protein, low in fat and rich in a variety of other minerals also. Although we have not been conditioned to think of these beautiful flowers as vegetables, they are a normal ingredient, either dried or fresh, in many Chinese dishes.
Most parts of the plant are edible. They may be harvested at any time during the flowering period. It is best to pick the buds on the day before they open. Most daylily gourmets agree that the pinks, yellows and oranges are better flavoured than the reds and other dark colours that taste somewhat bitter.
One of the easiest ways to enjoy the buds or flowers is to cut them fresh into salads. They spice up the appearance as well as the flavour of an ordinary green salad, or you can chop them and add them to soups, casseroles, omelettes or scrambled eggs..
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