If your idea of a perfect summer garden is drifts of colorful yet carefree flowers, then daylilies are the flower for you. They are a forgiving plant, easy to grow, long-lived, low maintenance, salt tolerant, accept soil from sand to heavy clay, and are ranked among the top five drought resistant plants. They are perennial and can be used as ground cover, in drifts in borders or used as accents in the landscape. No green thumb is needed to enjoy summer-long blooms in a vast array of colors.
The invitation came from a neighbor, Bill DuPaul, to visit his glorious daylily gardens. A scientist recently retired from Virginia Institute of Marine Science, Bill is now devoting more time to the science of growing and hybridizing daylilies in Ware Neck. He is a 1st class grower who has a strong desire to share his knowledge and his plants with others.
Despite inclement weather, mister gardener and I were delighted to join Bill for a drizzly excursion through his daylily gardens. Just gazing at the vibrant colors brought us a bit of sunshine beneath the clouds. As we walked we learned more about substance, texture, colors, sizes and forms of daylilies. We have certainly come a long way from the common orange ditch daylilies that are seen on roadsides, fields, and around mailboxes. Today’s shades range from yellows, oranges, pinks, purples, near whites, to vibrant reds and one with a unusual touch of blue he is hybridizing.
Bill is meticulous about his methods and choosy about registering the hybrids he develops. Only the very best of the best will he register with the American Hemerocallis Society. To date he has registered four but some of his daylilies are local favorites and hotly sought after. To have a ‘Ware Yellow‘ in your garden gives you certain bragging rights. Ahem. Yes, I have two.
You can find Bill’s daylilies for sale at the Williamsburg Farmer’s Market on Tuesdays and Saturdays, May through October. Bill’s wife, Jaye, is a member of the Garden Club of Gloucester.
Ann Hohenberger, The Garden Club of Gloucester