Daylilies: Stars of Summer Gardens

Daylilies at Gibbs Gardens in Ball Ground, Ga.

Daylilies at Gibbs Gardens in Ball Ground, Ga.

When it comes to summer color in Georgia gardens, daylilies are hard to beat. They are easy to grow, prolific, offer brilliant blooms over a long period of time, tolerate some drought, are mostly free of pest and disease problems, and look great in all types of gardens. These hardy perennials persist in the landscape for years with a minimum of care.

At Gibbs Gardens, there are 300,000 daylily blooms of more than 500 varieties. The early blooming selections begin flowering in June, and the latest flower in August. By planting early, mid and late blooming types, you will have color for months.

Daylilies at Gibbs Gardens. Photo by Rick Cannon.

Daylilies at Gibbs Gardens. Photo by Rick Cannon.

It’s interesting to note that the scientific name for daylily, Hemerocallis, comes from two Greek words meaning “beauty” and “day.” This aptly describes daylily blooms, which last for one day. The good news is most daylily plants produce a multitude of flowers (from a single plant) over a period of weeks. Some varieties are repeat bloomers, while others flower once in a season.

A Rainbow of Colors

Daylilies at Gibbs Gardens. Photo by Rick Cannon.

Daylilies at Gibbs Gardens. Photo by Rick Cannon.

Beyond yellow and orange, which many people associate with daylilies, these beauties come in a rainbow of colors. From the palest (almost white) to the most vibrant, blossoms may be pink, red, crimson, purple, almost true-blue or a blend of colors. There are both single and double flowering types. Both the plants and blooms may be dwarf, tall, large or small.

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Companions

vertical-dayliliesDaylilies are effective in groups or as companions with shrubs, perennials and annuals. If planted under trees, make sure they receive adequate moisture (due to root competition from trees). Daylilies provide an effective groundcover for a sunny slope.

In the summer garden, combine them with roses, butterfly bush, Chaste tree or perennials like Asteromea mongolica, the Mongolian aster, garden phox, Phlox paniculata, lambs ears, salvias or wormwood, Artemesia ‘Powis Castle.’ Add them as a complement for annuals including spider flower, Cleome, Pentas, also known as star flower, Scaevola, called fan flower,  and Euphorbia ‘Diamond Frost.’

Care and Feeding

  1. Choose a site that receives a minimum of 4 to 6 hours of direct sun per day.
  2. Plant them in soil that is moist but well drained. Avoid soggy soils.
  3. Space individual plants 18 to 24 inches apart.
  4. Plant early, mid and late blooming types for a long season of flowers.
  5. Add compost if the soil is too sandy or has a high percentage of clay (does not hold water or holds too much water).
  6. Apply 1 to 2 inches of mulch to help control weeds.
  7. Take a soil test. This will help you decide which fertilizer to use.
  8. Apply a granular 10-10-10 fertilizer in the spring. Apply another application in late summer or fall if needed.
  9. Water plants deeply (8 to 10 inches) in the early morning. Avoid overhead watering, especially late in the day. This reduces spots on flowers and potential problems.
  10. Daylilies will grow happily in pots; just make sure to give them plenty of space and water on a regular basis.
  11. Divide clumps every three to five years. This keeps plants vigorous and productive. The best time to divide mature clumps is in late summer after they finish blooming.

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Visit Gibbs Gardens in Ball Ground, Ga., June 15 through December 11, Wednesdays through Sundays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Check the website at www.gibbsgardens.com for a full schedule of events.

ericaErica Glasener is the marketing manager for Gibbs Gardens. A horticulturist, author and lecturer, Erica was the award-winning host of HGTV’s “A Gardener’s Diary” for 14 years. Erica is the author of “Proven Plants: Southern Gardens.” She is also the co-author with Walter Reeves of “Getting Started with Gardening in Georgia,” and “Month-by-Month Gardening in Georgia,” revised edition.

Daffodils at Gibbs Gardens Herald Spring’s Arrival

golden daffodils at Gibbs Gardens

Millions of golden daffodils cover 50 acres of hills and fields at Gibbs Gardens in Ball Ground, Ga.

Spring is in the air at Gibbs Gardens with millions of golden daffodils covering  50 acres of rolling hills and fields. This March to mid-April, you only have to travel to Gibbs Gardens in Ball Ground (just an hour north of Atlanta) to see 20 million of these enchanting blooms in colors of yellow, orange, pink and white, and all shades between.

Daffodils at Gibbs Gardens. Photo by Britt Else.

Daffodils at Gibbs Gardens. Photo by Britt Else.

Stroll along paths, traverse hills and wander through the woods to experience this amazing site. More than 100 varieties are represented and include early, mid and late blooming selections. A spectacular display, the daffodils put on a show for about six weeks, beginning March 1. Peak bloom occurs about the second and third week in March.

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Spend a few hours or the whole day to view one of the largest displays of daffodils in the nation. Gibbs Gardens is an official American Daffodil Society Display Garden, one of only 25 gardens from 15 states in the U.S. Enjoy lunch at the Arbor Café, where you may choose from sandwiches on fresh bread or salads. Save room for homemade dessert, too.

Gardening tips for daffodils

Daffodils are rewarding and easy to grow. Here are some facts and tips about these reliable spring bulbs.

Daffodils. Photo by Rick Cannon.

Photo by Rick Cannon.

  • Daffodils are poisonous, and pesky deer or squirrels won’t eat them.
  • Daffodils are perennials and will bloom for years and years in the same spot.
  • For fabulous spring flowers, plant daffodil bulbs in the fall, once the soil temperatures cool, usually in October, November and December.
  • Plant bulbs at a depth that is 2-3 times the width of the bulb.
  • Plant daffodils in full sun or part-shade.
  • Plant in drifts for a natural effect.
  • Plant fragrant types like “Cheerfulness,” “Sir Winston Churchill,” and “Actaea.”
  • Remember as you’re planting that daffodils always turn their faces to the sun.
  • After they bloom, don’t cut down foliage until 1/3 of it has turned yellow. This will ensure good blooms the following year.

Visiting Gibbs Gardens

Daffodils on Holly Hill

Daffodils on Holly Hill

Gibbs Gardens open for the season on March 1, 2016. Hours: Tuesday-Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Last admission is 4 p.m.) Admission is $20 for adults, Seniors (65 and older) $18, Children $10

Special Events in March

March 12 and 13: The first 100 visitors will receive a free daffodil.

March 25 at 2 p.m.: Book signing and Q & A with daffodil expert Sara Van Beck. Purchase a copy of her book Daffodils in American Gardens, 1773-1940.

March 26 & 27: Plein air artists paint in the gardens.

ericaErica Glasener is the marketing manager for Gibbs Gardens. A horticulturist, author and lecturer, Erica was the award-winning host of HGTV’s “A Gardener’s Diary” for 14 years. Erica is the author of “Proven Plants: Southern Gardens.” She is also the co-author with Walter Reeves of “Getting Started with Gardening in Georgia,” and “Month-by-Month Gardening in Georgia,” revised edition.