June 28, 2011

I've Had It

I have had it with daylilies.

They are all coming out next year.  They really annoy me.

I planted a great curving swath deep in my back border to give me color and that happy feeling you get when you see orange tiger lilies rampant by the side of the road in late June.  I wanted that in my garden.

I also planted them at the top of the driveway, and along the edge of the front lawn.  I put in all kinds of daylily cultivars, with special attention to early, mid, and late bloom periods.

Daylilies announce the start of summer, and with their exuberant foliage, they spill and fill great spaces of empty garden.  That's what I needed.  I had so much empty space when I started, and I had so little color in summer.  I planted lots and lots and they have spread and spread over the years.

But this is it, folks --- this is the height of the color and interest and happy feeling I get in my garden ---  some wimpy pale buds.  Meh.

The buds never open.  The deer eat them all summer long, and as a result all I ever have is foliage.  The buds that manage to escape the deer simply never open, probably out of cold fright as they see the fates of their companions.

I added some terra cotta pots for a little orange oomph nearby, and will need to pot up some annuals just to have something to look at besides daylily foliage.  

With no blooms, this much green foliage is simply not interesting all summer.  And it gets worse.

I have used all the deer repellants I can find, so in addition to uninteresting foliage, they smell bad.  Then in late summer the foliage gets ratty and brown.  I'm trying to think of a redeeming feature of daylilies in my garden, even without any blooms, but they simply smell bad and look unkempt. 

And I have so much of this plant.  Daylilies became the backbone of my garden, filling areas with no effort.  Because I have so much, it will take some effort to get them out, but in the fall they are being pitched.  I no longer want the struggle, and I don't want the look of them.  I've had it.

Do you have time for two more things that annoy me?  You do?

Salvia guaranitica --- black and blue sage.  The blooms are a beautiful deep royal blue if you ever get any.  My neighbor's plant in a container is gorgeous.  Mine isn't blooming and has no buds.

And crocosmia 'Lucifer'.  My neighbor has a big clump of these interesting red gladiola-like plants.  I planted dozens and dozens of corms over three years and got a plant.  One.  It doesn't bloom.

My neighbor's stand of crocosmia and black & blue sage

My lone crocosmia not blooming
My black & blue sage not blooming


I've had it trying to winter over the tender sage, only to get an uninteresting foliage plant the next summer.  And I've had it trying to get a stand of crocosmia going.  And I've really had it with the daylilies.

The garden is not always a happy place and it is not always a place of refuge and peace and delight.  Sometimes it can be annoying and make you really want to stomp on things.  I'm going inside before I do.


  1. I hear your frustration. I hope you feel better after this rant. Plants have a way of occasionally making one rant and rave. It is too bad about your daylilies. They are the backbone to many gardens. You will have to find something that deer don't eat. Hmmmm As to those crocosmias I was lucky enough to have a bunch of them given to me or I wouldn't have tried them again. They seem to have taken this time. At least I have a bloom. Your read that right "a" bloom. I am thrilled anyway. I am easily entertained. B&B salvia returns in my Sister's garden. They don't here even though we are in the same zone. My garden being 60 miles further north. Best of luck finding something that will give you joy.

  2. Oh no I am sorry about your plant woes. The deer have recently discovered my daylilies too, so I am consolidating them around the house and spraying them with peppermint every night, which may or may not continue to work. At least a lot of the newer daylily cultivars have scant foliage but I agree, it's not very attractive in summer.

    It's daunting when you realize that a big part of the garden isn't working out and must go.

  3. So sad. It looks like you would have a good crop too. You need a pet coyote.

  4. Some times that happens. Imagine how theraputic it will feel while you're removing them. Start planning new plants!

  5. I swear I didn't laugh when I pictured you stomping on your plants. Ok, I *may* have chuckled. :)

  6. I am right there with ya. How frustrating is it to work so hard on a garden that you cannot stand!? I think I have Gardener's Envy, after reading about all the lovely gardens my blog friends keep. Mine is just what you called yours--MEH. Do you mind if I borrow that sentiment??

  7. I've had many, many, MANY similar rants because of deer and other garden-destroying creatures but my language was way too blue to blog. I never saw one of my daylilies bloom until I finally had a fenced in area and transplanted it there. The fenced in area is the only reason I bother with daylilies. Maybe you should do a daylily plant sale in the fall to try to recoup some of the money spent and offset the cost of replacement plants?

  8. Just be forewarned - they do not go willingly or easily! Been there, done that. I had to have my husband dig em up because they were so tough to get out - then he through them on a heap near the compost bin and they rooted! Plus, two years later they are BACK in the garden where we took them out of to begin with! Those orange "ditch" lilies are really tough! Thankfully I don't have deer and they are blooming prolifically right now.
    Good luck!

  9. This post cracked me up!! I completely relate! I have a plot of tradescantia that drives me crazy and have already made plans to move a chunk of daylillies that are starting to irritate me. I'm convinced my plants are better behaved when they see me coming with my shovel and pruners!

  10. Lisa, thanks for commiserating! I feel better today, but yesterday I was a basket case over those daylilies.

    Sweetbay, you hit the nail on the head about my frustration: it is daunting to know I have to re-do so much of the design here.

    Donna, I found a huge pile of scat in the yard today.. could it be a coyote? We do have them in the larger vicinity, but I have never seen one here. Bobcats patrol here sometimes.

    Gardener on Sherlock, hmmm, do you think it will be therapeutic when I pitch the daylilies? It might be!

    Garden Ms. S, you will be relieved to know I did not stomp anything : )

    Sissy, you can certainly borrow a "meh" or two, but I think your gardens are fine!

    Joene, I never thought of a daylily plant sale... I was just going to pitch them. I like your idea better : )

    Tracey, oh no, you think the daylilies will be hard to uproot? I was hoping they would come right out.

    TS, Your plants must cower when you get the shovel out and come after them! I'm glad to know I am not the only irritated gardener.

  11. oh Laurrie, I feel your pain! I used to have a deer trail right through my yard and it seemed the deer ate everything. So disheartening. My sister shares your same issue with crocosmia. My mom is able to grow it blindfolded and repeatedly gave clumps to my sister who killed them one by one. I don't know how many times she's tried but she finally gave up and planted something else.

  12. ummm... not to rub salt in any wounds, my daylillies are thriving and I could use some more. A nice variety would be nice. Since you are intent on pulling yours up, could they be transplanted at my house???

  13. Marguerite, I have heard so many stories about crocosmias thriving for some and failing for others in the same area. A very unpredictable plant!

    Gail, you can have all my daylilies this fall when I dig them up! They are multiple colors and cultivars, but all of them are taller and more frilled than your shorter yellow ones. They'll look different than yours, but they're pretty!

  14. And what Gail doesn't take, I will!

    I couldn't believe it when I read you were going to rip out all your daylilies, Laurrie, but as I read on, I understand your frustration. I love daylilies and have spent more than I should on a few special hybrids. I think I'd be sitting outside in the evening with a shotgun if deer were eating my precious daylilies:)

    Ironically, I just planted two 'Black and Blue' salvias today, and I planted some crocosmia corms for this first time a month ago. No signs of the crocosmia yet. The 'Black & Blues' were on sale for $2 each, so I'll enjoy them this summer and then let them go like the rest of the annuals.

    I think we all have our plants that just don't work in our gardens, and it's better to let them go, even reluctantly, and plant something that works. I should give up on any kind of roses entirely--mine are full of Japanese beetles at the moment--grr.

  15. What you need to do is eat the daylily blooms before the deer get them. Yes early blooms cooked like green beans are tasty. Soon the deer would forget about them since you would be eating them.

  16. Rose, you are so right... best to let plants go that don't want to be in my garden. But I like them so much and wish I could grow daylilies, black & blue sage and crocosmias!

    Randy, I did know you can eat daylily blooms, but haven't been tempted. They are like candy to the deer, that's for sure.

  17. Laurrie, I had no idea deer ate daylilies. None! I've had no luck with crocosmia either. I finally gave up. I hope you donate the lilies through freecycle.org or something. You'll be amazed how many people will be willing to go to your place and dig them up. No work for you... free plants for them. It's a win/win situation!

  18. Wendy, my sister wants all the daylilies I can dig up, and she claims she does not have any deer in Wallingford! We'll see . . .

  19. I just found your blog from a comment you left...beautiful! The deer can make me crazy too. We were just about to enjoy our hostas blooming along the borders and "Poof"...all gone. We never saw a tulip this year either. But we keep on and we have mowed paths through our "wild" areas too...a favorite place to walk with our dogs at the end of the day.

  20. Anita, thanks for visiting. I absolutely love your photography, your site is charming.


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