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Saturday, July 04, 2009

The Promise

This evening was the first time this season that I went around and live-headed my daylilies. Live-head, a term that many people have never heard.

When a gardener dead-heads a plant, they are removing a spent bloom. Some plants don't require this but others, like daylilies, show much better if the the spent bloom is removed.

Nothing looks prettier than a daylily clump loaded with crisp clear blooms like on this antique variety 'Try It'.

What you'll rarely find though is a photo of the ugly drippy mess that awaits you the next morning.

Yuck, nothing is worse than removing gooey, wet daylily blooms that stain your fingers and shorts with purple and red.

Rather than wait for the morning, I love walking around in the evening and removing the still live bloom. It gives me a chance to see each and every daylily up close. 'Dark Monkey' here was facing away from the front of the bed but when I had it in my hand I just had to rub my fingers over the velvety interior.

At first it's disconcerting to see your garden go from full glory to bare nakedness but wait, look closer and you'll see it. It's the promise, the knowing that tomorrow you will once again have a garden full of jewels.

Different cultivars show their promise differently. The long, curly spidery forms that I adore look more like banana peppers with little puckered kisses on the end.

Some varieties are brazen in their promise, sticking out their tongues in advance, hoping for that instant moment of romance in the garden, the brush of pollen against their waiting pistils.

Tonight I spent a long time looking through the lens of my camera, searching for the promise of what is to come. It was the most amazing feeling, I could have taken hundreds of photos of blooms that are just waiting for their moment of glory.

At the end of it all, the buckets of blooms are spilled upon the compost heap, and that too is a promise of riches to come.

Tomorrow will be beautiful, I promise.



Sandy aka Doris the Great said...

What a lovely post.

Anonymous said...

This is a great practice. You will have more time to make photos in the morning.

Anonymous said...

Wow! I use to take students from Arkansas to New York each summer to view the arts. I loved the pulse of the city. Now that I am older, and especially now that I have an interest in daylilies with my "Display Garden", your post has made me want to see the area inwhich your lovely garden is located. Thanks, Pat

lynn'sgarden said...

Hi Melanie, hope you had a great holiday weekend! I can't bear to live-head my chore is done in the morning with coffee cup in hand. But grouped like that really shows all your beautiful blooms so I may try it that way!
'Dark Monkey' is a beauty!

gittan said...

Oh, I can't live-head my daylilies like that! but I do take awauĂ˝ yeasterdays flowers since it looks so much nicer then / gittan

Ellie Mae's Cottage said...

Interesting post - I had no idea. Thanks for the info! Jackie

Jan (Thanks For 2 Day) said...

Your info. is interesting because I (like some others who commented!) haven't heard of this! I'm not sure I could do it, either! Only because they only last so long, and I like to see the bloom on the plant from a distance as long as possible-plus, I only have a few plants. You probably have a LOT of plants with the work you it might not be as difficult? Oh well, it's an idea I'll keep in the back of my mind: Who knows? Maybe I'll actually pick a few w/stems and put them in a vase! I've not done that before (because as I said, I only have a few plants). Have a great day Melanie!

Melanie said...

Hi all,

One important note I want to make. I only live head my daylilies at the END of the day. If you went out with a flash light a few hours later you'd find them all mushy already.

Even if I only had one plant blooming, I'd live head it but I'd do it at dusk, just before true dark.

By the way, you can also pick single blooms in the morning and put them in little cups with water (think shot glass size or those little orange juice glasses). Those blooms will stay fresh all day long.

When I used to work in an office we brought a bunch of blooms in for the day and floated them in a cereal type bowl. That way I got to see them all day long.

Shady Gardener said...

You are so smart!! That is a great idea. I often don't get the opportunity to deadhead until late afternoon, anyway. And then - who's going to appreciate the blossoms?? Three stars for you today!! ;-)

alovesj82 said...

I am new to your blog, and am really enjoying your photos and comments. And learning a lot, too! Thank you. : )