Tracking Daylily Bloom
By: Scott Keller
I set about last summer tracking bloom progress in my garden.
To do so, I physically counted open blooms every day to arrive at a total count. Crazy right? I did this in part because I thought it would make an interesting chart (… me being a statistician in a prior life) but also because I wanted to learn more about the bloom cycle. Specifically, when does it start, when does it peak, and... its duration. On the right is the actual chart of blooms open each day during a 7-week period in 2108.
I sell from my garden and I like to plan in advance when my garden will be open for visitors and for how many days/weekends. As the graphic shows, the ‘earlies’ peaked the last part of June (June 29). Each year this always makes me panic and think I am on the downside of bloom. When in fact, a higher high is coming as the ‘mids’ kick in a week later and peaked July 7. (Cont.)
Tracking Daylily Bloom (cont.)
A secondary benefit (that I didn’t expect) was that by physically counting (looking at) every open bloom every day, I found myself as a hybridizer identifying ideas for daylily crosses that I would have missed if I hadn't been forced to consider every bloom, every day. Characteristics such as substance, branching, bud count, all came into sharper focus. It also made culling decisions at the end of the season easier (note I didn't say 'easy'- I find it hard composting my babies;).
Lastly, tracking bloom gave me a better appreciation for the value of having ‘lates’ in my garden. Varieties such as Stranger in Strange Land, Strawberry Romance, Cradle of Bethlehem, Late To The Party, Northwind Dancer and Orange Clown all contributed significantly to the length of garden bloom, which pushed into early August. In the future I will recommend customers also consider purchasing later blooming varieties (as well as those seen during peak times) as a way to extend the length of color in their yards and landscapes.