Tuesday, July 15, 2008

GBBD: Confessions of a daylily virgin

I thought I'd use Bloom Day as an excuse to show off my latest acquisition. It is a daylily, Hemerocallis 'El Desperado', to be precise, and it's the first one I've ever had. I bought two of them at the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show. Emmat helped me decide, but even so, I got into such a dither about which one I was going to have, I forgot to take a note of the variety AND left my wallet lying on the counter and had to run back for it. (I rang the nursery yesterday to find out the name.) It's beautiful, isn't it? I thought the colouring was very striking, but didn't notice until I took this picture that as well as the wine-coloured throat, the edges of the petals are wine-coloured too. Apparently this variety is 'dormant', rather than evergreen or semi-evergreen. I assume this means it dies down completely in winter? All you daylily experts out there, I'm relying on you for advice.

My next Bloom Day flower isn't nearly as spectacular as the daylily, but it's a plant that's becoming increasingly popular in London. It has a fragrance to die for, it's evergreen, it attracts bees, it doesn't seem to attract pests, it doesn't run amok, and, in my garden at least, it grows quite happily on a north-facing wall or fence (though it flowers better in full sun). The name of this paragon is Trachelospermum jasminoides. You may find it described as half-hardy in colder areas, but in London it easily survives the winter. It does quite well in a container, too.

For me, the whole point of growing Nicotiana is to have that fabulous scent. I love N. affinis and N. sylvestris, but there's no denying that the F1 bedding varieties are really tough and, in my experience, more slug-resistant. So it's nice to find a bedding variety in which fragrance is part of the package, rather than an accidental afterthought. This is N. 'Perfume' in a pale lime-green.