Lanny MORRY'S TOP TEN
GARDEN STARS of 2011
My top 10 garden stars selections for 2011
by Lanny Morry
Greetings all, Lanny Morry here
in Manotick, Ont. Canada where I am
attempting to write this email amidst a succession of heavy thunder and
lightning storms. As one wave finishes a new one begins, and my computer
has been on and off with a series of short power interruptions, so here's
hoping this saves if it happens again.
I procrastinated as long as I could about voting in the AHS popularity poll
for region 4, knowing that most of the plants on the list as 'favourites'
are things as old as Buckley's goat and are plants we have long since sold
off, if indeed we ever owned them in the first place. In the end, while I
planned to vote for only one plant on the ballot -- Pat Stamile's The Band
Played On, which is stellar here in our garden, I relented and picked two
other post 2000 plants we grow which do well in our garden from the list.
Then I wrote in 5 plants -- the max I am allowed to add -- all of which were
selected by me on the basis that they have grown AND bloomed in our garden
for a minimum of TWO bloom seasons. However, I expect many of those write
ins will have a tough time in 2012 as my really REAL favourites for 2012 are
plants that have been growing here since 2010 at a minimum, but for a number
of them this is their first time blooming season here in our zone 4b garden
after overwintering on our premises. And since I like to vote for things
that have bloomed for at least two seasons here, they are not on my 2011
So here are my REAL top 10 knock your socks off daylilies from our garden
1. DESIRE OF NATIONS, Karol Emmerich 2008. Be still my heart! This is a
plant that produces outstanding perfectly formed, always perfectly opening,
huge (6 to 7 inch flower) purple, heavily ruffled, eyed blooms of frank
magnificence. Tall, stately, pod and pollen fertile, I can say honestly that
I was simply not prepared when I purchased this in early 2010 for what it
would look like in real life. This plant takes first place over the plant I
chose as number two based on its incredible branching to top off everything
else that is perfect about it. In one year this grew and prospered and sent
up three scapes, each of which has 5 to 7 way branching and a gob of buds.
Simply magnificent and the closest thing to perfect by a small margin when
compared to plant two coming up next, in our garden this year.
2. SIMPLY SMASHING, Jeff Salter 2009. Oh wouldn't I love to know what the
parentage of this fabulous 2009 Salter registration is because I could spent
a whole summer trying to replicate the genius that produced this bubble gum
pink, frothy yellow and white bubbled edge masterpiece. As tall and stately
as my first choice, and almost as well branching, this plant went from one
scape in 2010 to 4 in 2011, and every single bloom opened perfectly every
single day (including today.... the fourth scape is a rebloom scape and this
plant has been in bloom for 5 weeks now.) I think this is Jeff Salter's
masterpiece, and if he never introduces another plant this one will have
made its indelible mark in my mind for its positively exquisite qualities.
Did I also mention that it is tall, each bloom is about 6 inches, and you
can spot it from across the yard because it radiates memories of cotton
candy and double bubble bubble gum and all things pink and frothy and good.
What a daylily!
3. OCEAN BLUES, John Peat, 2006. Probably a surprise to many of you that I
would pick a flower most of you may never have seen, but that is your loss
and my gain. A lavender purple plant with a slate blue eye, this plant came
to our garden as a single fan four or five years ago and has flourished and
grown into a small clump that this year had 10 fans with profuse buds. It
is impossible to take a bad photo of Ocean Blues because it is perfect, day
in day out whatever the weather. It does not seem to know what blemishing
is, and it is a happy plant about 5 to 5.5 inches, with its head held high.
It is also one of the most extraordinary pod setters I have ever seen, and
for that alone it is a treasure, but the whole plant, its habit, its happy
face, makes this an ideal daylily and one I would never be without. Better
than Linda Sierra which we own and I love very much also too, but if I could
have one Peat daylily this would be the one. Hunt it down, you won't regret
4. WHITE MOUNTAIN, Pat Stamile, 2006. If you have read my posts on white
daylilies then you know that in my view this is the best white daylily in
the world. Tall, stately, weather resistant, with large 6 inch or better
snow white flowers with a rubber like texture that allows this white plant
to stay clean and vibrant and good looking long after the pretenders to the
white throne have melted in the mid day sun. Multiple scapes that set pods
easily this is a garden standout.
5. JEAN DEAVER'S DREAM, Dan Trimmer, 2009. We have a lot of Dan's flowers
and they do extremely well in our northern garden but this is my favourite
to date. Tall, with the now requisite 6 inch or larger flower, this
beautiful ruffled purple has been a garden standout since it began blooming
early in July (and it is still in bloom on multiple scapes today). You
cannot walk by it without marvelling at its complexity. This is probably my
favourite Trimmer ever, though lord knows I love his other hot colours as
6. THE BAND PLAYED ON, Pat Stamile, 2006. Region 4 members had the good
sense to keep this on the ballot and it is little wonder. We got this the
year it was introduced and in 2011 it had 10 scapes full of blooms that took
it from the start of July right through the month. A very unusual
combination of deep rose and bracken purple colouring this distinctive
daylily put on a show for a whole month with multiple perfectly opened
blooms each day. A must have and a never let it go type daylily.
7. FEARFULLY AND WONDERFULLY MADE, Karol Emmerich, 2009. This daylily
breaks the image some of us, myself included have attached to Karol Emmerich
daylilies because it looks like nothing I would have expected her to
produce. It is not purple, it does not have a blue or slate eye, it is in
fact a pinky coral coloured flower with a very intense and large red eye.
The blooms are 5.5 to 6 inches in size and the four scape on it this year
(last year it had one with three flowers), allowed it to strut its stuff.
You can spot this flower from 40 paces -- blooms re tall and held well above
the foliage and when the breeze ripples through the bed I swear this flower
dances. Out of some of the most complex breeding I have seen, this is a
treasure for northern and southern gardeners to enjoy for decades to come.
8. LINDA CHAFFEE, Phil Reilly, 2007. Like the Emmerich in position 7, this
is not a flower I would have guessed would have come from Phil Reilly. A
pink confection with prominent white ribbing it is a cross out of an oldie
but goodie, Admiral's Braid xTet Siloam Ralph Henry X Lavender Heartthrob.
The result is seen in the flower -- you can literally see all three parents
in the cross which is usually unusual. This is another very tall (30 to 35
inches) very vigorous grower, that established easily here in our zone 4b
garden and that has rewarded us for the past three or four years with an
increasing number of scapes and picture perfect blooms. This year there
were 7 scapes, all laden with easy opening blooms which hold their colour
perfectly whatever the weather.
9. TET LAVENDER BLUE BABY, Jack Carpenter 1996. At least the original
diploid plant is a 1996, but I am not sure when the Tet conversion dates
from. This arrived last year as a small single fan, in time to put up a
single scrawny scape and three or four unremarkable blooms. I worried it
would go down over winter and never come up and that worry was magnified
when our garden was severely flooded this spring and the bed this plant is
in was under water or waterlogged for over a month. But that was then and
this is now... Today there were three blooms open on two of the three
scapes, and the flowers were perfect, as ever. Every time this opens its
pollen gets walked around the garden.
10. A TIE.
RAZORWIRE, Lee Pickles 2010. We never had any success growing Dr. Carr's
Candied Popcorn Perfection, and lord knows we tried, several times, losing
the plant each time. So when Mick arranged to get Lee's Razorwire and I saw
it was made from FL Ragamuffin x Candied Popcorn Perfection I figured we
would have another slow decreaser. In fact, this Pickles treasure has gone
from one fan to four with three scapes this year and it is prospering in our
garden. Even more to love about it, each and every bloom open on those
scapes has always opened perfectly and each and every bloom has come with
full dentition -- loaded with perfect teeth, something I cannot frankly say
about a lot of the toothy things we have here that are very very weather
dependant for their tootheyness (Teeth become ruffles). This plant opens
beautifully each day, the flowers are held well above the foliage, pods set
easily and it is a lovely attractive plant in just one short year.
VICKY'S RADIANCE, Paul Owen 2010. One of my summer functions is to let all
the pooches out at the crack of dawn, then immediately begin the task of
deadheading everything in the garden -- very carefully as many of the
previous days blooms were hybridized to. In addition to carrying scissors I
carry a pocket camera (I leave the Nikon in the house for more serious
photos till later). And so it was in mid July that I was stunned to see
this huge rich coral flower with a fabulous yellow wire edge staring at me
from across a five foot wide bed early one morning just after sunrise. I
snapped a quick photo and kept going, snip snip snip for three more hours
before I got back into the house to unload the camera and see what I needed
to take the Nikon to first in the yard. I was positively blown away by the
flower I photographed that morning, whose name I did not even know (it was
its maiden bloom in our garden and I didn't have time while deadheading to
check what on earth it was). Well, the flower was Vicky's Radiance, and
that is a very apt name because that flower radiates its colour across the
garden. It is a unique and stunning colour and it stops you in your tracks
each time blooms open. This year it had only one scape or I would have
placed it higher, but it is a vigorously growing plant, and the bloom is so
memorable I cannot erase it from my mind, and hence its place tied for 10 on
my top 10 list.
THE HONOURABLE MENTIONS.
I do not want this to turn into a book, so let me tell you my Honourable
Mentions for this year and if anyone has questions about what a particular
plant is there they can ask me why it is. To be frank, it is horrifically
difficult to pick your ten favourites (if they are not on the region 4 list,
that is) when you see so many magnificent flowers in bloom, and so this year
I have instituted an Honourable Mention list. Here goes, in NO particular
PORTOFINO, Smith-Grace 2004
MINT OCTOPUS, Stamile, 2008.
EMERALD LACE, Bill Waldrop, 2009
VIOLET SABREWING, Luddy Lambertson, 2007.
MICHAEL BENNETT, Gerda Brooker, 2005.
SPACECOAST TROPICAL PASSION, John Kinnibrew, 2004.
INIMITABLE, Pat Stamile, 2003
BOUNDLESS BEAUTY, Pat Stamile, 2005.
BUTTER CREAM, Oscie Whatley, 1998.
MEGILLAH, Karol Emmerich, 2008.
That's all for now folks.
Avalonia Whippets and Daylilies