Blooming delicious; Add flavour with day lilies.
THERE is a garden flower so beautiful you really will think it is good enough to eat.
And you would be right - day lily flower buds can be picked early in the morning and added to salads.
The day lily is a plant that works hard to impress in mid-summer. Flowers may only last one day but there is always more to come.
A great variety of day lily for late summer borders is Stafford, which produces bronze flowers 10cm across.
Team it with the copper blooms of Helenium Moerheim Beauty.
For a bit of light relief, squeeze in a clump of pale yellow red hot poker Green jade, and the fiery flowers of Crocosmia Lucifer for a border that will sizzle right through to the frosts.
These reliable and often fragrant herbaceous plants are easy to grow.
Choose a sunny spot, or one that gets sun for long spells. Keep new plants well watered until they establish but do not waterlog them.
Energy Remove faded blooms as soon as they close to direct energy into producing more flowers. After flowering cut them down to ground level. Most varieties flower throughout July, but a few carefully chosen varieties can extend the flowering period from early June to late August.
As day lilies interbreed easily there are hundreds of named varieties.
There are also many more shades than the familiar yellow and orange.
Look out for the variety Christmas Candles, which produces beautiful pink and cream flowers. Another, Pink Damask, has deep salmon-pink flowers with a yellow centre.
Guaranteed to turn heads are Captured Heart, which has small dark red flowers with darker, blacker tints and a golden centre, and Admiral, which has many flowers per stem that are red with bright yellow centres.
Planting is done in autumn although container-grown plants can be planted any time. A well-drained soil enriched with organic matter is best. To keep them productive divide clumps every three to four years in the autumn.
Discard the really woody centres, replanting young vigorous sections.
Few pests attack day lilies - the main problems are slugs and snails.