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Annie in Austin
Welcome! As "Annie in Austin" I blog about gardening in Austin, TX with occasional looks back at our former gardens in Illinois. My husband Philo & I also make videos - some use garden images as background for my original songs, some capture Austin events & sometimes we share videos of birds in our garden. Come talk about gardens, movies, music, genealogy and Austin at the Transplantable Rose and listen to my original songs on YouTube. For an overview read Three Gardens, Twenty Years. Unless noted, these words and photos are my copyrighted work.
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Friday, June 08, 2007

Passalong Plants - The Daylilies

Last fall the Austin Garden Bloggers met, and PAM from Digging brought me a division of this daylily, “Best of Friends”. You’ve probably seen Pam’s May 23rd post, filled with buds and blossoms of this beautiful daylily. I’m thrilled to see it flower in my garden. ‘Best of Friends’ is the newest of my passalong daylilies, treasured both for the beauty of the flowers, and the friends who passed them along.

Above is the passalong apricot daylily seen in the May 15th post and still unfolding flowers every morning. It was one of a group of unnamed ‘Stella d’Oro’ descendents, seedlings that were sold like living raffle tickets for a few dollars back in the early 1990’s at house #3. My friends and I bought a few, and waited for them to bloom. Some turned out pretty, some looked almost like the ubiquitous ‘Stella’ herself, and some were pitiful. My friend VIOLA was pleased to get a nice apricot form, and when it increased after a few years, she gave me a start. I grew it in Illinois, dubbing it ‘Vi’s Apricot’, and carried it to Austin. It’s quite a small flower, as you can see below when a bloom from ‘Vi’s Apricot’ is tucked in next to the large flower of ‘Best of Friends’.

Vi is retired from gardening now, but at one time she was very active in her Illinois Garden Club, donating time and labor toward community issues while enjoying the social aspects of the club. Visitors loved her enormous perennial borders, jammed with plants collected over the decades. Vi would guide the visitors around the garden, trowel in hand, ready to send a friend home with a living token of their tour.

More than a decade ago I bought this small maroon daylily as a gift for Vi. She was delighted to find out that Hemerocallis ‘Pinocchio’ could produce a second flush of bloom. Once the plant grew large enough, Vi insisted on passing a fan of it back to me and ‘Pinocchio’ also came with when we left for Texas.
Thirty years ago, as a just-moved young gardener at house #2, I met BERTHA. My new neighbor was a retired businesswoman in her early seventies who volunteered her clear, cultivated speaking voice to record technical books for the blind. Bertha grew flowers that had come from her own mother’s garden, and she shared one of her mother’s daylilies with me.

I’ve grown it in four of my gardens, and remember my friend fondly but I can’t call it ‘Bertha’s Yellow’ – this one already had a name, Hemerocallis citrina. Here’s the second bloom of 2007 on this tall, light yellow daylily, which opens in early evening and has a faint but pleasing scent. It stays open overnight, closing as the sun comes up.

Of the nearly 50 daylilies that I grew in Illinois, only 6 made the cut and traveled to Texas. Two came from nurseries- four were Passalongs.

I brought Vi's ‘Pinocchio’, ‘Vi’s Apricot’, Bertha's Hemerocallis citrina, the purchased ‘Prairie Blue Eyes’ [blooming in the photo above], a purchased ‘Catherine Woodbury’ and a passalong ‘Eenie Allegro’ from Vi. These daylilies had a rough life, spending 5 years confined in deck containers. I nearly lost them all at one time or another, and both ‘Catherine’ and ‘Eenie’ succumbed to the intense heat. The four survivors are doing better since 2005, when they finally traded life in pots for roots in Austin clay.
They've grown and if this summer lets them continue to thrive, these daylilies are ready to become Passalong plants once again. I think that both Vi and Bertha would be pleased and perhaps amused, to know that their daylilies were growing and being handed around deep in the heart of Texas.
In a few weeks I'd like to tell you about some plants that were passed along by other Austin gardeners. Until I get back from Illinois - Happy Gardening to all of you!
[This post was begun May 31, but completed, photos added and posted June 8th.]


  1. Hi Annie,
    My name is Abby and my mother Martha is a VERY enthusiastic gardener. Unfortunately, no one in the family shares her passion. I created a blog marthasgarden.blogspot.com hoping that she could connect to people with the same interests. She doesn't yet know of the blog because I would like to first build some interest in the site and hopefully get some comments on her site. The first two blogs were done by myself but hopefully she will be blogging on her own very soon. I e-mailed you because I really enjoyed your page and I know that she will too and that she will appreciate some input from you. In other words, feel free to visit the site and share your ideas.

    Thank you!

  2. Annie, I'm pleased to see that 'Best of Friends' is blooming for you. It's been so dependable in my garden as long as it has afternoon shade.

    I LOVE the citrina (Bertha's) "evening" lily. If it ever becomes a passalong, I'll be in line for a division. ;-)

    Have a great trip. I'm going away for a while too. I'll catch up with you when we get back.

  3. Wish they bloomed for more than a day.

  4. Wow, 50 daylilies! And I thought I was a collector. Best of Friends is a beauty. H. citrina is a refreshing change from the more extravagant lilies being sold which seem to be the standard fare these days. Unfortunately our heavy plantings have made the beds too shady for our daylilies and they suffer for it. I'll stop by to have my lily fix.

  5. Annie, I'd be happy to trade all my Stellas for some of her peach-colored descendants. Those are lovely! Your plants are certainly blooming like crazy, who knows what it will be like when you get back?

  6. I enjoyed your dalily pictures. Mine are just getting started. I just came back from the farmer's market where there is a stand that sells fans for a good price just to entice you to her open garden, which will be starting soon. I have the itch and can't wait to scratch it. Your pictures hepled a little.

  7. There are a lots of buds in my garden but there aren't any daylilies flowering yet.
    It won't take long anymore though.

  8. I just saw daylilies in bloom the other day. I'm surprised we aren't caught up with you since the weather is August-like.

    They are just beautiful. I like them because of their ever-lasting blooms and hardiness.

    I hope you are enjoying your trip!

  9. Lovely pictures of lovely flowers. I like Daylily cultivation because it is easy and rewarding.

  10. Boy, you guys make me want to come and live in Austin and hang out with all of you. Pam (Digging's) daylily is just beautiful! And the yellow one - H. citrina - is wonderful too and make me remember that my yellow one might be getting shaded out (although I don't think it is as pretty as that one - I am glad that it has a name!).

    This weekend I am in my mom's garden - and during the past few days there has been a bleeding heart potted up for me, a few cleomes that reseeded all over the place in one corner of my mom's garden - and this evening she is giving me some bearded irises. Aren't plants with little stories just the best? Thanks for sharing yours - if only via a virtual highway!

  11. I can see why they made the cut to travel with you! It's amazing how unique each is. Have fun in Illinois!

  12. I'm happy to say I've done more giving than receiving in the passalong plant department. Mostly succulents from my grandfather's garden, and extra seedlings.

  13. I loved reading about Vi and Bertha and how they passed their lilies along. It is a wonderful thing how gardeners love to pass on plants to others who they know will tend them with love and care.

    I loved the citrina lily. It is beautiful.

  14. Happy Blogiversary! I love that you keep passalong plants and value them for who gave them to you. And that delicate yellow daylily is stunning.

  15. Hi Annie!

    What lovely lilies! Oh they are so colorful. I can imagine they bring a whole lot of enjoyment all the more because they are from friends.

    Hope you have a good time in Illinois.


  16. Lilies are wonderful and passalongs are even better! What an appropriate name!

  17. You know how I love daylilies! Best of Friends is a wonderful passalong! Vi's apricot is a little beauty. It's interesting to see the size comparison. I have an unnamed lily that looks remarkably like you Pinocchio, same height and color. The yello citrina is very dainty. I have a pretty early (unnamed) yellow blooming at the moment too. I would gladly give you a piece of Catherine Woodbury if we lived closer :)
    I love the color of Prairie Blue Eyes.
    Thanks for sharing your lovely lilies. The yellow with the blue (salvia?) in the last photo is beautiful!

  18. Nice post, Annie! It's great that you have so many good memories associated with the passalong plants...I get the same way with stuff my mom and sister give me. Like Chuck I can say that so far I've given more plants than received, which is fine with me!

  19. Hi, I just clicked over here from cityfarmer.

    You have some beautiful Daylilies. We have several. Some are passalongs. Not blooming here, yet.

    My hubby is an avid gardner and I am the planner, negotiator.

    We both love touring gardens, when we travel.

    Back Porch Musings

  20. Lovely lilies and ditto stories! Next year I'm going to buy some daylilies too. ;-)

  21. Hi, Annie. Your daylilies are beautiful and seem even prettier because of the stories and memories that go with each one of them. Passalong plants deserve a special place in every garden!

  22. I spent all last Fall and this spring dividing my 200-foot swath of Frans Hals, Dover, and Kanza daylilies. They were eight years old and packed in. Their bunches were so rock-hard that I threw out my shoulder trying to cut through them with my spade. I had to have physical therapy all winter to repair my rotator-cuff-type injury. But I have a swath daylilies now that's about three times as wide as the last, and will do me another eight years (until after we're gone from this wonderful place). This year they probably won't bloom, due to the dividing, but next year I'll have quite a show, and will have to post pictures on my blog.
    You seem to have a more rational approach to daylilies than I do, and your selection is beautiful. ML of Full Fath.

  23. Wow, those are amazing, especially the citrina, which is a legendary cultivar. I had to transplant all of mine for the pond, and they are miserable. We'll see.

  24. I love passalongs because each new bloom reminds me of the giver. The citrina is very pretty with the blue.

  25. Hi Annie: I saw on someone's blog that you're gone...so, that explains your absence! You're missed!

    Well, you know I love this...lol! What an appropriate name 'Best of Friends' for a wonderful passalong among friends! They all look very happy in your garden!

    Some exciting news: I recently found out Felder Rushing is going to be speaking at Lewis Ginter in July! Of course, I have already signed up...lol! I can't wait!

    Hurry back...your garden blogging buddies miss you!

  26. Annie! Glad you're back! Get those weeds under conrol :o)

  27. Thanks for the comments- I'm back, but totally inundated so it will be awhile before I catch up on other blogs ~ I hope to get a post up tonight.

    ABBY, sooner or later I'll get to marthasgarden. How cool that you made a site for your mom!

    PAM/Digging, 'Best of Friends' still has a bloom and a couple of buds now, and a fan of the citrina is in your future.

    I hope we'll see photos of you in a pith helmet!

    CITYFARMER, the one-day part never bothered me, especially since most of my varieties have a high bud count. I like action and change and might get bored if they lasted too long, Ha!

    KI, that number seemed pretty big to me until I saw the hundreds that Gotta Garden has packed into her VA borders!
    I like to see the fancy ones in other gardens, but the plainer ones work better in my garden.

    LOSTROSES, 'Stella' stayed behind in IL - useful and cheerful, but the color was hard to blend with my favorite flowers. 'Happy Returns' stayed behind, too, but I missed it and recently bought one for this garden.

    MARIE, I peeked, and you look like a daylily nut to me! [that's a compliment of course ;-]

    Hello JALOS - you'll be in daylily heaven when mine are toast!

    Hi MARY - daylilies have so much variety, are so robust and they exhibit such a willingness to please - whoa! Am I talking about daylilies or puppies??

    DIGITAL FLOWER PICTURES - thank you. In your climate you can grow many more varieties... the heat kills off some of the prettiest here.

    PAM, sometimes I feel that way about South Carolina~ and although I could never keep up with your razor-like mind, hanging out with you in any state would be a pleasure.
    I'm glad your mom is giving you the plants and the stories.

    COUNTRYGIRL, it was terribly hard to decide! There are a couple of others I still regret leaving.

    CHUCK B, there's definite pleasure in both giving and receiving...sometimes accepting a plant means a lot to someone with no gardening family members.

    KATE, thank you for enjoying my tale of Vi and Bertha, who let me carry their beloved plants into a future when they could no longer grow them. Not as a burden, but as a sort of trust.

    Hi MERESY - thank you - citrina was still blooming when I got home - and it has a scent that is as delicate as the bloom.

    Hello DAWN, the passalongs are special, but I'm still hoping to see a new one at the nursery that will make me croon and pull out my wallet!

    CHRIS, what's funny is that the way 'Best of Friends' looks actually kind of looks like Pam/Digging. She has a glow, too!

    Hi KERRI, you can grow some beauties - many of the totally dormant types aren't happy here, which may be why CatWoodbury croaked! But Vi's apricot is growing much better in TX than in IL.

    LISA, it's cool to share with sisters and mothers... I used to do that, but most of their sharable IL plants won't grow here, and my TX plants won't grow there~ sometimes that makes me sad.

    Hi PAT, cityfarmer has a fun blog, doesn't she? I'll check out "Back Porch Musings" very soon.

    Hello YOLANDA ELIZABET, your garden is so splendid that you might not 'need' them. But I think almost every gardener would enjoy having a few of them. Have fun with the selection process!

    ML, I remember reading about your huge border. And hearing the story of your injury should make me be more careful!

    I've never grown daylilies in a swath - always clumps in mixed borders. It might be more rational, but has less impact~

    EAL, for that lovely pond it would be worth taking a chance... but I'll bet your daylilies come back for you next year, evenif they sulk in 2007.

    APPLE, in IL I grew the citrina with Russian sage and Salvia farinacea and thought it looked fine. But when I first saw them with the zone 8 Salvia guaranitica, the sight blew me away.

    HANK, you're back now and so am I. You seem to have had a really fine adventure in Sweden... my trip was enjoyable but very low key!

    GOTTA GARDEN, my daylily collection would be about 1% of your display! Have fun with Felder in July~

    MARY - here's the choice - blog a little and get rid of SOME weeds, or really get them under control and kiss blogging goodbye... guess which path I'll follow!



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