Saturday, September 23, 2017

Why I Remove All Hemerocallis Leaves In Early August

I get frustrated when folks complain about how their Daylilies look once the heat of the summer roles in. Especially when they want to remove and get rid of the plant because of it's poor appearance in the late summer.

There's a way to avoid all that....

This year, the summer heat may have come later than normal, but the effects of the heat were first noticed on Hemerocallis, Daylily plants. Lush green grassy leaves adorn the plant in the early part of the summer, ushering flowers all throughout June and July. Then this happens:

As shown above, the Daylily at the top of the photo shows the grassy foliage turning yellow. I left this one alone to demonstrate the difference. The old foliage flops over and looks weak. Depending on the type of Hemerocallis you have, this usually happens after their big floral display or during a drought laden period.

To avoid this and you may find it odd, but I just yank out all the foliage - yes ALL.  That is what I did to the Daylily at the bottom of the photo. If you look carefully, underneath all the droopy leaves, the plant begins to send new foliage out from the roots. Leave those and pull out the old-yellow ones. If you don't see any, pull them all out.

Make sure you don't cut back the leaves, but instead, pull them out. They come free so easily. Leaving dry stalks at the base can cause rot sometimes. It's best to just yank them out.

Within two weeks, you'll see new, vibrant green foliage emerging from the roots and within 3-4 weeks, you'll have a great mound of lush growth that will extend all the way into late October.   It just extends your perennial border.  Yes, you'll have to be patient and wait few weeks with a look of bareness, but in the end it's so worth the effort.

I've had great success in even getting the re-blooming varieties to extend their bloom even further with this leaf removal.  If you've ever transplanted or divided Hemerocallis plants, you may have noticed they have large thickened roots (like a mini potato). These thickened roots store up water and nutrients. This is the plant's way to store up reserves. When the leaves are removed, the plant can regenerate from that stored energy. The renewed growth, can then start the process to replace those reserves again before the onset of winter.

All of the varieties in the picture above are Stella D'oro. A repeat bloomer. I find these among some of the most valued in mass plantings. They extend the flowering season and bear a hardiness and vigour some of the more cultivated ones do not have.

Try repeat blooming varieties like:

Stella D'oro
Red Hot Returns
Dragon's Eye
Happy Returns
Janice Brown
My Ways
Pardon Me.... there's many more, I'm certain!

When you leave sad looking Daylilies with spent flower heads and yellow foliage, it just takes the spark out of the garden in late summer. Try removing all the leaves once you see them yellowing and find out the difference it can make in your garden.

These photos were taken September 21st and the leaves and foliage will remain green until frost.

So much prettier and worth the effort!

Friday, September 15, 2017


Feeling blessed!

There's been many times I nearly quit - so here's hoping the garden continues to teach me things that I can pass along to you!

Thanks for visiting and making comments!

Saturday, September 09, 2017

Jewelweed: A Natural Treatment For Insect Bites

This time of year, there isn't a day where I don't get stung or bit by some insect. Whether it be from accidentally disturbing an ant colony hill while weeding a bed, or pruning shrubs that harbour mosquitos - there's no escape.  As autumn approaches, yellow jacket wasps are in a frenzy looking for something sweet or for protein. I dread the wasp season, as I get stung quite often too.

We usually carry After-Bite with us where we work, but in one garden area, we don't need to use it. Instead, nature has provided us with a wonderful annual plant called Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis). It's worked so well for me that I had to share.

I am thankful for a natural resource that enables us to find a quick solution without running to the first-aid kit.

I specifically took photos of this plant in the early hours of the morning, because the dew droplets covering the leaves is why the plant was named Jewelweed.  If the sun hits those leaves just right, you get an eye-catching shimmer.

Used medicinally by indigenous people for years, Impatiens capensis leaves contain a compound called Lawsone - which has anti-histamine and anti-inflammatory properties. Just take a few leaves in between your fingers and squish them until the "juice" exudes. Rub the juice and leafy mush onto bites and within a few minutes the sting/bite pain/itch will diminish.

It's that simple.

Further, Jewelweed can be used as a natural topical treatment for poison ivy!  Great for nature lovers, bird watchers and hunters who may come upon poison ivy in the wild. It's ideal to use when you have no lotion or ability to wash off the urushiol oil that gives us rashes.  The lawsone in the Jewelweed leaves, acts as a barrier for the skin not to absorb the urushiol oil.

Please look at the link here --->  medical info regarding Jewelweed which describes the plant's ability to treat poison ivy, when you have no soap or water around to clean your skin.

Where to find Jewelweed:  they like moist, wetland areas.  If you see Cattails, then you'll probably find Jewelweed.

They are an annual plant which self seeds readily. You never really find just one plant here and there. Instead, a mass - which makes them easy to find.

I love it when plants provide an antidote to other noxious plants.

The flowers look orange from afar, but here you can see it's a combo of red and yellow that make a clear ID.

Try it for yourself!

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