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Don Kinzler, Published July 26 2013

Growing Together: Lovely Lilies: Pretty perennial often is shining star of garden

I would never text while driving. I’m way too busy gawking at flowers, shrubs and trees along the avenues. Luckily my wife Mary suggests I pull my head inside the window before the cars stuck behind us begin shouting unpleasantries.

One of my favorite rubbernecking selections is the Stella d’Oro Daylily, one of the most visible mid-summer perennials, Although many gardeners are familiar with this golden yellow trumpet-shaped flower with green strap-like leaves, it’s fun for all of us to know it by name.

Stella d’Oro means “star of gold.” The variety was introduced in 1975 and has zoomed to the top of the perennial charts. They are low-maintenance, easy to grow, hardy, yet strikingly beautiful and exceptionally long-lived.

The daylily is beautiful in mass groupings, planted about 18 to 24 inches apart. The height when in bloom is about two feet.

For additional impact, plant a contrasting color in close proximity. Visualize Purple Wave petunias in front of Stella d’Oro daylilies. Or purple coneflower behind. Blue salvia would look sharp next to the yellow.

Full or half-day sun is fine. The only insider advice I can offer is simply to plant them and watch grow. They are so adaptable they can be divided in either spring or late summer/early fall. Divide every four years or so.

The scientific name for daylily is hemerocallis, which is a Greek word meaning “beautiful for a day.” Although each flower only lasts about a day, the plants are so packed with buds the continuous bloom conceals this fact. A season of bloom from mid-summer until fall makes Stella d’Oro one of the longest blooming perennials.

Daylily Tour

Did you know Fargo has the first public historical daylily display garden officially designated by the American Hemerocallis Society? It is the largest collection of daylilies at any land-grant university in the United States.

We have the opportunity to tour the garden on Monday. A brief program will be presented at 10 a.m., with open house from 9 to noon.

The garden is located on the western edge of the North Dakota State University campus at the corner of 12th Avenue North and 18th Street in Fargo. It is directly west of the university’s beautiful annual flower display garden.

The daylily display garden has more than 1,500 new and historic varieties, dating as far back as 1897, according to Bryce Farnsworth, Fargo resident and American Hemerocallis Society Region I historian. Purchase of new varieties is dependent upon private donations.

As is my custom when reporting such things, I took a sneak preview. Many of the displayed daylilies have huge blossoms of lemon, red, orange, pink and gold. The heavy textures and clear colors should be enjoyed up close.

Older small-flowered varieties are contrasted with newer huge hybrids. I’m looking forward to attending the open house for a dose of daylily inspiration.

Raspberries

Many homeowners have discovered a great location for a raspberry patch. A planting of berries needn’t be a half-acre on the hobby farm you hope to have in your retirement years.

I have seen raspberries performing well in a row along wooden fences in many backyards as part of the urban landscape. The row can be maintained one to two feet wide and whatever length you prefer.

My favorite variety is Heritage, which is an “everbearing” type. That means it produces crops in both summer and fall. Or for ease of pruning and maintenance they can be mowed down to stubs, and they produce one huge crop in mid- to late-summer.

This year the rabbits did the pruning for us during the winter. By spring there were no canes left. But new shoots sprouted quickly, and right now we are enjoying a bumper crop. I’m out in the patch daily like a young lad eating directly from the bushes until Mary suggests I help her pick some for the rest of the family.

Space raspberry plants in a single row about two feet apart. In time, additional shoots arise from the ground, creating a “patch.” Keep the row 12 to 24 inches in width. It takes several seasons for the plants to develop, so a little patience is needed. Fresh raspberries straight from the backyard are worth the wait.

So long, Orvin

Goodbye to Orvin Hagen. I met Orvin when he was head gardener at the International Peace Garden, a position he held for 30 years. Orvin passed away last week at the age of 92. Orvin was the epitome of the happy gardener.

His twinkling smile and infectious laughter were contagious. I’ll bet he’s helping God plant a large floral clock in the gardens of paradise, perhaps a bit bigger than the trademark clock at the Peace Garden.

Don Kinzler, a lifelong gardener, worked as an NDSU Extension horticulturist and owned Kinzler’s Greenhouse in Fargo. Readers can reach him at forumgrowingtogether@hotmail.com