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On Gardening: The Garden Guy is pumped on daylilies

Norman Winter, Tribune News Service on

Published in Gardening News

A trio of new daylilies has The Garden Guy pumped on daylilies once again. The three new selections make their debut in the Rainbow Rhythm series in 2024. Rainbow Rhythm Blazing Glory, Rainbow Rhythm Persian Ruby and Rainbow Rhythm Blood Sweat and Tears are blooming now to the rescue of The Garden Guy’s treasured daylily garden.

Last year was the perfect storm for my secret garden, which many of you know as my daylily garden. It is not a big expanse of daylilies; it's about 25 plants partnered with other perennials and some choice favorite shrubs. It is planted on the side of my house on either side of a dry creek bed.

After a storm last spring, I had to get a new roof. No telling how many square feet of shingles had to be taken off in a hurry and new ones hammered on. The best place to take the shingles down was over the daylilies, and although it was only a day's work, the result was a great new roof — and what resembled a war zone for the daylily plants.

The growth resumed, but suddenly my secret garden was no longer secret. The neighborhood deer population discovered it, followed by armadillos. In my despair, I probably did the most damage by not maintaining a really good triage program with water and fertilizer. But ultimately I only lost three daylilies and have planted nine more. I’ve got the deer managed and The Garden Guy is pumped again.

They are starting to bloom, and the companion plants have all matured. Blazing Glory, Persian Ruby and Blood, Sweat and Tears will bring Proven Winners' Rainbow Rhythm series to 14 selections, all competitive in their beauty. I never really dreamed such beautiful daylilies would ever be mass produced for garden centers.

My time as director of the Columbus Botanical Garden and then the Coastal Georgia Botanical Garden really taught me not only how beautiful daylilies are, but about the great partnership possibilities. The exotic look of the daylily blooms partner well with other perennials. I am using Rainbow Rhythm, Blazing Glory with Blue Boa agastache. The golden yellow and burgundy blooms are borne on tall scapes reaching about 30 inches.

Rainbow Rhythm Persian Ruby produces huge 8-inch, deep red/purple blossoms with a glowing yellow throat. The scapes are tall, reaching 30 inches. I’ve partnered mine with the shorter Rainbow Rhythm Orange Smoothie daylily and in close proximity to the golden needle Fluffy arborvitae and the blue-flowered Let’s Dance Arriba hydrangea.


Daylilies have been called the perfect perennials, and that is what you will think when you see the rosy red Blood, Sweat and Tears. This showy daylily is a couple of inches shorter, but you’ll never know the difference. I’ve got mine partnered with Pyromania Blaze Red Hot Poker.

These daylilies are easy to grow, requiring at least six hours of direct sunlight each day for best performance. Best results are obtained from raised beds rich in organic matter.

Perhaps you haven’t tried daylilies because the flowers only last a day. Remember, each scape or flower stalk has many buds, as I mentioned above. And they open in a series, giving you beauty for not only days, but weeks and even months as they repeat.


(Norman Winter, horticulturist, garden speaker and author of “Tough-as-Nails Flowers for the South” and “Captivating Combinations: Color and Style in the Garden.” Follow him on Facebook @NormanWinterTheGardenGuy.)

(NOTE TO EDITORS: Norman Winter receives complimentary plants to review from the companies he covers.)

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