Daylilies are one of the most versatile flowering plants available to gardeners. You can depend on them to produce an abundance of showy flowers and the foliage makes a good ground cover. They are not attacked by insects and are susceptible to only a couple of mild disease organisms that don’t seem to hurt the plant very much at all. There are varieties available that will flower at different times during the growing season so that you can have Daylilies flowering most of the summer. In addition to all of that, they are perennials meaning you don’t have to plant them over again each spring. In general, Daylilies don’t require as much maintenance as many other flowers.
If you noticed this year that your Daylilies didn’t produce as many blooms as in the past, it is possible that they are starting to become over-crowded. After four or five years of growing in the same spot Daylilies tend to form a heavy mat of roots in the middle and the plant loses its vitality. To prevent this problem, divide your Daylilies frequently. Late summer and early fall is the ideal time of the year to do this.
Dividing Daylilies is very easy, all you need really need to do is dig the plants up and split them apart. With Daylilies it is easy to tell where the division should be made because they tend to form clumps of roots with a fan of leaves attached. Break these clumps apart and re-plant them into their bed or into a new spot. Place the clumps at the same depth as they were originally growing.
Many years ago I was asked to divide a relatively large bed of Daylilies. If I remember right my helper and I ended up transplanting somewhere around 2000 divisions. We ended up constructing three more beds to hold all of them. It did make a striking display.
If you have had no flowers at all from your Daylilies in the past, it is most likely there is a problem with the site. They do best in partial shade but will grow fine in a sunny spot if the soil is kept moist and has adequate fertility. Keep in mind however that they will not flower if they are planted in too shady of a spot.
Don’t be too concerned if you are unable to work on your Daylilies this fall, they can also be divided early next spring.
After checking the honeybees this week, I was dismayed at how little honey they had made for themselves this summer.
Looking at the number of honey combs that were filled, it became evident to me that probably only a third of the hives would yield enough honey for me to safely harvest.
Honeybees collect flower nectar and pollen through the summer and process it into honey which gets stored onto combs so that they have enough to eat during our long, cold winters. Any surplus is then collected by the beekeeper.
I talked with another beekeeper who said he noticed the same thing in his apiary and others were reporting similar findings. He even thought that some of his bees were consuming some of the honey that the bees were supposed to be saving for this winter. We concluded that this summer had less than ideal flower growing and bee foraging conditions.
The season started out promising then some areas were hit by dry weather conditions. When it did rain, the storms were usually widely scattered. The timing of the rains may not have coincided with the flowers’ water needs for optimum nectar production. At times, we had rain when flowers were blooming. Since bees do not fly in the rain, they were unable to get out and collect nectar.
So what do we do? Some beekeepers are feeding sugar syrup to their weakest hives hoping that the bees will store some for winter use. Others have already harvested their honey after deciding which hives were the most productive. The rest are hoping that the bees will be able to collect enough nectar and pollen from the Goldenrods which are in full bloom right now. Of course that all depends upon the weather. We may end up having higher than normal bee losses this winter because of this summer’s weather conditions.
If you keep a colony or two of bees, now would be a good time to check your hives, assess their condition and make a decision on whether or not your bees need some extra help this fall.
These cool nights are a reminder to me to start looking for my frost covering that I use in the garden each fall.
You may think it is too early to start thinking about frost but keep in mind that in some locations away from the urban areas, frost is entirely possible. For example for our readers in Lapeer, there is a ten percent probability of the temperature reaching 32F on September 5th. In Monroe there is a ten percent probability of it reaching 36F by September 27th.
I’m keeping this in mind as I go through my stuff this fall and will start to gather my garden covers and put them some place where I can get to them.
I may be a little early but this year when the really cold temperatures arrive, I’ll be ready for it.