Last Thursday a colleague told me about a local specialist nursery that holds a National Collection of daylilies (Hemerocallis). It is called Strictly Daylilies and is based in Histon, just north of Cambridge. How did I not know about them!!? It was brilliant timing, because their annual open days turned out to be Friday through to Sunday. So, of course, on Friday we went to visit.
Behind a perfectly ordinary looking suburban house, we were confronted by a beautiful surprise: A wide river of daylilies meandering across the main lawn, spilling round a lily pool and merging with mixed perennial borders on either side of the garden. Blue flags are temporary markers for the varieties available for sale during the Open Days. The garden is an accredited American Hemercallis Society Display Garden (part-owner Paula Dyason is Californian and is the International Chair of the AHS).
Beyond the formal garden, through a birch grove you reach the ‘Historic Beds’. Is this heaven?
There are just so many lovely, lovely variations. I seem to be drawn to flame-coloured combinations, particularly with narrower petals (e.g. above example), but there are plenty of others:
With >35,000 daylily cultivars to choose from, there is something for everyone: Tall, short, small, large, frilly, curved, stripey, narrow, wide, multi-coloured, eye-zoned, double, scented blooms. Flowering times can range from early spring to late summer, but most peak in July. Some cultivars will repeat flower.
Strictly Daylilies apparently has an amazing ~2000 cultivars on display. The ‘heat’ from those beds was palpable!
Hemerocallis ‘Autumn Minaret’ (above) was probably my favourite. It is tall (~170cm) and fragrant. It would work brilliantly with the white shasta daisies and crocosmia at the back of my borders. Sadly it was unavailable.
It was a fantastic, but completely overwhelming visit. However, it is obvious to me now, that we really need more daylilies in our garden.
Is it a good thing that Strictly Daylilies is so close? Time will tell!! 🤣
Wow, daylily heaven! So hard to choose just a few. 🙂
And that may well be the trick here. They look especially good in those beds, combining multiple cultivars. Maybe one needs to choose more than just ‘a few’ 🤣
The purple/ yellow combination looks lovely. I’m thinking of getting some day-lilies for my dry front border, but I don’t want the standard orange ones. I’ll have a look at their website to get some other ideas. Thanks for sharing your visit.
You are welcome Eileen. Hope you get inspired!
I’ve never been a fan of Daylilies, but all I’ve exer known as the plain yellow and orange that sprout up in ditches. I’m astounded by the variety here — those historic beds are fabulous.
How wonderful! And so near… I recently looked at some unusual ones online but they cost a fortune!
Yes, I noticed that … up to £40 from this supplier for certain beauties. Luckily, my tastes seem to largely be focussed at the cheap end!
I visited a daylily farm once and it was fascinating, but it was not nearly as aesthetically designed as this lovely spot.
Well, it has evolved into a business from a love of the genus, so the garden came first here I guess. They do have fields for growing on etc, further back, as an extension to the formal garden.