Carla Zambelli sent in a bunch of really wonderful photos of her garden in high summer, but I was particularly caught by those showing daylilies planted with hydrangeas. Carla says that one of the things she likes best is the contrast of the daylilies with the hydrangeas. They are indeed beautiful together, and both are tough, reliable plants that will thrive in a wide range of conditions.
I asked Carla if she knew the names of her daylilies, and this is what she said:
OK, you know where I am a really bad gardener? I see things and I think to myself, “They are perfect,” and then I forget what the cultivars are. I can tell you who I purchased all the daylilies from plant by plant, but as far as cultivars, I am so bad. I am going to have to start writing things down.
I try to plant everything with the tags, but as time progresses and I add more shredded leaves or wood chips for mulch, they disappear.
The thing about daylilies is that I buy them for the color. They don’t get purchased because they are rare or anything like that per se; it’s based on the color. I love white daylilies, but my obsession the past few years has been the reds. I also like the pink and the ruffly daylilies depending on the color because they look so ladylike. I don’t know how else to describe it.
Every once in a while I will pick up daylilies on clearance from a big box store to plug a hole, but for the most part I spend the money to shop from nurseries I know because then I’ll avoid things like daylily rust.
I’m sure every gardener can identify with that, but the lesson if you want to recreate Carla’s beauty in your own garden is pretty simple: Buy colors you love from good nurseries, pair them with hydrangeas, and don’t let the details get you down! I’m sure you’ll agree the result is pretty wonderful.
A bold red-and-gold daylily looks amazing paired with the greenish flower heads of smooth hydrangea (Hydrangea arboresecens, Zones 3–9).
Another fiery red daylily (Carla thinks this one might be ‘Apache’) growing alongside the creamy white flowers of panicle hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata, Zones 3–8).
Another view of the same combination. Hydrangea paniculata cultivars vary a lot in height. If yours are too tall to mingle with your daylilies like this, you can prune them back hard in the spring to keep them shorter.
This blue lace-cap-type bigleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla, Zones 6–9) cools the hot tones of the daylily.
Many different daylilies around a Hydrangea paniculata make a cheery summer scene.
And some daylilies are so pretty they look good all by themselves.
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