Interestingly, you’ll notice daylilies that seem to be out of place; without a home. They aren’t a wild variety, just remnants and memories of days of old when people once lived nearby. There may be no sign of people anymore, but the reoccurrence of these daylilies every summer reminds us that these were once someone’s flowers.
It is the persistence and beauty of daylilies that makes them a fine choice in gardens today. They’ll continue to be there each summer — even when you and I are long gone.
The tall daylilies with orange blooms found along the roadsides and at old, abandoned homesites are an older variety called tawny daylily.
The tawny daylily grows to between 2 and 3 feet tall and blooms from June through July. The slightly fragrant flowers open in the morning and close around dark, never to open again. However, because there are many flower buds on each stem and many stems in a clump, plants may bloom for several weeks.
Legend indicates that the tawny daylily was brought to North America by sea captains, who presented the flowers to their wives after traveling the Orient. Following its introduction, the tawny daylily was widely cultivated in North American gardens, and escaped plants may now be found scattered throughout temperate regions of the continent.
For years, until about 1860, the tawny daylily was the only daylily grown in the United States. It is believed these plants were passed along from person to person. During those times, there probably wasn’t much of an emphasis on flower gardens, like there is today. Imagine when the roads were made of dirt, kids and chickens were running around the home and the only thing growing in the yard may have been a few daylilies.
Years later, it is those same daylilies that have escaped and survived.
These roadside daylilies are now considered an old-fashioned plant, and very few are grown around the home. Instead, we have many newer varieties and colors of daylilies to choose from.
But it is the hardiness and history of the tawny daylily that makes it special. It is something to find a plant that is so well-adapted to the South and has thrived for so very long.
To most people, it is a forgotten flower. It lives on, with its long, rich history, whether anyone cares or not.
Black spots on your tomatoes?
Blossom-end rot can best be described as the black spot or rotting that occurs on the underside of the tomato or fruit.
Blossom-end rot is caused by calcium deficiency, usually due to fluctuations in the water supply. Because calcium is not a highly mobile element, even the briefest changes in the water supply can cause blossom-end rot.
Soil under drought conditions, or damage to the roots from excessive or improper cultivation that restricts water uptake, can prevent plants from getting the calcium they need. Also, if plants are growing in highly acidic soil or are getting too much water from either heavy rain, overirrigation or high relative humidity, they can develop calcium deficiency and blossom-end rot.
Controlling and preventing blossom-end rot will require a few things.
• Perform a soil test to check the pH and determine the proper nutrients that are needed.
• Maintain soil pH at 6.0 to 6.5.
• Add lime before planting to raise the pH if it is out of balance.
• Apply the recommended amount of fertilizer based on soil test results.
• Use a mulch (pine straw, straw, decomposed sawdust, plastic or newspapers) to conserve soil moisture.
• Supply plants with adequate amounts of water (approximately 1 1/2 inches of water per week during fruiting).
• For temporary relief of blossom-end rot, spray plants that develop a calcium deficiency with a calcium solution (calcium nitrate or calcium chloride) to provide a quick source of calcium. Be careful: calcium chloride can burn plants if day temperatures exceed 85 to 90 degrees F.
Spraying calcium is not a substitute for long-term calcium management. Proper irrigation and a balanced fertility program will achieve this.
Dealing with wasp nests
Wasp nests are one of the most frightening and dangerous things people can come in contact with. Many times, people don’t even know a wasp nest is there until attacked and stung by the wasps.
Although wasps are beneficial insects, it is hard to justify having them build nests where people may come in direct contact with them. Young children are especially vulnerable, since they may not know about wasps or notice them.
It is a good idea to look around your home and locate potentially dangerous wasp nests.
Wasps will build on any surface that is protected from the elements, especially in the corners of windows and doors, under eaves, porches, decks, and railings, along rafters, and in almost all outdoor buildings.
If you locate a wasp nest, you can then determine what strategy you wish to try: leave it alone, or get rid of it.
Insecticide sprays sold as wasp and hornet killer are very effective, since they typically spray long distances and kill the wasps on contact. These products can be purchased at almost any department store, grocery store or home or garden center.
Shane Harris is an extension agent for the Alabama Cooperative Extension System. For help on other home and garden questions, contact your local county extension office.