Time to Rate This Season

August 13, 2019

It began with the spring-flowering trees and shrubs. The display was magnificent, with nothing like it in memory. It followed through with peonies (though a week of hot weather was a spoiler). Roses did not really participate, since the winter had taken its toll.
Though the winter was severe, the cold was protracted, and the spring here (unlike north of here) did not have the fluctuation of last year. Indeed, there were no freezes after early April.
Eagerly, we anticipated what this would mean for the daylily season. The first signs were clear. June was not abnormally hot, and while moisture was greater than normal, it came so as not to spoil a lot of blooms. Stepping out in the morning, I was greeted with overwhelming abundance. One could tell already with earlier bloomers such as Lava Flow. Flowers were large, scapes well budded, colors intense, and form consistent.
Going into peak, the weather warmed a bit, but not the tropical temps experienced last year at peak, when it was unbearable by 10 a.m. It was a heady experience. I took far too many pictures, as I felt the need to somehow capture the splendor. Many plants that hadn't shown themselves well for years had shot up and showed what they could be. This year showed that water, water, water is to daylilies just as location, location, location is to real estate (well, location matters with daylilies too).
Some did not join the party. A few were mediocre, more like a typical year. Some were downright party poopers, having a bad year in the midst of plenty. Splotchiness was a problem with some cultivars that were relatively clean last year (in one of the worst years in recent memory). Some were down in the foliage while others were shooting up.
Severe heat arrived mid-July after peak. Then later came dryness. The late season was dismal. Lates in general here are subject to dryness, heat, and sometimes cold nights. We had all of them.
How does one sum it up? Well, there have been reports of bounty from all over. On this forum recently, someone in MA reported a stellar year. John Picard in Maine said it was his best year in two decades. Similar reports of a great year in North Carolina and PA. Michael Boumann (Missouri) reported a bumper year in seeds. But a bad year at Crintonic Gardens in northern Ohio. Michigan also unclear. This was the best year here in recent history, coming after a terrible year last year. But I don't hybridize, and I am not into lates. I would rate it an 8.5. Perfect? No, but many weeks it was pretty damn close. I would be delighted to see it repeated next year.

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