Creative Uses for the Common Stella D’oro Daylily

October 9, 2012

stella d'oro daylily by rochelle greayer www.pithandvigor.comI love anthropomorphizing plants. Giving them names according to their personalities is my way of respecting the quirks of all the beings that reside in my garden.  It’s like earning a nickname.

All my Stella D’Oro daylilies go by Bob – and I have a bunch of them. They arrived as cast offs from all corners of clients yards and gardens.  Being one of the most ubiquitous (and subsequently, to my mind, boring) plants known to gardeners the name Bob just seems to fit.

Bob is easy to grow and is of course very reliable.  But making Bob a star takes a bit of styling. I equate Bob the Stella D’oro to the plain white t-shirt from the Gap. It’s nothing special its self but used correctly it can be a staple piece that makes a lot of other things sing. Here are a few of my ideas for pulling off that feat.

Bob blooms for a long time — butter yellow and generally has tidy grass-like foliage. Keep it clean and plant it en masse – not like a corporate office building mass, but more like an artistic mass. (Its a fine line, I know – the key is to not try too hard towards perfection).  I’m thinking of digging all of mine up and clumping them together on the weedy mound that resides in the middle of my driveway. A single yellow grassy mounded pile (I think) will stay on the right side of artsy.

Alternatively, use the punch of yellow as a punctuation mark. I’m thinking a clump (as in at least 7) at the tip of a perennial bed might provide a sufficient  exclamation mark.
The trick with Bob is that if you just let him mingle he will hide like the un-exciting wall flower that he is. You must hook him up with friends so that as a team they can command attention.

Sometimes it is the case that a Bob type character can become special by reflecting off the glory of something far more visually interesting. Look at what Susan Pleshette did for Bob Newhart. Her beauty (and the obvious question about how he managed to get her) made him shine far brighter than he did on his own.

I’d love to hear your ideas for plants that can be the Susan to our Bob — but here a a couple of mine.

pennisetum hamlinStella D’Oro Daylily with Pennisetum Hamlin. They are about the same height and both form interesting clumps. The combination would be strikingly modern and an interesting ground cover, particularly if the arrangement was thoughtfully  executed to highlight the topography of the planting area. Make stripes to lead the view to something interesting or use a checkerboard pattern to soften an awkward shape.

yellow and grey planting

Marigold ‘Day of the Dead Golden Yellow’,  Melianthus, Artemesia, Stella D’Oro Daylily

I’m also really into the idea of a distinctly yellow and grey planting.  Our yellow ‘Bob’ lilies, some artemisia, and perhaps another yellow flower (even marigolds could provide the right punch) and another silver texture (like Melianthus or one of a variety of green-tinged Helichrysum).   

What are some of your ideas for styling Stella D’oro daylilies into something special?

images by rochelle greayer with these exceptions, pennisetum hamlinMarigold ‘Day of the Dead Golden Yellow’,  Melianthus, Artemesia

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