Amaryllis for sale at a grocery store in Kapa‘a. Photo by Léo Azambuja
We should have been suspicious when the daylily named Little Grapette was taller than any rose bush in our garden. In catalogues, it’s a foot all, pleasantly purple but not rich, royal and velvety. We’d grown a winner! Something was going on.
These were Mainland Daylilies, not “Hawaiian Daylilies” (sometimes called Naked Ladies) or Amaryllis.
There are secrets to earning neighbors’ garden-envy. A pinch of sugar in the sand when you plant bulbs can encourage rooting. Weekly spraying with liquid tomato fertilizer brightens the blossoms. Clumps of cat-hair in pantyhose pouches laid between the rows discourage hungry rabbits. And chili peppers stuffed with tobacco (chili rellenos con snuff) work when cat hair won’t. If you see a wheezing rabbit with runny eyes, fleeing the garden, you’ll know where he’s been … and won’t go again.
My wife’s most effective stratagem contradicts familiar practices. Some gardeners croon lullabies to their seedlings. My wife doesn’t plead; she gives orders! She sits on a stool, mid-garden, cranks up a chainsaw, and threatens the young plants with the waving saw, “Grow, or else!” The tender shoots cringe away from her vehemence and stretch taller in self-defense
She’s patched a bucket into the garden drip system and fills it daily to feed Miracle-Gro to the base of each plant. Plants send out hungry tendrils seeking the source of nutrition. (We hack back the tangle with machetes). Both her thumbs are emerald green. But even she couldn’t explain the 12-foot circular patch of waist-high miniatures at the foot of the garden.
Miniature daylilies should be … well … miniature. Ours cast deep shade over the tomato plants. Their thick spreading roots have broken through the asphalt driveway and hoisted the railroad ties bordering the garden walk.