What glorious days I’m living in,..you should see my yard! Half of our nearly ninety varieties are in full fantastic bloom! It’s an adventure every day. Watching as the colors paint themselves across our acre and a half of east coast heaven is a gift with every new dawning day.
Early in the day I am photographing who’s new for use in a catalog for next years market. In the evenings, I “deadhead” the plants and given that they’re daylilies there are a bunch of them every night. Prior to this busy week I would put the spent blooms in the compost pile. Well, not any more! Turns our daylilies make a great renewable resource for handmade paper. We’re growing absolute bucketfuls out there here’s to a new way to reap the benefits, A new day has come!
In my last post I mentioned that I would try to make handmade paper from the spent blooms. It’s been an interesting week as it turns out. The lilies have a viscous sturdy make up, so the resulting paper is durable and couldbe made with 100% lily pulp. The drawback was that with out paper content there is a degree of shrinkage as it dries, so a minimum of recycled paper seems necessary to ensure it keeps a predictable size and shape. Check out the samples below. They were all made with the same deckle and mould but larger paper/lily sheets have maintained their 5″x7″ size while the others with more pure lily pulp decreased in size by a full 3/4 of an inch.
Predicting color has its many considerations as well. To some degree, the lilies color the paper, but it must be said that the freshness of the flowers is proportionate to the strength of color. When they start to wilt the color isn’t as rich, and since the pulp is perishable vegetable matter, if they sit to long after you pick them the flesh goes brown like a bitten apple. The richest reds however have really potent dye and some of the richer yellows hold up well. The more pastel lilies loose their color almost completely. However. you can supplement color with the paper you add.
Their versatility knows no bounds because on top of everything else they are edible. In a salad they are beyond gorgeous. Of course by supper time they look like last weeks produce so best for lunch. They can be used to make jelly. flavor herbal vinegars, and there’s a heritage recipe for daylily fritters on line. Check out “The Delightful Delicious Daylily: Recipes and More” by Peter Gail. Seriously,who’d have thunk it?