This mess of dead plant is really not a mess at all. And it's not dead - just sleeping. It's a daylily. A Hemerocallis 'Imperial Lemon' (Harris-Benz, 1985) daylily to be more precise.
When we hosted a garden tour for our local region 4 American Hemerocallis Society club - the Hudson Valley Iris and Daylily Society (HVIDS for short), one of the guests asked for a few fans (fancy daylily name for plants) of this particular one. I waited for it to die back before digging up a piece - this way the roots would get a chance to store up enough nutrients so it will bloom next year. I know this is the spot where this flower is, at least I hope it's the spot. Now, I just have to find the roots in this mess!
This is the desiccated scape (fancy word for stem) of the old flower. If I go about 4 inches around the base of this scape, I should get a good sized root mass to gift. When I push in the trowel, I'll move it out further if I meet real resistance from the roots, that way I won't slice through too many of the bigger ones and the plant will have a good chance of living through the winter.
I've freed up the roots from the garden bed and it is a really messy slimy mass of icky-ness (that's a technical term!).
The root mass is at the bottom and the dead leaves and stems are on top. I'll trim off the leaves and stems to neaten it up and also to get rid of any nesting bugs or mold spores. This will give the plant a better chance to make it in its' new home.
So pretty now! There is one little light green shoot sticking out of the middle of the plant. This particular daylily is semi-evergreen. That means that the leaves don't completely die off over the winter, but they don't completely live either. It's like a zombie - not quite alive, not quite dead.
I took a bunch of clean paper towels.
And laid the zombie daylily on them.
Then wrapped the paper towels around the zombie root mass making sure to leave the little shoot sticking out into the air on top.
I trussed up the paper towels with some twine - like a pork roast. Ummm - zombie pork roast?
Then I wet the paper towels with tepid (not too hot, not too cold) water to keep the roots moist until they are planted.
Then I tucked the zombie pork roast into a plastic zip top bag to hold in the moisture - but I didn't close it all the way.
Then I stuck the zip top bag zombie pork roast into a plain brown paper bag - because no one needs to know that you are walking around town with a zombie pork roast in a plastic zip top bag.
And I took it over to the HVIDS lecture and gifted it to it's new owner. He will plant it in his garden and next June the zip top bagged zombie pork roast will bloom.
And display these awesome 7-inch blossoms on 3-foot high stems. Then because it is a reblooming daylily, it will come back to life again at the beginning of July and bloom again. Sort of like a zombie coming back from the dead. Or a zombie pork roast.