Hi Cookie Bear,
Don't worry about being a rookie, we all started that way.
I noticed you had other questions that I answered so I'd like to suggest that you add your hardiness zone to your profile like mine so we won't have to ask and you won't have to remember to tell us.
The leaf yellowing of your shrubs and daylilies could be a form of chlorosis. Are all the leaves of your daylily yellowing or just inner or outer leaves? Here's some sites to see if you can id if it's chlorosis.http://plantclinic.cornell.edu/FactShee ... orosis.htmhttp://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/garden/07728.htmlhttp://www.urbanext.uiuc.edu/focus/chlorosis.html
Hydrangeas do get leaf spot diseases. Take a look here to see if you can id which one and we can go from there.http://www.aces.edu/pubs/docs/A/ANR-1212/ANR-1212.pdf
Here's some helpful info on growing hydrangeas. You may not see alot of bloom the first year, especially with all this heat.http://www.helpfulgardener.com/hydrange ... index.html
With rocky and clay soil adding lots of compost to the planting bed will help your plants alot. The organic matter will help retain moisture and improve the texture of the clay.