Saturday, June 16, 2012

Daylilies


We have these all over Indiana.   They are a native Hemerocalis, commonly called daylilies, but I grew up calling them Tiger Lilies.   Maybe it was misinformation, maybe it was just a northern Indiana thing.   Any of the rest of you call them Tiger Lilies?

When I was growing up, there was a big one of these back behind the barn, growing through the crack in the old concrete pad where they used to bring the cows through to the milking stands at the bottom of the barn, way back when the farm was doing the dairy thing - long before we owned what little was left of the farm.  

That lily grew cheek by jowl along with a black raspberry bush and the lilies bloomed just before the black raspberries ripened.   The pair will forever in my mind be linked to the hot days of real summer.  Summer after school let out for the year. 

They're blooming here great guns right now, great drifts of them along the roadsides.    They spread easily and transplant brilliantly.   I have a nice patch out my dining room windows in front of the deck.   They are tall and lanky.   Most of the wild ones around here are 4 feet tall or more.

We also have a whole bunch of other daylily hybrids in our gardens.   I love them because they have a long season and because they come in such a huge variety of colors and forms. 

The deer love them, too.   Love. Them.   Love to come up and eat the buds just before they bloom.

Which is why we have a dog. 

As pretty and sophisticated as they are, none of the hybrids will ever have the exuberance of a half acre of these orange beauties hanging out at the side of the road, though.   Plus, the wild ones match the street signs. 

I love that.


6 comments:

  1. In the Netherlands, we call them tiger lilies too, so I guess the name has traveled far and wide and actually goes a long way back :-)
    I love how they color your roadsides, it's really pretty!

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    1. Hi Claudia! That's really interesting! I'm wondering if daylilies are native here or if they came over from Europe. They're certainly at home here...like dandelions - which are a European transplant.

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    2. Hi Robin! I love little mysteries like these. According to my (superficial) research, daylilies are native to Europe and Asia. The latter being home to the tiger, that might very well explain the nickname tiger lilies, don't you agree? (Oh, how I enjoy etymology...)

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  2. Why do the deer only seem to enjoy the ones we pay $$$ for an plant in our gardens instead of the free ones along the roads and fields?? :)

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  3. yeah, I always called them tiger lilies too. :) I am in east central IL, so am pretty close to you. I love these things.

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  4. We call them day lilies probably because we already know what tiger lilies are and these aren't it. ;) I've actually heard people call them ditch lilies because they grow in ditches.

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