I’ll own to being lazy. It’s mostly on account of my curmudgeonly front yard.
I say “English cottage garden” and it snarls back with sieve-like feet upon feet of inert yellow sand. (Thank you, Lake Iroquois.) I think “peonies” – it hands me a thirsty webwork of impenetrable Norway maple roots. And shade. Lots of shade.
So anything that stands up to such curmugeonliness gets cheers from me.
Which brings me to today’s Pollyanna, the plain old orange daylily, tiger daylily or ditch lily, Hemerocallis fulva. It runs through my garden with a happy tra la la la la. And when I say runs, I mean scampers, sprints, lopes, tears, gallops and bounds. To keep it in check, I am constantly yanking up shoots and roots. When it blooms, all is forgiven. But it’s over so quickly.
Recently, from the always (and all ways) entertaining Paghat’s Garden, I was awakened to the fact that many of the daylily parts I’ve been tossing on the compost heap are edible. Those young shoots and roots and both the flower buds and spent blooms all have food value. A little more research found this article on how to eat daylilies on Honest Food. Hmmm, something to chew on.
But, really, the tawny daylily is a poor cousin to the many, many, many variations that busy hybridizers have been creating. These days, it’s not the vigor of the roots that counts, it’s the vigor of the flowering scapes – with their mind-boggling numbers of buds. Think about it: a scape bred to produce 31 buds would mean nearly a whole month of bloom – not just the week or so my tawnies give me.
If I weren’t so lazy, I’d be digging up all the tawnies right now (well, right after they finish blooming) and replacing them with something better, sturdier, bloomier and quite possibly fragrant. Of course, I’d have be sure no roots had escaped my spade before planting anything new. Sigh.
To prove I’m not a totally monogamous daylily lover, here’s a rare bloom of H. ‘Gentle Shepherd’.
The Ontario Daylily Society has a whole page of Canadian hybridizers and growers to choose from. I just expended a lot of drool browsing through a couple of Southern Ontario sites, The Potting Shed near Dunnville and We’re In the Hayfield Now east of Bowmanville.
It’s the right time of year to see daylilies in bloom, to meet the ones you love face to face. [Note: written in 2009; check for current info.] The Potting Shed is open for viewing daily, 9 to 5, from May to the end of September. We’re In the Hayfield Now has a special open garden at the end of this month, July 24, 25 and 26 from 10am to 4pm. Wish I could be there.
Meanwhile, I’ll resort to lazy-faire and, like Scarlett O’Hara, I’ll think about that tomorrow.