The Wrong Lilies

The Wrong Lilies

Sunday, June 12, 2016


Every gardener has something that pulls and pushes them, that they cannot have too much of, that fills them with delight.  For me that plant is the daylily.  For every plant that a gardener loves, there will be some or even many who do not see the pleasure.  Many gardeners say, “but the flowers only last one day”.  And that is true.  Unlike zinnias and marigolds and roses and so many other wonderful plants, the daylily flower lasts one day, hence its name.

But let me make a case for daylilies.  First of all, they are tough and frequently fragrant and come in a rainbow of colors and sizes and every bit of them is edible from flower to root to leaf (a fact I have not yet decided to try out personally).  And yes that makes them salad for deer and bunnies and thus they must be defended.  But here’s the true wonder of them.  After one has been taught a bit of patience by waiting a season or two for the daylily to get established, which is true of all perennials, the daylily will send up stem after stem after stem, each stem with a cluster of buds.  And day after day after day, those buds will open and bloom.  And when a gardener has lost their judgement (not mentioning any names here) and has filled every possible space with daylilies, then day after day after day there is a riot of color.  Oranges and yellows and reds and golds and creamy whites and a purple here and there.  And there are early and midseason and late blooming daylilies so that there can be blooms for months, from spring to fall.

And even after the daylilies quieten down and zinnias and marigolds and roses and so many other wonderful plants are still bringing us their colors, the lesson of the daylilies remains.  For me, they remind that beauty of every form and source is fleeting and all the more a reminder that we must cherish beauty for however long it lasts.  And each other.

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