Saturday, June 26, 2010

Ditch Lilies

It's daylily season.
I've been tagging them as they bloom, trying to make sense of the patchwork of varieties given by family and friends, found here, saved from a former home, moved around the yard, purchased from plant sales or the Clearance table at Lowe's (I'm always trying to save something!)
I know the names of only one or two. Each plant has a story - this is the one about the ditch lilies.
A few years ago, I was taking a shortcut to Battleground Avenue and passes a neat little cottage with a flower-filled yard. By the street was a sign - Ditch Lilies, Free.
I stopped and chatted with the owner. She'd been overrun with them and was offering them free "for the digging." This was in September, their flowering done. So I dug a basketful and planted them on Elam Avenue.
I moved them a couple of times, along with the rest, and kept watching for blooms. Never happened. What could be wrong? Ditch lilies are the toughest of creatures. A fellow GSO gardener had this to say.
Finally, I got it.
The ditch lily I was thinking of, Hemerocallis fulva, was a strong grower, long stems, and single orange blooms. It's sister to the more elegant lemon lily, Hemerocallis flava, and when then grow together, tends to overwhelm it.
The ditch lilies I dug that day, and have moved, have indeed bloomed. They are double, with red flashings at the base of the petals. They are called Kwanso, I think.
I know this because I passed along clumps of ditch lilies to a neighbor. Those bloomed famously this year, and I spotted the same flowers here and there among my beds.
Mistaken identity, solved!

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