Wild Things

I guess I liked daylilies even before I knew what they were. In the days of my youth I would admire the ‘wild” Tiger Lilies that grew along roadsides and in ditches. They appeared each summer, as if by magic. I didn’t know much about them, I just knew they were pretty and seemed to be carving out a rugged sort of existence wherever I saw them.

Fast forward a few years, and I learned they were not true Lilies, but rather Daylilies. The wild orange ones I remembered are Hemerocallis fulva, and they still come into bloom every summer. In fact, we have some blooming across the road from us.

This area would seem to be a good spot for them, for it’s just close enough to the utility pole guy wires to escape the mowing crews that maintain our county road. They’ve probably been growing there for years, unpampered, brightening up the view each summer for all who pass by.

While invasive to some and commonplace to many, up close you can see the flowers really deserve more attention than they usually get. They are as big as my hand, and a lovely shade of orange, with a yellow throat surrounded by reddish-orange petals. Like all daylilies they last for only a day. Thankfully these flowers are sterile, so the plant doesn’t make viable seed. If it did, it would really be trouble with a capital T!

closeup of Hemerocallis fulva

When we got settled in here we discovered we had some blooming in one of the beds that is shared with our neighbors. They let us have a few to spread around.

I do think they look better when grown in clumps. These in the photo below are growing in semi-shade, and seem to be more compact, but maybe with less flowers.

The ones we transplanted are growing a good 4-5ft tall, and it’s hard to believe they are from the same plant.

They sort of resemble gangly teenagers, towering over the other nearby plants. I think we will look for another home for them, where they will better fit in.

I realize in some areas these plants might be difficult to grow, but here they are truly wild things. And yes, they make my heart sing when they bloom. I guess you could even say they make me feel groovy!

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2 Responses to Wild Things

  1. That last shot is groovy indeed! I don’t think I’ve ever seen a daylily bloom with a stem that long! A very pretty flower though, and how lovely that they just grow wild where you are. I have a few Hemerocallis here, but only because I hunted them down and planted them.

  2. Meredith says:

    They are wild here, too, Villager, and blooming their hearts out right now on roadsides and in ditches. 🙂 I was also taught to call them “tiger lilies” as a child, and only realized the difference when I bought my mother some real tiger lily bulbs as a mother’s day present some years ago. We were all astonished at what came up. 😉

    Did you know these count as an edible wild food source? Crazy, but true. You can eat all parts of the plant, but I’m told the bulb is the tastiest, most nutritious bit.

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