Saturday, June 12, 2010

CONSIDER THE LILIES…

When I ambled up the the driveway hill earlier today, Moon the dog at my heels, you could rightly say I was on a Biblical mission—at least I was heeding that directive from Luke to "Consider the lilies…"
The lilies in question were several dozen orange day-lilies, topping three-foot high stalks. They grow in a bathtub-sized clump about a third of the way down the slope from the road, and have been blooming profusely for the past ten days. Mine always begin their blooming cycle somewhat later than similar lily patches belonging to my neighbors. Why this is so remains a mystery—though perhaps it is due to something in the lilies themselves, a slight variation of their individual strain, or possibly one of several micro-climate aspects such as shade patterns, soil composition, or even an effect caused by the nearby river.
Before the rain, the stamen's anthers
are loaded with grains of yellow pollen…
Day lilies are perennials. These particular wild examples are Hemerocallis fulva, or Tawny Day Lily, originally natives of Asia, and introduced to North America in the 17th Century by early European settlers. Orange day lilies have naturalized well and wild patches are especially common hereabouts.
(before)
The lily's blooms are large, 3-4 inches across. Each flower consists of three petals and three sepals (collectively called tepals) quite similar in appearance. The flower's throat is yellow, surrounded by a banding of red, which gives way to shades of orange. The bloom's center sports six long stamens and single, even longer, style. As their name implies, each individual flower lasts only a day—though the panicle at the end of the stalk holds several waiting blooms. The long, sword-like green leaves arise from "fans" at ground level, forming a thick, graceful clump.
and after the showers, the pollen has washed off
and the anthers are dark and soggy.
Sometimes these orange lilies produce rows of black seeds in their seed capsules, but the seeds are infertile. The plant spreads through roots and rhizomes. They are hardy, and easily divided and replanted—which is how they became so widespread. It's also why you find them growing around old home sites, often being the only remaining sign that a house once stood nearby. The old folks regularly planted these orange lilies around their homes, barns, and similar outbuilding—sometimes to act as natural screening. That's why you occasionally still hear someone refer to them as Wash-House Lily or Out-House Lily. I've also heard them called Ditch Lily and RailroadLily, since they were regularly planted thereabouts, as well.
(after)
I don't much like such names…they seem too coarse, too unappreciative of such beauty; disrespectful. Orange day lilies deserve better.
Blooms yet to come…
Alas, these ubiquitous and common orange day lilies have currently fallen out of favor, and are nowadays regarded as old fashioned for modern gardens. But not here—not in my yard and eyes and heart. I've considered the lovely lilies…and remain delighted by what I saw.
——————

14 comments:

Joy K. said...

I've become very fond of orange flowers. I like these lilies not just for their color, but because their leaves are so lovely, too.

A from To said...

Now those are a thing of beauty-love your lilies-great colour shots-highly paintable-nice contrast between orange and green-and not a snake or vulture in sight.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Joy K…

Funny you should put it that way…as I've also found myself becoming more and more a fan of orange flowers, as well. I didn't used to much like orange as a color in anything—from tee shirts to wildflowers. It wasn't that I liked only primary colors; I just didn't care for orange. Nowadays, my orange prejudice is slacking off…especially re. flower colors. In the flower garden, orange and yellow, worked against red, like a string of dried chilies, simply personify summer—the heat and season, even the mood.

(Still only own one orange tee shirt, though.)

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

A from TO…

Nope, nor a spider, either! I think the first shot is the best.

Gail said...

Hi Grizz-

Great pictures, before and after AND wonderful information too. I love lilies - they are everywhere around here - spewing color and pollen to all - AND i wore an orange shirt today with a colored stone necklace swirled around with orange, green, gold glitter and white - it looks like one of this big spiral, multi-colored lollipops and it is on a bright orange ribbon type chain.

I digress.

So yes, I love the lilies and Ilearned something new today, I always thought that liies was spelled lillies, with two l's, huh. who knew? well, now I do. :-) heehee.

Love you and your magic camera too and your knowledge of all things nature.

Love Gail
peace and hope and orange....

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Gail…

Glad you liked my lily post and pix. Your orange shirt and matching necklace sounds nice…and just to prove how "into orange" I am, I've just been up in the attic retrieving a box of my summer tees, including my orange one, which I will wear and do my impression of a traffic cone.

Just between you and me, I also used to think the plural of lily was spelled "lillies." I'm sure there's some stupid rule why it isn't, but it feels like that ought to be right to me, too.

I hope you're doing okay…

KGMom said...

Scribe--I love these lilies--I look forward to their blooming every year. The blooming time is too short for me.
We have friends who bought a small farm, and have planted there all manner of day lilies in varying shades from pale yellow to orange to peach to pink.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

KGMom…

I love day lilies, too. There are neighbors up the road who must have at least a dozen colors of lilies in a fifty-foot swath on either side of their drive, now all in bloom. I keep meaning to put out some other shades here, too…but until I do, these old orange blooms are more than sufficient.

The Weaver of Grass said...

I love day lilies - there is a patch of yellow ones in our front garden - shall take you a photograph when the rain stops!
Imagine them growing wild - how wonderful. Sad that they have fallen out of favour - it is as though people only want rareties in their gardens. Rather like what used to be called Monbretia here and has now been reborn as Crocosmia - people don't want it because it has escaped and is growing in the hedgerow.
My tiger lilies in a deep blue pot are well in bud. I shall post a photo when they finally burst forth.
Have a lovely weekend down there by that lovely river. Any baby ducklings about?

bobbie said...

I dearly love the day lily. A few appeared in the middle of my yard, totally unexpected, about four years ago. I moved them to my garden, and they have since multiplied many times, much to my delight.

Tramp said...

A very interesting post, Griz.
I also feel the need for another "l" in there, probably because the "i" is short and it I feel it needs protecting from any following vowels to stop it sounding like the "i" "lilac". I'm not enough of a botanist or Latin scholar to know how to pronounce the Latin family (Liliaceae?).
Anyway I will never be rude to a traffic cone again...Tramp

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Weaver…

Worldwide, there are only about twenty species of day lilies—but from these have come more than 20,000 hybrids. The orange day lily so common hereabouts (and equally common throughout the world) are one of the oldest hybrids. But by whatever reasoning—which I must admit escapes me entirely—flowers fall out of favor. Gardeners demand new, new, new, different plants, different colors…and toss out the older, and often more lovely stuff. As I said, I don't understand this. I like plants and tools and books and people which have stood the test of time. I like old roses and old day lilies. They may be old fashioned, or "heirloom" varieties, but so what? They were and still are lovely.

I'm looking forward to the photos. And, nope, no little fuzzy ducklings.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Tramp…

It's funny, but there are several words which I never think look right in their spelling—and I've had to learn how tho spell them in spite of myself.

Actually, day lilies are not true lilies, and thus not members of the Liliaceae family—so your Latin abilities will not be called into question. (FYI, my attempts at Latin pronunciation are often pathetically laughable, so don't feel bad.)

Day lilies are members of the Hemerocallidaceae (now there's a real Latin word to get your mind and tongue around!) family, though they used to be considered a Liliaceae. DNA testing has changed more than just paternity tests and making serial killers and burglars wear gloves. Birds and wildflowers and all manner of living things are being moved about and renamed in classification.

Yes, be cautious re. those orange cones…you never know when I'll be one.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Bobbie…

That's the great thing about day lilies, you can move them around like patio furniture—dig them up, stick them in a bucket, and so long as you keep them damp and more-or-less in the shade, they'll still be fine a week or a month later! And if you really treat 'em right, they'll bloom and multiply to beat the band.