One of the true joys of summer for me is growing daylilies. They don’t require a lot of care and they reward me with many blooms, each one lasting only one day. When I spoke about that detail in my sermon one Sunday, I was surprised how few people realized it. I guess we are so used to mums and dahlias, orchids and even African violets whose flowers last for a week or even weeks that the idea of a flower lasting only one day seems strange. But as I mentioned that Sunday, the fact that the bouquet in my garden is different every day gives it an invigorating charm. I go out looking for the new blossoms every day that I can. The light patterns, the dew on the blossoms, critters hiding or not all add to the interest.
I have developed a little of a collectors mentality about it too with over 30 varieties now. I have some daylilies just because they are odd—one blooms at night, another that I just planted is unusually tall, another is a double named Yellow Submarine. Some are fragrant. Several are spider daylilies, which means they have narrow petals rather than usual fuller round ones. Some varieties have ruffled edges. Colors range from a very dark maroon – inherited from Grandma Isaman–to a white one I bought called Nanuq. I seem to prefer the orange and gold hues, though I have some striking red and yellow mixes now that will almost take your breath away. Except for the picture of me visiting Grace Gardens, all the daylilies in the slides are from my garden.
Grandma got me started
When I was a boy, my Grandma, Jessie Isaman would pay us boys for helping her pull the quack grass from her large flower garden. Her garden featured eight or ten different dayliles among the many other perennials and I grew to love their annual display. Grandma died the same year I became a pastor, and my Mom encouraged me to take a small division from most of her daylilies with me when I moved to my first parsonage in Bentley Creek, PA. I built a tiered daylily garden in the back and the daylily clumps grew well. When I moved to Kirkville, I took part of each clump, threw them in a crate and stuffed it in the tractor trailer with my household goods. Later that summer I unpacked the crate, planted the brown clumps and every one grew. So I have most of my Grandma’s daylilies as the beginning of my collection. One of them, Frans Hall, is still sold today. Another is a fragrant yellow that I think is as fragrant as any newer cultivar I have.