July means day lilies (hemerocallis), and today the fireworks are just beginning to explode into bloom.  These are my favorite flowers.  As much as I love hydrangeas and my hansa roses, it is the day lilies that charm me the most.  The name “hemerocallis” means “bloom for a day” and that’s pretty much what day lilies do.  And, they do not actually belong to the lily family.

The Garden Lady stands sentinel in the day lily bed.

The Garden Lady stands sentinel in the day lily bed. That is Sea Urchin blooming to the left.  Red Rum is in the background.

It was colonists who brought day lilies to the New World, but it wasn’t until the 1930′s that hybridization really began. For centuries gardeners grew what are often referred to as “ditch lilies.”  These are the common orange flowers that we see growing wild along country roads, in old homestead sites, and in sunny meadows.  But those bright orange or sometimes yellow flowers are not native to North America.  They probably came to Europeans from China and other Asian countries where various parts of the plant were valued for their medicinal qualities.  Settlers carried day lily plants on horseback and in covered wagons across the North American continent.

Blooming today in the Secret Garden are Cystal Pinot, First Night, Sea Urchin, a nameless deep plum plant, and Red Rum.

But it’s not just day lilies that are gracing the garden.  Scroll down to see other shots.

The little miniature hostas that I bought a year ago are nestled near the back door.

The little miniature hostas that I bought a year ago are nestled near the back door.

Great Expectations, Francee, Stained Glass, and June are draping over the Secret Garden path, an indication that I really must thin these.

Great Expectations, Francee, Stained Glass, and June are draping over the Secret Garden path, an indication that I really must thin these.

This sunny path shows the Jean Davis lavender and Zagreb coreopsis.

This sunny path shows the Jean Davis lavender and Zagreb coreopsis.  In the foreground is First Knight about to bloom.

The red carpet rose provides a nice pop of color in the seating area of the Secret Garden.

The red carpet rose provides a nice pop of color in the seating area of the Secret Garden. That is Red Rum in the foreground to the right and Zagreb coreopsis in the left center.

The Crazy Daisy hasn't done well for the past couple of years, but it looked like it might be returning to health this year.  Until it flopped over.  Ergggg.

The Crazy Daisy hasn’t done well for the past couple of years, but it looked like it might be returning to health this year. Until it flopped over. Ergggg.

This Annabelle Hydrangea seems to be very happy this summer.  This is such a pleasant change.  Last summer's heat and drought didn't make for happy mop heads of bloom.

This Annabelle Hydrangea seems to be very happy this summer. This is such a pleasant change. Last summer’s heat and drought didn’t make for happy mop heads of bloom.

First Knight

First Knight

Nameless plum day lily that I bought a couple years ago that the Fulton Street Market.

Nameless plum day lily that I bought a couple years ago that the Fulton Street Market.

Crystal Pinot

Crystal Pinot

Red Rum

Red Rum