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.
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.