The Day Lily Controversy

Having already come out strongly against paper cuts of any kind, today I wish to turn my soap box upside down and make it into a planter for the (not so humble) Day Lilly. As with all controversial topics, some of you are already raising your hackles at my mere mention of Hemerocallis. I naturally respect your right to be wrong. If someone in your political club expressed these same views you might fall all over yourself complimenting the ration, reason and even handedness. I am a martyr for the earths forgotten flowers.

My Red Neck neighbor (whose stance on the issues you can probably guess), is anti-Hemerocallis. He stares at them in disbelief and says, “That flower is only good for one day? Well, what good is a flower like that?” We have that conversation every year.

My more politically correct friends (which is not the same as being politically left) explain patiently and endlessly how the native plant movement would grace my garden better, as in the high desert, shade is most certainly required and richer soil than nature provides us. While drought tolerance is a Day Lily virtue, tolerance (as the internet teaches us) is relative and they insist on a decent drink twice a week. Certainly the cactus drink less.

I would argue passionately and even bitterly that the brevity of an individual Day Lily bloom intensifies its beauty. The perfect motion in dance lasts a few brief seconds and dance is rarely condemned for its transient nature.

I have struck what seems to me a compromise and have only three varieties, all well planted (amended soil with only a few hours of direct sun). I save every drop of roof water to mitigate my garden crimes.

This is Prairie Blue Eyes:

This is Minnie Pearl:

This is a Tetraploid whose tag fell out of the pot on the way home:

I apologize for not weighing in on this subject sooner as I am aware (and have previously stated) that many are unable to select from the opinion buffet of canned thought until I have spoken. I decided to wait until the big game was on to speak out, as this nicely sidesteps the worst of the right wing Gladiators from even reading this post.

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20 Responses to Controversy

  1. Little Sun says:


    I am reminded of a curling wisp of mist I was blessed enough to witness, once upon a time, 32 years ago… a supposedly transient touch of beauty which often sustains and nurtures me all these many years later.

  2. Barbara says:

    I want that mini pear…..absolutely lovely. Now, to my back yard (a small patio space of wood, suspended above the grounded patio below), it is bereft of even the slightest greenery at the moment. However, there are spell binding layers of ice over chairs, table, and cabinet that grace it in this bitter winter ugliness. Now I will have to wait till spring to see if I might be able to grow one of those lovely flowers in a pot that will become my spring/summer garden. 😀
    Hugs and Love…….and happy gardening. BTW, how do the cacti survive the winter cold that you have had? I had always assumed they would not tolerate the bitterness of winter.

    • osolynden says:

      Pot gardening can be rewarding and fun! I have often done it. Cactus come in many flavors. The natives here survive things like a few days ago when they were buried in snow and it got down to 24 below… They cannot survive long periods of wet feet… but they laugh at the cold. Here is another favorite I have in my yard….

  3. Barbara says:

    *minnie pearl* and where, btw, is her hat. 😉

  4. Cary Ryerson says:

    What kind of a MORON asks that kind of question about nature??? I had TONS of Hemero-callis all around my parent’s yard and I loved EVERY one of them. Some varieties bloom ALL season long, but the really BEAUTIFUL ones only bloom for about 1-2 weeks daily……………… we TRULY appreciate that beauty, if only for a short time. ANY MORON KNOWS THIS…………………… the question is………………why doesn’t your (seemingly knowledgeable) horticulture snob of a neighbor know this????

    • osolynden says:

      The man is a MORAN for sure. The red neck type who says I am his best friend but he hates Gays, but I am different…. Here is a recent photo of him….

      There are good things about the man to be sure. When my heat needed to be repaired a few weeks ago he loaned me the money and agreed to time payments. But deep down in side. He has a lot of bad upbringing that he will never shed.

      I never met a flower I didn’t love Cary. I wonder sometimes what they must look like to the full color sighted? 😉 I would probably love them even more.

  5. The Damn Yankee says:

    Our back garden embankment is almost all lillys in so many varieties (love the scented ones) that it’s in bloom all summer. Just recently I planted day lillies along the outside of the fence on the curve of our side yard, they bloom in August up here.
    YOUR gardens, dear Mr. Bear, are lovely and tranquil with startling colors and shapes.. how I’d love to view them one day.

    • osolynden says:

      LOL your name of the day dear one… I too would love to visit your world. What will be will be. Few seem to know about early mid and late bloomers and how to mix and sustain color. Let’s face it. Some of us are born to garden. Others are not interested enough to learn. My neighbors spend many hundreds each season at the greenhouse buying all the wrong things, bring it home and put it in all the wrong places, watch it die and the next season they lather rinse and repeat…. 😉

  6. Mel Avender says:

    I knew an elder someone who felt the same way about the ‘transience’ of tulips. Huh? Remember the ones in our once charming courtyard that bloomed under the last of the Rodriguez family’s apple trees? The sole survivor of an orchard that once stretched from Delgado Street to the corner of Palace Avenue and Alameda. Now, none of them exist. Not the tree, the tulips, or the elder someone. Except in memory – the gallery of the mind.

    • osolynden says:

      I have joyful lovely memories of that courtyard garden. Also of a very peculiar and lovely cloud reflected in the flooded mirror of White Sands… Beauty rarely lasts except in the gallery of our minds.

      • Mel Avender says:

        It was the winter solstice. Sunset. White snow on White Sands pale orange by contrast. A dark turquoise sky with one long serpentine cloud reflected lavender in pools of still water that doubled the colorful numbers of sail-like picnic shelters. We both stood, jaws agape, in transfixed awe. Who could ever possibly forget?

  7. Robert C. Goble says:

    Day lilies around this corner of the woods are mostly orange and yellow. And each summer day, brave a new flower for me to enjoy. It can be quite controversial to portray these beauties as daily commuters toward the skies, but they are. Thanks for missing the game for us all to write about the joys of our lives- nature.


  8. osolynden says:

    Brought in originally from Asia, Hemerocallis Fulva has gone wild in many places and is even called the “Ditch Lilly”… The more exotic colors are of course hybrids, and catalogs pictures of exotic lilies are a real winter treat for me. Football, schmootball.

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