My mother used to call the early days of July “Tiger Lily Days.” Sure enough, look around and you will see those orange beauties blooming along the byways, in front of stone walls, and more formally in garden beds. I couldn’t remember if Tiger Lilies grew in the Topsmead gardens so, despite the threatening grey skies, I grabbed my rain jacket and my poodle Gloria’s leash, and off we went to find out.
Arriving at Topsmead, I pulled a just-in-case dog poop bag from the holder at the corner of the parking lot, and we tramped up to the house through the heavy humidity that was quivering with the possibility of afternoon thunderstorms. At the back door of the dovecote, Gloria enjoyed a quick drink from the dog bowls that DEEP workers thoughtfully keep filled for visiting pooches. (Miss Edith, a dog lover, would surely approve.)
We did not find any orange Tiger Lilies, but we did find a wealth of bright yellow Stella Doro daylilies happily blooming in both the north walled garden and the south garden outside of the house’s great room and Miss Lucy’s flower room.
According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, the daylily’s botanical name, Hemerocallis, comes from the Greek hemera (“day”) and kallos (“beauty”). Linking the name of those Stella Doro daylilies to “beauty” made perfect sense to me, but why link their name to “day”?
After a bit more reading about daylilies in the Almanac, I learned that each daylily blossom lasts only one day. Gosh, I thought—that seems a bit profligate: blooms that last for only one day. But wait, the Topsmead daylilies seem to bloom continuously so how to explain that? Well, the Almanac goes on to say that “each scape has 12 to 15 buds on it, and a mature plant can have 4 to 6 scapes.” Good, but wait. What is a scape? According to the American Daylily Society, a scape is a flower stalk without leaves.
Now that I have a better understanding of the daily modus operandi of the daylily, I think we could take a life lesson from the simple daylilies in Miss Edith’s gardens: live the blossom of each day to the fullest, knowing that you will have another blossom for each next day.