Monthly Archives: July 2011

Beautiful for a Day

yellow daylily

Yes, I’m talking about Daylilies. The Latin name for the Daylily genus is Hemerocallis, which comes from two Greek words meaning “day” and “beautiful”. The beautiful flowers of the Daylilies last for only 24 hours, sometimes only sunrise to sunset, with new buds opening each day.  Despite this, they are well-worth growing. Daylilies come in a wide range of colors and forms, and most importantly perhaps, are really easy to grow. They are hardy in zones 1 -11 (depending on the species and cultivar).  Like many garden favorites, they prefer full sun and fertile, well drained soil. That said, I have found them to be very adaptable to different conditions here at the Botanical Gardens.

red daylily

Daylilies are native to Europe and Asia, and were brought to North America by early settlers for their gardens. They soon escaped, and have naturalized to the point that many people think they are native wildflowers. The most widespread is the Tawny Daylily, Hemerocallis fulva, whose  common names include Roadside Lily and  Tiger Lily. H. fulva can spread aggressively and is considered an invasive weed in some parts of the country. Fortunately, most Daylilies, although not natives, are well-behaved.

pinkish daylily

There are many Daylilies at the URI Botanical Gardens with colors ranging from lavender to orange.  Some are bicolor, some have ruffled petals.  A few are fragrant.  Some have narrow petals and some look almost round.  They range from 18 inches tall to 36 inches,  or even more. They grow in sun and shade.  In other words, they are a diverse genus, blooming throughout the summer and adding great color to the garden.

yellow daylily clump

One last thought:  The Daylilies  were already here when I began working at the Botanical Gardens. Almost all of them were unlabeled.  According to the American Hemerocallis Society,  there are over 60,000 registered cultivars  of Daylilies! A quick search of “Daylily Photo Galleries” brings up thousands of pictures. So,  it may be a while before I know all their names  🙂 .

pink and yellow daylily

peach daylily

ruffled lavender daylily

bicolor daylily

red and yellow daylilies


July Heaven

day lilies anthemis globe thistle

July is hot, no doubt. Even the photos seem to radiate the heat of the day. It’s been dry, and the weeds slow down, but everything is a little droopy under the fierce sun and high humidity. I love the garden in full summer: Day Lilies, Echinacea, Bee Balm, and Black-Eyed Susies all clamoring for attention. There are cherry tomatoes from our All-America Display Garden to throw in my salad at lunch time, and the pumpkin vines seem to double in size every night. The garden is bright and hot.

lizzano cherry tomato

In contrast, the  ‘Annabelle’  Hydrangeas, in full bloom under the Kolreuteria,  look cool and delightful.  As the shadows lengthen, it’s an inviting spot for a picnic, or a nap.  The water garden calls out at this time of year, the trickling sound of the waterfall somehow bringing the temperature down.

annabelle hydrangeas


I’ll work in the sun for a while, then in the shade, that way the day passes quickly.  And if I can get to Matunuck for a swim after work, July is pretty much my idea of heaven!

black eyed susies