"Pay attention to the world." -- Susan Sontag

Summer Daylilies (3 of 3): Red, Orange, and Yellow

From “History of the Daylily” in The Illustrated Guide to Daylilies by Oliver Billingslea:

“The modern daylily is a highly evolved plant, the ancestors of which were species native to the temperate parts of central and northern Asia. According to the American Botanical Society, the genus consists of some 13-15 species of evergreen, semi-evergreen, and dormant herbaceous perennials found growing along the margins of forests, in mountainous areas, marshy river valleys, and meadowlands in China, Korea, and Japan, and occasionally into Manchuria and eastern Siberia….

“The ancient Chinese, in particular, used the species for food and medicine. The flower buds were palatable and nutritious, and the root and crown often served as an effective pain reliever…. Because its flowers were bright and cheerful, the daylily also came to symbolize for the ancients an outlet for grief, its primary effect an emotional one….

“Two species brought to America were the orange H. fulva, commonly known as the ‘roadside’ or ‘homestead’ lily, and H. flava, the ‘Lemon Lily’ of early twentieth century gardens.”

From Colour in My Garden (1918) by Louise Beebe Wilder:

“Among the most lovely and useful of yellow flowers are the Day Lilies (Hemerocallis). Their colour is very pure and fine, and runs the scale from mild lemon colour to strong fuscous orange. The flowering season of the different varieties covers a period of nearly three months, and few plants grow with such hearty good will in all sorts of positions….

“Yet I seldom see any save the common Lemon Lily (Hemerocallis flava) made any great use of in gardens, and this, though truly lovely, is usually relegated to out-of-the-way places where more capricious things have scorned to grow. The Orange Day Lily (Hemerocallis fulva) we commonly see decorating the roadside near to some old garden, but its colour is magnificent and it is well worth a place within the garden.”


This is the last of three posts featuring photos of daylilies I took at Oakland Cemetery’s Gardens earlier this summer. The first post is Summer Daylilies (1 of 3): Burgundy and Yellow; and the second post is Summer Daylilies (2 of 3): Double-Double Orange-Orange.

The orange daylilies below are the “single” variation of the double Hemerocallis fulva that I showed in the second of these three posts.

Fuscous” — from the second quotation above — is a fun new word, don’t you think? I’d never heard it before, though perhaps it’s commonly used in Victorian-era botanical culture (or not). It means “dark” or “dark-hued” so let’s use it in a sentence. Here’s the Atlanta weather for today, which prompted me to increase the brightness on all these photos before posting them:

It was a fuscous and stormy day.

Pretty cool, huh?

Thanks for taking a look!

Summer Daylilies (2 of 3): Double-Double Orange-Orange

From “Daylilies by the Bouquetful” in One Man’s Garden by Henry Mitchell:

“Often I wonder how gardeners fared before the great surge of modern daylilies, as these are a mainstay of the summer garden. Most varieties last three weeks in bloom; that is, a well-grown clump with many flowering stems will show flowers for that long. And there are early and late kinds, so that the season is a good two months or even longer if very early and very late kinds are chosen. Daylily flowers range in size from one and a half to eight inches, on stems one to six feet high.

“Still, it is a mistake to think the daylily will take care of itself like a weed, as the wild Hemerocallis fulva does. That is the burnt-orange kind you see along alleys and at abandoned sites, where it persists along with chicory or dandelions….”

From Colour in My Garden (1918) by Louise Beebe Wilder:

“In Nature, broadly speaking, we find that red and scarlet and yellow are rare, given to us as stimulants, as vivid experiences. They are confined to sunset and sunrise skies, to autumn foliage and to flowers; while the ‘restful and reparative’ colours — blue, green, and violet, as revealed in the sky, the sea, the distance, and the great green setting of grass and trees — make up the beautiful commonplace of our daily seeing….

“Surely there is a lesson here. The constant perception of broad masses of emphatic, exciting colour would prove severely taxing, yet do we most surely need them here and there to bring out the quality of neutral colour, and to arouse the immobile beauty of the garden to glowing life.

“Yellow, orange, and scarlet flowers show to greatest advantage in full sunshine.”


This is the second of three posts featuring photos I took of daylilies at Oakland Cemetery’s Gardens earlier this summer. The first post is Summer Daylilies (1 of 3): Burgundy and Yellow.

I’ve always referred to this particular daylily as “double orange” (or sometimes “double-double orange-orange” because it’s so large) — but discovered today that it is actually a variation of one called Hemerocallis fulva as you can also see if you do an image search for “double hemerocallis fulva” on Google.

I took a few pictures of similar daylilies last year when I hadn’t yet learned that daylilies are not actually lilies, so those older photos are mixed in with true lilies on this post: Lilies on Black Backgrounds (3 of 10). Ah, well, at any given time you only know what you know; and, as Bart Simpson would say: “Mistakes were made!

Thanks for taking a look!

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