Why are daylilies such mainstays of our Catskills gardens? They are super sturdy and they survive most conditions but flower best in full sun. All daylilies are members of the genus Hemerocallis, which means ‘day-beauty’ (hemero– = day, –callis = beauty). The name refers to the transient beauty of the individual flower which lasts for only a day, but the daylily makes up for its short-lived flower by producing quantities of blooms. A typical healthy clump of daylilies will produce dozens and dozens of blooms over many weeks. Also, different types of daylilies bloom at different times, so it is possible to have daylilies in bloom from mid-June when the earliest ones bloom in the Catskills until frost.
The 20 or so wild species are all from easternmost Asia with their ranges centered in Japan, China and Korea. There are also between 20 and 45 thousand (yes, thousand!) selected varieties, depending on who’s counting!
Almost everybody here knows the common orange daylily, Hemerocallis fulva. It is often naturalized along roadsides, having escaped from gardens for hundreds of years. Around here its blooming has just peaked.
Two other heirloom daylilies that I have found planted around old foundations include a variety of Hemerocallis lilioasphodelus, a fragrant yellow daylily, and one of the earliest to bloom. Its flowers open in the evening, a characteristic shared by many fragrant daylilies. The other variety is a late mahogany flowered daylily closely related to the common orange daylily and/or Hemerocallis aurantiaca, blooming now.
And then there are all the thousands of modern hybrids, the fancy garden types …
Here are some modern types blooming this week in the Catskills region.