Dinner was on the table. But my wife, Judy, didn't know that her beautiful bouquet was on my menu, too.

That's right, as soon as Judy turned her back, I started chowing down on the pretty flowers in her centerpiece.

I said I was sorry, except she knew that I really wasn't. The fresh and lovely day lilies, you see, were too irresistible for me to ignore. Besides, they wouldn't be any good the next day.

Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

Curiously, and even though a single day lily plant produces dozens of flowers during its growing season, each individual flower lasts for just one day.

The genus name for day lily, incidentally, is "Hemerocallis." Hemerocallis, the word, was created by combining two Greek words, "hemera" and "kallos," which mean day and beauty, respectively. Being beautiful for a day, then, perfectly describes a pretty and short-lived day lily blossom.

Pretty And Tasty

Every part of a day lily is edible and delicious. Even so, the petals are best when eaten raw, whereas day lily roots and leaves are luscious when sauteed.

If you're allergic to pollen, though, take certain precautions. For instance, remove the "stamens" and "anthers" (reproductive, flower parts) from the flower centers, and then rinse the pollen from the petals with water before tasting them. Also make certain that you're actually eating a day lily - and not some other form of lily!

Day Lilies

Day lilies bloom in shades of white, yellow, orange, red, pink and mahogany. Depending upon the variety, however - of which there are hundreds - the individual, lily-like flowers are from two to eight inches across. Single-petaled as well as double-petaled types exist.

Also depending upon the variety, day lily plants are from 15 inches to four feet tall. Regardless, day lily leaves look similar from one variety to the next. They're long, narrow, green and saber-shaped.

Day lilies will grow OK in almost any soil. Still, they'll flower more prolifically and the plants will look more robust if the soil has been amended with organic matter - such as compost - to drain freely.

Day lilies also bloom better when they're grown in full sun, yet they'll tolerate partial shade.

Set potted plants two feet apart. As individual plants turn into clumps, and as the clumps combine during subsequent growing seasons, divide the clumps during spring or fall. Dividing greatly improves flowering.

This Week In The Garden

Our kitchen is filled with aroma of fresh garlic that's drying. Harvested, cleaned and braided together on the Fourth of July, the cloves were planted on Columbus Day.

Although I could have planted our garlic during spring, the bulbs are larger because the cloves were planted root-side down and just below the soil's surface during fall.

comments powered by Disqus