Saturday, June 21, 2014

Hemerocallis fulva

We have several stands of orange day lilies, the common roadside lily, or ditch lily as some call it.  When I first came to Indiana in the 50s, one of life's little pleasures in June and July was to drive down the roads enjoying the massive displays of these flowers. They could be seen along berms, beside small streams, and even in some yards from time to time.  Some roadside areas were populated with what many called cornflower, which was wild chicory, and Queen Anne's lace.  These Delft-like displays of color often alternated with the vivid orange of the lilies.

I have a fondness for these flowers, whether aesthetically pleasing to my eye, or nostalgically pleasant to my mind.  Most people consider these lilies to be weeds, even referring to them as "noxious weeds."  Those people are seeing their apparent wishes to eradicate them come to pass, for with the growth of population, expansion of commerce and industry, increased need for more arable land, and especially the transformation of highways into freeways, and the upgrading of byways into highways, habitat for these flowers is shrinking rapidly.

The Hemerocallis fulva, scientific name for these lilies, does indeed have an invasive habit, and thus might be viewed as a weed.  (Weed: any plant that is where one does not want it.)  Certainly one would be unwise to plant one, just one, of the tubers anywhere near hybrid daylilies, for in a matter of a very few seasons, there will be only orange lilies in that area.  However, by dint of sufficient effort to dig away and corral the rascals in the desired location, they become lovely flowers.

The Midwest in my mind's eye, viewed on a leisurely drive along an eighteen-foot road, today exists only in the memories of those who experienced it long ago, or in the fertile imaginations of east coast city-dwellers who think that we still live in the stone age out here.

Reporting from Perfect, Indiana, this is your fly-over country correspondent, Buford Bumpkin.


Vee said...

The lilies are beautiful. I remember when we first moved to Indiana thinking how lovely they were in the ditches along the highways. Maybe I appreciated them because I wasn't used to seeing so many pretty blooms in one area.

In Colorado people fought Russian Olive trees. I know they are invasive, but I thought it was nice to see something green there. They also did not want hollyhocks around. Of course! Why would one have something in their yard that might actually bloom in that cool, dry climate?

You have become a true Hoosier - throwing out the term, "berm." Another memory of moving to Hoosierland was seeing signs along the highways warning of low berms. I always looked up, but never saw anything hanging down low. But then where else are blacktop roads referred to as "tarvy" roads? (Or maybe that is just in Randolph County.)

vanilla said...

I like Russian olive for some reason. You remind me that when I first moved to Indiana, when asked, "Why in the world would you come to Indiana from beautiful Colorado?" I would reply, "Because I like green living things."

Yes, I have accepted "berm" and probably numerous other "Hoosierism," but I have never heard "tarvy." (I googled it: it is in the Urban Dictionary.)

Lin said...

Oh, Queen Anne's Lace and Chickory! How I love thee (and thistle) growing wild in the medians and islands of this concrete city. I love how they can thrive in the worst conditions, making the commute and sitting at a stoplight just a little more tolerable.

I took the day lilies out of my garden because I dreaded dead-heading them all the time, but I do love their color. And their tenacity.

Secondary Roads said...

I love those orange bloomers. They've long been one of my favorites. My wife's family refers to asphalt as "tarvy." Mine calls it "blacktop."

Jim Grey said...

I really enjoy these orange lilies by the roadside - so much so, that I planted some in my front-yard garden. Turns out they like full sun better than half shade, which is what they got. Perhaps this will check their spread, which would be welcome as I have all that I want.

Grace said...

I love that last sentence. And I love lilies of any and all kinds...

vanilla said...

Lin, Queen Anne's lace and chicory are tenacious, thank goodness, because they are among my summer joys.

Chuck, we are "blacktop" people in this area, but evidently, as Vee suggested, there are "tarvy" people in Eastern Indiana where her hubby hails from.

Jim, I have a clump under an ash tree, and while they did perhaps spread a little slower than those in full sun, they nevertheless want to take over the space over time.

Grace, lilies are beautiful.

I suppose my signoff might be (mis)interpreted as a bit snarky, but it is all in fun.