Confessions of a Hemeroholic

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Posted by @fiwit on
In the Daylily Forum, we tease each other about being addicted to Daylilies. While I'm confident that other gardeners feel the same way about their favorite plants, no other plant has really impacted my gardening life as much as these beauties we used to call "Ditch Lilies."

Hi, my name's Mary, and I'm a Hemeroholic. I'm not sure how it happened, and I certainly never intended it, but I have to admit: I love Daylilies. Most of my life, I avoided Daylilies like the plague. My mother warned me about them, and taught me to scorn the ugly, orange-with-black-spots "Tiger Lily" that grew between our back yard and our neighbor's. I didn't know that her despised "Tiger Lily" was not a Daylily. I simply accepted Mom's bias, and lived my life with no lilies of any kind in my plantings.

But in 2010, I was looking for some kind of summer-flowering, easy-growing, indestructible perennial to grace bare spots in my yard. Since All Things Plants didn't exist yet, I turned to my other Internet source of all knowledge, a message board for Greyhound owners. Gardeners there assured me that Hemerocallis was virtually indestructible, *and* pretty, so I headed to my local big box store to see what I could find.

What I found was a half-off sale on Daylilies, so I brought some home with me, stuck them in holes I dug in my red GA clay with absolutely no soil amendments, and watched them thrive. It seemed my friends were correct when they said Daylilies were easy to grow and difficult to kill. And I was happy. I had 6-8 pretty plants bordering my driveway bed.

"It was enough," I told myself. "This is sufficient."
Thumb of 2014-03-29/fiwit/fe2918

Until one night the next month, when I met someone in the parking lot of my favorite big box store, who asked me if I was a gardener, and did I want free Daylilies, just for the labor of helping her divide them. So I went to her house, in 100F degree heat, and helped this woman and her husband thin out their daylilies. It was WAY too hot to dig proper holes for them back at my house, so I just shoved my shovel into that red GA clay, wiggled it back and forth until I had a wedge-shaped opening I could push the roots into, and then tamped the dirt back in place with my feet. And these hardy Hemerocallis plants dug their roots into that clay, and grew and thrived, and they bloom for me every year, no matter how I neglect them. They're virtually indestructible, and easy to grow, just as my friends promised. But I had two dozen or more scattered around my yard now. It was enough. Even if I didn't know the names of the different cultivars I had, I knew that I had all the Daylilies I would ever need.

"I'll stop now," I told myself. "This is sufficient."

And it was, until summer 2011, when I saw Daylilies on *clearance* in my big box store. CLEARANCE plants! BARGAINS! Pennies on the dollar, for easy to grow, almost indestructible plants! I'm still not sure how it happened, but when I got home that night, I unloaded another half-dozen Daylilies from my car. "Enough is enough!" I told myself firmly. "No one needs three dozen or more different Daylilies in their yard. What will the neighbors think?"

This time, the moratorium on buying Daylilies only lasted about six months. In July 2011, I joined All Things Plants. In December, I finally wandered into the Daylily forum , and sealed my fate as a Hemeroholic. Before joining the Daylily Forum, I was blissfully ignorant and innocent, totally unaware of such things as the Lily Auction, the American Hemerocallis Society (AHS), local Daylily Societies, AHS Display Gardens , and local hybridizers. All of the above entities are more than willing to share their love of the 72,000 cultivars of what used to be a common orange or yellow flower. ATP even has a Daylily Database where other Hemeroholics can upload photos. And that was my downfall.

Each time a new Daylily photo appeared, I had to click through and marvel at its beauty. Maybe only 1% of the ones I looked at wound up on my "I want these" spreadsheet, but that list quickly soared past 100 Daylilies.

There are so many different styles and structures and colors. How could I resist them? Today, less than 2 1/2 years after wandering into the Daylily Forum, I belong to not one, but two, local Daylily Societies, as well as the AHS. I stopped counting how many cultivars I had when I reached 300 in 2013. I have built four raised beds in my front yard to support this Hemerocallis habit, and converted more of my front lawn into non-raised beds. I even built a water bed for my Daylilies! No sooner do I say "No new Daylilies!" than I find one at a society plant sale that I can't live without, even though I have no idea where it will fit in my yard. Instead of just adding every pretty Daylily to my list, I find myself researching its branching and bud-count, as well as its bloom time, and planning my beds to have summer-long color. I've never been a planner; impulse-gardening was always my thing. I've even purchased plant-database software to help me keep track of my Daylilies and to help me with my bed-planning.

But I'm not *really* addicted to Daylilies. If I were truly addicted, I'd be hybridizing, and entering Daylily shows. Nope, I'm just a recreational dabbler who likes pretty flowers in her yard. It's not an addiction, because I can stop any time I want to. I just don't want to. Nothing else in my yard gives me the summer-long pleasure my Daylilies do. My only regret about being a Hemeroholic is that I didn't start sooner.

So learn from my mistake. If you've found yourself enjoying the beauty of newly-added Daylily photos, or wondering what we talk about in the Daylily Forum -- go ahead, click the links, and check it out. It just might change your gardening life, as it did mine.

Comments and Discussion
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
Laughing with Tears in My Eyes! :D by chalyse Apr 13, 2014 10:12 AM 21
I, too, am a Hemeroholic! by beckygardener Apr 13, 2014 8:57 AM 15

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