Yearly summer trips to New Hampshire and a woman the Hubbards called “The Lily Lady” resulted in vast collections of Hemerocallis. Today, more than 40 years later, some still bloom.
That’s the thing about daylilies: they’re hardy. They come in a wide variety of colors. They’re not too picky about the type of soil for their roots. They bloom profusely when planted in full sun. Their leaves stay greener with regular watering, but they withstand dry spells. They block weeds and make clever overplanting for daffodil foliage as it dies back. They can be divided, spring to fall, but don’t forget to water those divisions.
Some newer varieties, like ‘Stella de Oro’ and ‘Happy Returns,’ re-bloom into fall if spent flowers stalks are removed.
An endearing quality of these reliable plants is that each flower lasts just one day. In Greek “hemera” means day, and “kallos” means beauty. But what beauty each day one plant covered with buds can produce.
The Hemerocallis the Hubbards brought home from The Lily Lady have been planted, transplanted, and divided. They’ve changed locations several times. Today they edge Penney’s cutting garden and grow en masse at the sunny top of the woodland garden.
While the three Hubbard children are grown, each with three children, they still remember being crammed into the back of the family station wagon for trips back home. With them were two dogs, plants piled to the ceiling, and antiques strapped on the roof of the car.
“There was always a lot of hype about a trip to the ‘The Lily Lady,’ and a lot of energy devoted to keeping the lilies alive for the trip home to Baltimore,” son Crawford remembers.
Dozens of different cultivars, diploids, and sturdier tetraploids came to Walnut Hill. While their names have been forgotten, their warm tones still brighten the mid-summer garden. After a recent morning shower, the garden sparkled with descendants of those New Hampshire beauties.