Monday, June 11, 2007

Ditch Lilies

"I find plant snobberies to be misguided and useless. Except for mine."
...Dominique Browning
Paths of Desire, 2004

An Eastern Tiger Swallowtail visited my garden the other morning and seemed to be especially attracted to the orange daylilies, which have been blooming since about the first of June. The lilies came from my neighbor, who didn't have much use for them and told me to help myself to as many as I wanted.

Not everyone is fond of "ditch lilies." Tell them you planted some, and they will look at you as though you'd taken tractor tires, painted them white, and lined your driveway with them. I'll admit they're gaudy and not for every part of the garden. I have some that are blooming alongside a clump of pastel peach daylilies, and these orange ruffians stick out like Motley Crue at a debutante ball, but in the right place, they work. And if the butterflies like them, I like them!

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm sure the pastel peach day lilies came from your very tasteful "mama." I would never have ditch lilies lin MY garden---where has your "raising" gone????

David in Greensboro NC said...

Do you mean my tasteful "mama" who wants me to paint the bare stalks of my plants in winter???

Your tasteful mama said...

I'll bet there are very renown gardeners out there who think there are possibilities in painting the dead stalks of Lantana in the winter!! Try pale lavender or even Tar Heel blue!
PS Lilly Lavender would never have "old common orange" ditch lilies in her garden either.

Wrenna said...

I like ditch lilies. I plan to plant some on the side of my house where it is rather neglected and dry. I figure some of those along with some bee balm and obedience plant should make for a nice show, crowd out most of the weeds and requre little from me.

David in Greensboro NC said...

Wrenna,

Why in the world do you need a low-maintenance garden? Surely that BEAUTIFUL house of yours doesn't take up much time (:

thefirecat said...

Found you through Hanna at "This Garden Is Illegal" and I wanted to add my vote for "ditch lilies." I'e always called them tiger lilies, and they're among my favourites! They're so vibrant, and so happy to bloom wherever god plants them, even if that happens to be a ditch by the side of the road.

I still mourn the field full of them that got mowed under several years ago to straighten out a bridge and bad curve up the road.

Giddy said...

I say "Yay" for ditch lilies and any other plant that will grow in my climate. These are some of the best performers in my rock garden!

David in Greensboro NC said...

Thanks Firecat and Giddy. I'm with both of you on the ditch lilies. I think the fact that they grow anywhere shows that God can't resist throwing in something beautiful whenever the chance arises. Mail is 3 to 1 in favor!

christine said...

I have a huge yard, and i am looking to line the borders with tiger lilies . I love the greenery, it fill in so nicely. I do have a fancy garden, which takes time and effort- but the lilies don't need any time at all. I love them!

Anonymous said...

I planted some ditch lilies around my mailbox where the winter road salt usually kills everything else. Love em.

Valerienieman said...

I was looking for an image of ditch lilies and found your blog. Yes, indeed - you have the ditch lily I'm talking about, the one that's "common as dirt" and undervalued for its tenacity.

Anonymous said...

Some-a y'all are such snobs. The hand that made the ditch lilies is divine! Down here in New Bern, we've got "johnny-house lilies," otherwise surprise lilies, hurricane lilies, spider lilies, or Lycoris radiata. Supposedly introduced directly to New Bern by a sea captain, the town is awash with them in the fall, at the peak of hurricane season. So many people's yard men took a few bulbs home with them and planted them around the outhouses that they bear the soubriquet johnny-house lily. The outhouses are gone now, but the community of duffyfield is still full of Lycoris radiata planted in a rectangle.

Lori said...

I love the Orange Tiger Lilly, as we refered to them as children. They grow anywhere and make a long ride in a car,or walk for that matter, beautiful. They are simple, look good in a pot, draw hummingbirds and butterflies. It remindes me of that old saying, "what is a weed, but a flower unloved" author unknown.

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Lissa said...

I love them! they are the perfect lazy gardener plant. There are always some to share and impossible to kill giving novice gardeners the courage to branch out. My self confessed black thumb friend was so excited when I gave her some and they thrived at her new home.

Anonymous said...

tteWhat can I say about ditch lily's I have almost a acre of wooded property mostly rock.I am fighting a battle with sumac, bittersweet, wild grape and wild rasberries plants. I am happy to say it would cost me a fortune to cover my property with plants. So if these pretty orange lily,s want to take over they are welcome to stay. Call me lazy mosquitto and tick bites are driving me crazy. Oh and I thought tiger lily,s had black spots.

Anonymous said...

we built our house when we were 25 and had 2 babies soon after.i was given tiger lilies by a friend and planted them along the foundation.....i was given purple iris by another friend and planted them on the opposite side of the house.20 years later i have gardens all over my 2 acre lawn (all of them including those lillies).i never would have tried gardening in this clay soil if i didnt have such wonderful luck with my very first flowers....the unkillable tiger lilly.