Wednesday, June 17, 2015
How to Tell If They're Junk Lilies
Because they're so common and called junk lilies I'd assumed they were native, but there are no lilies native to the Americas, or Europe either; they're originally Asian and have spread through gardening. Junk lilies and their corms are so hardy they'll go without water and sun (there's no sun in this corner of my yard) and they multiply like mad -- spreading from underground, because they have no seeds. I'll dig up some corms for you, and you'll never have to plant expensive annuals again. Or water them. Deer won't eat these.
"Genuine" lilies are from a different botanical family, Liliae; those bloom at the very top of their stalks, while Hermocallis fulva (the junk lily) blooms from the sides of main stalk. Junk-lily blossoms last one day, presenting all of us with a unique moment in history and a spiritual lesson. A tiger lily (Lilium columbianum) with its poppy-seed spots is a lovely thing, but lacks the daylily's exuberance. Did I know any of this before I moved out here, near the creek? None of it.