Hemerocallis, or day lilies, are today being collected, hybridized, and exhibited with the passion which once inspired the tulipomaniacs of Holland or, a century later, the auricula fanciers in Britain. The modern fashion has been led by enthu-siasts in the United States, but now day lilies are becoming highly popular in Britain, too. The lilies vary in their season of flowering, so that it is possible to have a succession from early summer right into the autumn.
They are herbaceous perennials, very vigorous and, with clusters of trumpet at the top of tall stalks, opening one every day over several weeks. The handsome clumps of bright green, arching, grassy make day lilies an important foliage plant.
Hemerocallis flava, the lemon day lily, also listed as H. lilio-asphodelus, is an early-flowering species from the Far East which has been grown in Britain for four hundred years. Its yellow trumpeton stalks 3 feet (90 cm) high are richly scented. H. fulva, another species with a long garden history, with orange flowers, starts to bloom three or four weeks later, after mid-summer. A few other species, and a wide range of hybrids, are available to the gardener.
Day lilies should be planted at least 18 inches (45 cm) apart and can be grown almost anywhere if the soil is good. They prefer sun, accept light shade, are excellent in town gardens, and can even be grown in grass if there is enough moisture. They should not be divided unless the flowers diminish in number, a sign of overcrowding.
The yellow day lilies look wonderful with delphiniums, or other blue flowers, and are good plants to take over when spring-have bloomed and the beds need fresh colour.