If you were to come to my house for a visit during the summer months, or even just drive by, one of the things you would immediately learn about me is that I love daylilies! I have, literally, thousands of them planted all over my yard. In front of the house, beside the house, behind the house and down by the lake. The photo above is some of my yellow Happy Return daylilies set against the blue of the lake. Love them! You might say I’m obsessed with daylilies.
My obsession started several years ago. At the time, I was in my early twenties and living in the woods of Michigan in an old mobile home. I loved flowers but had no money to spend on them. The only flowers I owned were some gladiolas that I planted every spring in a row in front of the mobile home. A bit pathetic as I look back on it, but I loved those glads and every year took great care to dig them up and dry the bulbs out so I could use them again the following year. One year my mother asked me if I wanted some more flowers. Her neighbor was thinning out some perennials and she was giving away the discarded flowers. Immediately, I said yes. And then I asked what kind of flowers they were. “Tiger lilies,” my mom told me. “Those orange flowers that you see growing alongside the road.” Actually, she was wrong. The flowers were daylilies, not Tiger lilies, and they were not the variety that grows alongside the road. The variety of daylily that grows along the side of the road is named Europa. The orange daylilies I was to start my collection with were a different variety called Kwanza. I planted 30 Kwanza daylilies that first summer. It was the beginning of an obsession.
Over the years, as finances would allow, I added new varieties to my collection. As our finances improved, so did my collection! Eventually I had over a hundred varieties of daylilies in all sorts of sizes and colors. And one of the very best things about daylilies is that the multiply every year. So now I have thousands of daylilies! One of my very favorite is named Happy Returns (depicted above). They are similar to the popular yellow Stello de Oro variety that you often see in commercial landscaping, but a different shade of yellow. The Stellas are an orangish-yellow, while the Happy Returns are a bright lemon yellow. They multiply every year, are about 16-24 inches high, and bloom from June to October. They are easily grown in average soil, even in the shade, but prefer sunny locations in well-drained soil.
If you are looking for a tough and beautiful perennial that multiplies every year, you simply cannot go wrong with daylilies. If you are looking for a yellow variety that does not get very tall, Happy Returns should be your choice. Be warned, however. This could be the beginning of an obsession!
I love my daylilies so much that when we moved I rented a small moving truck to move them from house to house. Twice. Yep. That much.
Cheryl Shireman is the bestselling author of several novels, including Broken Resolutions, the Life is But a Dream series, and the Cooper Moon series. She is also the author of ten books for toddlers including the eight Let’s Learn About series focusing on different animals and I Love You When: For Girls and I Love You When: For Boys.