The Orange Daylily
Most gardeners would probably turn their noses up at this daylily and while I'm no garden snob I would too. The orange daylily can be seen planted just about everywhere around Chicago and this plant has escaped and become a nuisance in the wild. The cheerful flowers and grass like foliage along with the cheap price tag make this one popular perennial for the garden. The fact that they are tough and can handle an urban life doesn't hurt either. Honestly this isn't my daylily and it's not a garden escapee-it is more of a garden refugee.
Back in April I wrote an entry in this blog titled "A Tree Grows In Chicago" where I complained about the paving of the yard next door to make a parking lot. The area was paved over about seven years ago after the property changed hands and the last time these daylilies were seen blooming had to be closer to fifteen years ago.
Last year I noticed the familiar green leaves start to emerge on my side of the fence and I decided to leave them alone and let them grow. After all, if a plant has the desire to grow in a strip of land that is two inches across you have to give it a chance and I figured the flowers would look nice against the old fence. I took the promise of these old daylilies blooming as a good sign for my garden and got a little sentimental about them when I remembered the neighbor that planted them. The romantic gardener in me felt as if these orange daylilies had been brought back to life by me starting my own garden next door to them.
This year the realistic gardener in me figured out why these daylilies had sprung back to life in the tiny strip of dirt that had not been paved over. Last year I used a foliar feed from Miracle-Gro that is designed to make life easier for us lazy gardeners. Maybe you used it too or one similar to it. It's the kind that you attach to the end of the watering hose and you fertilize and water simultaneously. It's really an ingenious product that makes life simple and frees up your time to do more important things like surfing the internet or writing letters to HGTV about the lack of gardening programs on the station.
Since I'm lazy, the fertilizer attachment stayed attached to the watering hose all summer long and every time I ran the water hose from the back of the house to the front yard I unwittingly fertilized the daylilies and gave them the nutrients they had been starving for. It wasn't some foolish idea of blooms joining blooms, like birds in song, that brought them back to life. It was pure unadulterated ignorance on my part on the proper use of chemicals and what water runoff from my garden can do. Luckily I learned this lesson pretty early in my life as an urban gardener and I will try to do better in the future. I hope I don't turn into one of those gardeners but even if I did it wouldn't be the worst thing.