There’s nothing like a daylily to remind us that life is both fleeting and beautiful. The flowers of the Hemerocallis — which literally means “day” and “beautiful” in Greek — last only 24 hours. The bright orange flutes of yesterday are withered like spent party balloons today, often drooping from the same flower stalk as the new day’s fresh-faced offering. The center of the flower is called its “throat” and is a different, contrasting color than the rest of the plant. Shaped like a trumpet, the daylily embodies the ancient imperative: carpe diem!
Daylilies are everywhere now. They line the roadside in thick ranks. They steal into the garden border among the phlox, “volunteering” for duty. But they should be dug up immediately, because they spread so quickly and are almost impossible to root out. They can’t be cut for bouquets, either, as the flowers fade so quickly. They can only be admired for what they are and for as long as they last — as wild and precious as life itself.