The daylily's origins are to be found in the East, traced back as natives of Korea, Siberia, China and Japan. Throughout the Orient they were prized not only for their beauty but also for food and medicine. Their flowers often can be found in Oriental art.
     The opening of trading routes with the East brought the daylily to Europe, reaching the Mediterranean in the sixteenth century. Settlers to the New World introduced the daylily to North America. It was not until late in the nineteenth century, though, that interest in cross pollinating dayliles became keen. Hybridizers in England, Germany, Italy and France developed new cultivars at the end of the 1800s and into the new 20th century. After WW II in England interest was rekindled in daylilies through the efforts of some well known English breeders. But curiously once this handful of hybridizers ceased their efforts, work with daylilies in British horticulture went dormant.
     In America Dr. A.B. Stout carried out an enthusiastic program of daylily breeding from late in the 1920s until he died in 1957, which greatly contributed to the awakening to and appreciation of daylilies in the American horticultural world. The last half of the 20th century saw serious commercial hybridizers as well as many backyard gardeners produce an ever mounting wave of new cultivars. The relative ease of daylily hybridizing allowed the range of registered daylilies to expand almost exponentially in the US.
     While interest in daylilies remained modest in Europe, American hybridizers avidly pursued the breeding of more and more exotic varieties. Many of these found their way into the commercial market which fanned the flames of interest on the part of American gardeners. While more and more hybridizing hobbyists were creating striking new cultivars, the last quarter of the 20th century witnessed an explosion of commercial gardening interest in the dependable daylily.
     Today the number of registered cultivars exceeds 70,000- a more than 60% increase in registered daylily varieties in just the last 15 years. Consequently, the choice in daylily colour, shape and blooming period has grown dramatically, offering planting options to American gardeners unimagined 50 years ago. New Hope Gardens sets out to play an active role in sharing the bounty of American daylily hybridizing with the fervent gardeners of Britain.