Daylilies, whose official name is Hemerocallis, are easy to grow, require minimal maintenance and produce blooms of such unusual colours that they have been described as "the poor man's orchid". Acolyte gardeners, daunted by the care other plants require, can add daylilies to their gardens with confidence that they are not fussy. Daylilies are not prone to pests or diseases. They spread in manageable clumps, not walking into unwanted places in the garden. They are not heavy feeders, tolerate a healthy range of soils and do not require regular watering once established. While not shade loving plants, daylilies exposed to a modicum of sunlight will perform with a dependable vigor.

Because daylilies are not particularly difficult to hybridise, many lay growers have been able to create their own distinctive cultivars in their home gardens. Consequently, there are more than 70,000 registered varieties, available in all colours and shades of colours except the elusive true blue. There are miniatures with blooms less than 3" in diameter, while some varieties boast blossoms of 7" or more. The height of some varieties are modest, 18", while others grow to 3 feet or more. Some daylilies give off a noticeable scent but generally daylilies are grown to please the eye not the nose. While each daylily blossom lasts only a day ( the Greek word Hemerocallis, coined by Linnaeus in 1793, means "beauty for a day"), the many stems in established clumps can produce a succession of blooms for a month or more. And while the majority of daylily varieties begin blooming in July, there is a range of varieties which bloom in June as well as in August well into September. We enjoy daylily bloom here at New Hope Gardens for more than 3 months - 1/4 of the year!

Daylilies with their myriad of colours, heights, size of blossoms and blooming seasons, coupled with their tenacity to grow and perform in different garden settings have been described in America as "the perfect perennial". Since they have shown the same successful attributes while field grown here in Britain, daylilies have earned, to my mind, the opportunity to enhance the favorite gardens on this side of the Atlantic Ocean as well.