A welcomed bonus from the demolition of our garage-attached shed was the propagation of the wildflower orange lilies in our yard. Once the debris was removed from the area the space produced a lovely line of these orange “Ditch Lilies” alongside the edge of what used to be a dilapidated, dirt floored, damp shed. Replacing the eyesore with nature’s bounty was more than I expected the first summer after all the excavation for our sun room. I did nothing more than watch them grow and bloom. Bella’s frequent romping in and around the plants in search of hiding chipmunks probably damaged a few, but for the most part they made quite a showing. Replanted fern, hosta plants and lilies also survived nicely. Unfortunately a beautiful clematis plant didn’t fare as well. Maybe next year it will return more vigorously.
According to information found on The Gardener’s Network, most people refer to the this flower as the Orange Lily, Day Lily, or Tiger Lily. Some call it a Ditch Lily, as this prolific wildflower is commonly found in ditches alongside roads across a wide area of America. When living in NJ I first noticed these flowers along Marne Highway, through Hainesport, NJ. The road ditch and railroad track seemed surprisingly beautiful to me.
These easy to grow flowers have roots that are edible and have been used for medicinal purposes to relieve congestion and the nausea and vomiting of pregnancy. Perennials are wonderful. Orange lilies require little attention and are hardy enough to withstand our rough winters. Native Americans apparently ate the tuberous roots by baking them as you would potatoes. Enjoying the beauty of these returning blossoms is enough for me.
Having photographed the wildflower lilies each year, I decided to use some of the images in a collage. I have previously done colored pencil drawings of lilies, but always felt guilty about not using my own photographs for reference. These lilies grew in our yard and were photographed by me.
I have also planted bulbs for other varieties of lilies in our front yard memorial garden. One is a yellow lily and the other is a deep red-orange. They are also a great addition to that garden and luckily rise over the Hosta and Black Eyed Susan bushes that are taking over the space. In NJ I planted some pink and white lilies. Their fragrance was intense but delightful. I have recently received some marketing promotions from growers. I may order more lily bulbs and search for the one I remember that has the great fragrance. Now that the yard is fenced we are seeing less deer. Hopefully the appearance of tasty buds won’t motivate the deer to hop over for a munch.