Now For Something Entirely Different

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If I lived an alternative life in journalism, garden writer could be it. This piece in Madison Magazine concerns one of my favorite flowers. It begins:

 I have a penchant for advocating lost causes: Miles Davis’s electric period, Lyndon Johnson’s presidency, horseradish Havarti cheese. But none more disdained than ditch lilies.

These are the orange daylilies—formally called Hemerocallis fulva but also known as tiger, roadside or tawny lilies—that you see happily blooming in mid-July in just about every yard in Madison’s older neighborhoods. The experts snicker.

Oh, you might as well wear white shoes after Labor Day or extol the virtues of two-buck chuck wine as grow ditch lilies. They are the Rodney Dangerfield of landscaping: They get no respect. You can’t buy them at garden centers. Glorious Olbrich Gardens doesn’t even display them. Worse, they’re branded with the plague label.

Invasive species!

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2 Comments on “Now For Something Entirely Different”

  1. Mike Stevesand Says:

    Lost causes is right. But I agree with you on the Havarti.

    “Invasive” has a pretty strict definition among native gardeners like Patty and her friends.. “Not from around here” , comes pretty close. “NIH” (not invented here) for the corporate veterans. If it didn’t precede the Mayflower, it’s The Other. I agree with you about squatters’ rights – they’ve earned the right to be considered indigenous, if not exactly “native”.

    Nevertheless, we have a stand of them along our driveway which our neighbor Wes hates. They’re gorgeous orange for about four days, then they’re a Petrie dish for milkweed, which Patty loves because Monarch butterflies lay their eggs in it. You have to like green to appreciate ditch lilies.


  2. meisen Says:

    You sum it up, Mike.
    Speaking of lost causes, I think Zawinul’s influence on Miles’ electric period is underappreciated.

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