I’ve had daylilies in my garden for years. They are easy to grow, can tolerate limited water – and most importantly – add beauty to the garden. Daylilies differ from Asiatic or Oriental Lilies, in that each daylily blossom lasts one day! One day. Each daylily plant will produce a succession of blooms which extend the flowering over weeks, but each individual flower is short-lived. Asiatic and Oriental lily blooms will last several weeks – which is why you find these lilies in bouquets, but not daylilies.
Old-fashioned daylilies produce blooms for several weeks in the summer. There are hybrids (such as the popular yellow Stella D’Oro) which produce blooms daily for a much longer period. While I enjoy Stella D’Oro in the landscape – I prefer the old-fashioned variety.
The fleeting nature of the daylily is part of what makes the flower special. During daylily season, I remember the words of Jesus, as he talked about kingdom values and living without worry:
Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you. Luke 12:27-31
The daylily blossom is alive only today! Yet it is arrayed in beauty, by the Creator. That same Creator knows our needs as humans – we who are so much more complex than lilies – and he promises that he will provide for our needs, each day. And he encourages us to focus on higher goals – his kingdom – rather than being distracted with daily worries.
So I have always had daylilies in my garden – as a visual reminder of truth. Daily life is fleeting, and focusing on the worries of life don’t enhance my existence (see also Matthew 7:28-35). I am bid by my Creator to lift my eyes from the lilies, and daily worries, to eternal realities. And to seek his kingdom – which means valuing people over things, considering those on the margins, and all manner of upside-down concepts. Who would create a flower that only blooms for one day? A Creator who has a whole different kingdom!