There is a long, wide row of orange day lilies growing against the sage green picket fence that borders one side of our front lawn. Red bee balm grows there too, and dark pink phlox, some yellow lilies, and a number of hollyhocks in a variety of pinks, reds, yellows, and white. Over the years these plants have spread, reseeded themselves, and formed a thick mass of foliage in front of the fence and something is always in bloom, so it is a surprisingly beautiful garden that has somehow happened without much help from us. Years ago when we were first trying to improve our rocky soil, in front of this fence was one of our few plantable areas, and it became a first home for many of the plant types I now have growing throughout my various gardens. The orange day lilies are an exception… I planted the few roots that were given to me there many, many years ago, and I have never planted orange day lilies in any other spot.
So I have to wonder about the orange day lilies growing in five other areas of our yard. If these other lilies were anywhere near the fence, it would be understandable that the roots had somehow spread under the soil, but the new groups of lilies are all several hundred feet away from the original planting… including one really spectacular group of lilies with much darker orange blooms that is now growing beside our brook.
Orange day lilies are notorious for the way they can spread, and even a tiny bit of root left in the soil can produce new plants. But how did these new clumps of day lilies end up growing in new soil in areas where day lilies have never grown before?