Saturday, April 9, 2011

Hemerocallis

April 9, 2011
A to Z Blogging Challenge
Day 8 - H




I come from a long line of gardeners, so it's hardly a surprise I enjoy getting down in the dirt to plant something green. I have clear memories of my great-grandmother, clothed in traditional “plain” dress and bonnet, working in her garden. Mary’s garden was a mix of vegetables and flowers, as one would expect from someone born in 1889 and raised in those simpler days.

I’ll tell you another time how amazing I think it is to have known someone born in the 1880s. I was around eleven when she died, and too young to fully understand how difficult her life had been, and how she triumphed over two world wars, a great depression, the death of young children and the discriminations a woman of her time endured.

Up until about two or three years before her death, every Saturday morning, my great-grandmother loaded up a truck with whatever she was taking to “city” market to sell. She engaged more in trade with other sellers than straight sales, but that was the way it worked. It was from market trading, a century or so ago, somewhere around 1910 when she first 'went to housekeeping,' she acquired the first hemerocallis fulva – the common orange daylily.

She planted her traded clump of daylily down by the creek, and there it thrived for almost a hundred years until very recently when a spring flood eroded the bank out from under the plants. I was sad to see this link to my great-grandmother break, but I have plenty of the old daylily planted around my yard. Everyone in the family has it in their yard. But you know what? A few young clumps are re-establishing themselves along the creek, downstream.

I will “rescue” them one dark night when the park rangers are sleeping and plant them back where they belong, along the stretch of the creek where Mary's great-great-great grandson plays. And I will tell him, when he is older, the importance of the orange daylily in his family lore.

Resilient in the face of what the universe throws at it, the daylily thrives. Flood or drought, it manages to flourish and prosper. Its roots spread beneath the surface, unseen, storing what it needs for difficult times. Its leaves shape themselves to catch the morning dew and channel the precious drops down to the roots. It displays it’s finest blooms to the world, one day at a time.

And that’s a life lesson we can all receive from the daylily, my favorite perennial.

KC

3 comments:

Laura M. Campbell said...

A beautiful memory. Thank you for sharing. Good luck with the challenge!

KC Kendricks said...

Thanks for stopping by Between the Keys.

Melissa Bradley said...

I loved this, thank you so very much for sharing it. I love lilacs and we recently lost the bush my grandmother had planted way back in 1954. But, my sisters and I will always plant lilac wherever we live.