Despite some recent showers, much of Massachusetts is still under a drought watch and drought advisory, as declared by the Massachusetts Drought Management Task Force. The dry conditions have taken their toll on many plants in gardens and home landscapes. However, an herbaceous plant which seems to be taking the drought in stride and is putting on quite a show this summer is the day lily, better known to botanists as Hemerocallis. Ability to tolerate drought is just one feature which makes it a popular perennial plant of home gardeners. Often referred to as the “perfect perennial”, it adapts readily to different soil and light conditions, requires minimal maintenance, and has few pests and diseases. Another factor in its popularity is the tremendous range of flower colors, sizes, and forms. Even the most finicky gardener is bound to find some varieties to their liking, given that there are about 75,000 registered cultivars (cultivated varieties), but who’s counting. Perhaps the best way to determine which type of daylily you like is to visit an American Hemerocallis Society Display Garden. The Societies web site lists gardens in this region which are open to visitors. Since most of the display gardens are at private homes, you have to call ahead to arrange a visit. One public display garden of historical significance is located at the Berkshire Botanical Garden in Stockbridge, Mass. Also keep in mind that local garden centers have many cultivars of day lily for sale.
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