Here in the northeast United States, daylilies always seem to be in bloom on the first day of summer. No matter how cold or warm or wet or dry spring has been, the lilies are ready by the twenty-first of June, waving trumpets of bright orange by the side of road. Their genus name is Hemerocallis, or 'beautiful for a day,' both for their loveliness and for the fact that each bloom only lasts from dawn to nightfall.
Although they're considered a wild flower now (and something of a pest if they take over a garden), perennial daylilies are like peonies, long-ago transplants from Asia. Also like peonies, the lilies have been bred into thousands of modern hybrids. The original daylilies were recorded centuries ago in Mongolia, India, Korea, China, and Japan, and growing in locations that ranged from swamps to forests to the tops of mountains. Given their hardiness as well as their beauty, the lilies were brought to Western Europe in the middle ages, and then made the voyage across the Atlantic to North America with early English settlers in the 17th c. By the late 19th c., they had become so ubiquitous that the flowers were also called Tiger Lilies, Railroad Lilies, Roadside Lilies, or even (most humbly!) Outhouse Lilies.
Above: June, 2010: Daylilies growing outside the churchyard of the Baptist Church of the Great Valley, founded by Welsh settlers in 1711.