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Short on life, long on beauty
Daylilies are a staple in area gardens, and one North Georgia group should know
Species Hemerocallis fulva (L.) , more commonly known as the orange daylily is seen growing many places around North Georgia, including this row of the hardy plant along Harmony Church Road in Hall County. - photo by Michelle Boaen Jameson

North Georgia Daylily Society shows

When: 1 p.m. June 18
Where: Lakeshore Mall, 150 Pearl Nix Parkway, Gainesville

If there ever was a botanical workhorse, the daylily just might be it.

According to the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, daylilies can be used for a number of visually appealing and practical purposes.

Aesthetically, daylilies can be used to provide a burst of seasonal color, break up harsh fence lines and to fill in the gaps between smaller plants.

Practically speaking, the UGA department says that the flowers can also be used for erosion control and provide effective ground cover, which can reduce the lawn area that requires mowing.

Although some gardeners are just catching on to the trend of incorporating daylilies into landscape design, members of the North Georgia Daylily Society have been doing it for years. According to secretary Lynn McAllum, the group, founded in 1991, has around 60 members.

The group generally meets on first Sundays at First Baptist Church, 751 Green St., Gainesville. They also host an annual daylily show at Lakeshore Mall on Pearl Nix Parkway. The event is sanctioned by the American Hemerocallis Society, which is a national nonprofit that is dedicated to the "advancement of the daylily." Hemercoallis is the latin name for the daylily plant genus.

"It's a showcase and a competition. It's a time when people can come out and show the daylilies that they have grown, and they can also enter them into the show," McAllum said.

"People don't have to be a member of the society to participate."

This year's show will be held on Saturday, June 18. Show participants will be competing for a number of prizes including best in show, best large flower and best miniature.

As beautiful and functional as daylilies are, some nongardening enthusiasts may be surprised to learn about the life expectancy of the flower's blooms.

While daylilies bloom throughout spring and summer, individual buds only have a life expectancy of one day.

"They open early in the morning and close in the evening, and that's the end of that particular bloom," McAllum said.

"Sometimes you'll only have one flower per plant open per day."

Although the flower's life span is short, McAllum says it's still beautiful to see.

"It's absolutely amazing to see the different forms and colors of daylilies," McAllum said.

Daylilies come in a variety of hues, including shades of yellow, red, pink and purple. Their size and shape also varies. They can be round, triangular or even trumpet-shaped. Daylilies can have a single row of petals, or a double layer, which give the "flower within a flower" appearance, say researchers with the hemerocallis society.

Since they only bloom one day out of the year, it seems fitting that they require little upkeep.

"They are very easy to maintain," McAllum said.

"Once you plant them, you basically fertilize them once a year, give them some water, and they're good to go."