Ditch Lilies–Not Just For Ditches

The name Ditch Lily is appropriate.  I acquired my stand by digging a clump from the side of Queenswood Road or old Deacon Street near our village of Groveland, IL.  The site was nostalgic as it was near the Deacon Street cemetery where an early 1800’s prairie church once stood.  I like to think that the lilies bloomed in June for them as well.  Because they were a free-roaming flower, they are often found near aging farm houses and add an authentic touch to our country garden.

Stand of Deacon Street Ditch Lilies

Stand of Deacon Street Ditch Lilies

IM008254 These simple wild lilies, also called Field Lilies or Tiger Lilies, bloom in spreading clusters from early June in Central Illinois.  In addition to bringing a mass of melon color to the garden, they are also edible.  The blooms can be stir fried just before opening or the flower petals can be added to salads. BEWARE however.  The more exotic Asian Lily is NOT edible.

Asian Lily Before the Bloom Opens

Asian Lily Before the Bloom Opens

Notice that the Asian Lily, above,  has leaves that jut out up and down the stalk whereas the Ditch Lily’s leaves all protrude from the base of the stalk.

Orange Asian Lily

Orange Asian Lily

The Asian Lily bloom is more waxy than the Ditch Lily and deeper in color.  I love them all but it fascinates me that something growing freely along country roads in an awesome display is a source of naturally foraged food.  Someone had a grand idea, didn’t He.


About Sharon L. Clemens

Sharon and husband Merle and their children owned and operated a specialty shop and restaurant in a restored dairy barn for thirteen years in a village in Illinois. After closing their restaurant, they converted the barn into the family home and moved their shop to the garden level. They operated a collectable shop as a home-based business for another thirteen years before retiring to the country life. Sharon has been a special feature guest on the local NBC telelvision affiliate and has spoken professionally on topics relating to herb gardening and cottage lifestyle. In addition to conducting workshops and programs, Sharon writes a weekly cottage lifestyle e-newsletter called “Cottage Chat” and a Word Press blog: Seasons of Farm Grove. She has written five novels, The Younger Girl, Door County Cottage, Timeless-A Door County Love Story, Door County Cabin and Door County Escape, love stories with traditional values set in Door County, Wisconsin.
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