Monday, July 5, 2010

Queen For A Day

Jane Hayward, 1993 Hemerocallis 'Jane Hayward'

Above, left: Jane Hayward in Cuxa garden on July 5, 1993. Jane happily wears a crown of daylilies for the ceremonial planting of a newly introduced cultivar named for her that year. Right: Detail of Hemerocallis ‘Jane Hayward’ now blooming in Cuxa garden.

In 1993, Jane Hayward, a curator for the department of Medieval Art and The Cloisters, and an authority on stained glass, had recently celebrated her twenty-fifth anniversary working at the Museum. As passionately devoted to medieval art and to The Cloisters as she was, Jane also had a passion for daylilies, declaring that her idea of immortality would be to have a daylily named after her.

Although daylilies are perennial, and individual plants bear multiple flowers on a single stem, each flower opens and withers in the course of a single day, to be succeeded by others the following morning. The botanical name of the genus Hemerocallis is derived from the Greek, and means “beautiful for a day.” These attractive, hardy, easily grown flowers are readily hybridized. Many thousands of cultivated varieties have been developed over the course of the last fifty years and are assiduously collected by enthusiasts. An award for the best daylily introduction, named for Dr. Arlo Burdette Stout (1876–1957), the father of the modern daylily, is awarded annually by the American Daylily Society.

I introduced Jane to my friend Greg Piotrowski, a noted daylily breeder then working at The New York Botanical Garden, where Dr. Stout had done his pioneering work. Greg invited Jane to visit his trial beds there and choose the daylily she liked best. He then registered a pretty peach-colored hybrid with the American Daylily Society as Hemerocallis ‘Jane Hayward.’ I remember Jane’s visiting the Gardens office in great excitement to borrow a pen and sign the necessary form. The daylily was installed with ceremony in Cuxa cloister on July 5, 1993.  Jane died the following year, before she could complete her catalogue of English and French medieval stained glass in the Museum’s collection. On the occasion of her death, then-Director Philippe de Montebello avowed that Jane Hayward was responsible for bringing medieval stained glass to the attention of the American public.

Hemerocallis ‘Jane Hayward’ continues to bloom in Cuxa  cloister.

—Deirdre Larkin

See the Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History for a bibliography of books and articles by Jane Hayward.

For further reading on the rise of daylily fever, see Sydney Eddison’s A Passion for Daylilies: The Flowers and The People, 1993.

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Comments (12)

  1. Nancy Heraud Says:

    Hope to see ‘Jane Hayward’ in person one day soon!

  2. Deirdre Larkin Says:

    I’d be happy to introduce you!

  3. Nancy Heraud Says:

    I’m sorry we didn’t meet when I was there before, Deirdre. I will have to make sure you know when I’m coming to see the gardens again!

  4. Lauren Jackson-Beck Says:

    I remember that day very well! Jane was so very happy! She picked out a beautiful day lily. The Jane Hayward Day Lily is blooming well in our home garden. It is very strong and vibrant–just like Jane was! It is a fitting memory to Jane that her day lily is at The Cloisters. Jane devoted her life and her love for Medieval Art to The Cloisters and The Metropolitan Museum of Art. What a wonderful legacy for her and for the museum!

  5. Barbara Bell Says:

    The headpiece Jane was wearing for that photo is beautiful, looks like your handiwork, Deirdre.

  6. Franco R Says:

    Hello Deirdre, what a great and personal account! I have been reading the blog since 2008, and what enjoyment it brings to me. The Cloister, the Heather Garden, and Ft. Tryon Park are together my favorite place in New York, funny how that works out that my favorite place in the city is a place away from city. I try to make it up at least once every month or two. There is a plant I have seen around for years, and as well around the Cloisters and in the Heather Garden and park, and I have been wanting to know for so long what it is called. I will attach two images I took up there to help show you the plant in mind. I hope you are able to help me learn what it is! It’s conditions seem to usually be partial to full shade, moist, and Northern climates, and I see it growing in the Spring and early Summer.

    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v32/Barberry17/DSC09649.jpg
    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v32/Barberry17/DSC08757.jpg

    Thank you again for all of the wonderful posts on the blog, and I look forward to all of those to come!

  7. Deirdre Larkin Says:

    Hi, Barbara—I don’t often get to make wreaths or garlands in summer, but I always enjoy doing it.

  8. Deirdre Larkin Says:

    Hello, Lauren—It’s good to know that Jane is flourishing in the gardens of her friends, however far from The Cloisters.

    Wishing you and the boys every good thing,
    Deirdre

  9. Deirdre Larkin Says:

    Hello, Franco—Your plant is the mayapple, (Podophyllum peltatum), commonly found in moist woods throughout the eastern United States and Canada, west to Minnesota, and south to Florida and Texas. According to Maude Grieve, it was used by native Americans as an emetic and a vermifuge. Both the leaves and the fruit are poisonous. A gastro-intestinal irritant, mayapple is a drastic purgative in small doses, and fatal in large ones. It was listed in the British Pharmocopeia by the 1860s, and the dried rhizomes, from which a resin was extracted, still had a place in the American drug trade in the first half of the twentieth century. According to the 1930 edition of The Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture, extract of podophyllum was still common in drugstores.

    The mayapple is also known as American mandrake, perhaps because of the many thick tubers that form its root system, and the pulpy yellow fruit, which ripens in May. (Mayapple is in the barberry family and is botanically unrelated to the true mandrake.) A number of sources say that the pretty, nodding white flower has an unpleasant smell, but I can’t say that I have ever noticed it.

    An attractive plant that is easily established, the mayapple is often grown in wild gardens; it prefers a moist and shady situation. A friend of mine was once given some mayapples by a fellow gardener. She carefully planted them along a streambed in her woodland garden—when she got up from her knees and looked behind her, there was mayapple growing as far as she could see!

    Do let me know when next you visit The Cloisters—

    Deirdre

  10. Jay Chua Says:

    Jane looks fabulous in the pic:)

    Day lilies is one of my favorite flowers all time..

    I was at the SF botanical garden last week, and did get a chance to take a closer encounter with these beautiful flowers..they look even nicer under the sunshine. Yellow & red are my favorite color :)

    Jay

  11. Betsy Baird Sherr Says:

    Hello Deirdre,

    I am Jane’s niece. I grew up visiting the Cloisters and always believing it was my secret garden in the wilds of the big city. I am planning a visit to bring my boys to this special place for the first time in a couple of weeks, and would love some direction on finding the Jane Hayward Day Lily. Any help you can give is much appreciated. Betsy

  12. Deirdre Larkin Says:

    Hello again, Betsy—

    By now you will have visited with the boys; I hope you all enjoyed yourselves, and that you picked up your division of ‘Jane Hayward,’ who is very vigorous, heavy-blooming, and trouble-free. I hope she prospers in your garden. I will find a print of that photograph for you. I’m sure I have one to spare.

    Best wishes,
    Deirdre

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