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.
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.