This is the time of year when the orange time machines announce they’re back. Along old stone walls, foundations of farmhouses and in places random today but logical once upon a time. The tiger lilies are back.

The land whispers to us of those who came before us. Tiger lilies were planted generations ago, divided and planted again at the next generation’s homes, and so on. Tiger lilies came out of China in the middle of the 18th century, made their way to England in the early 19th century and then to the United States. Tiger lilies are entirely edible, from the bulbs that supposedly taste like potatoes to the flowers. But most people plant them as ornamentals.

Tiger lilies are a common sight in New England’s summer. On a 3 1/2 mile walk around the block I passed maybe a hundred of them. Time machines of orange and green, whispering the names of generations of people long gone who brought them to this place.