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The Lore of the Lily
(Care Tips Follow)
Often called the "white-robed apostles of hope," lilies were found growing in the Garden of Gethsemane after Christ's agony. Tradition has it that the beautiful white lilies sprung up where drops of Christ's sweat fell to the ground in his final hours of sorrow and deep distress. Churches continue this tradition at Easter time by banking their alters and surrounding their crosses with masses of flowering Easter Lilies, to commemorate the resurrection of Jesus Christ and hope of life everlasting.
Since the beginning of time, lilies have played significant roles in allegorical tales concerning the sacrament of motherhood. Ancient fables tell us the lily sprang from the milk of Hera, the mythological Queen of Heaven.
The pure white lily has long been closely associated with the Virgin Mary. In early paintings, the Angel Gabriel is pictured extending to the Virgin Mary a branch of pure white lilies, announcing that she is to be the mother of the Christ Child. In other paintings, saints are pictured bringing vases full of white lilies to Mary and the infant Jesus.
The legend is told that when the Virgin Mary's tomb was visited three days after her burial, it was found empty save for bunches of majestic white lilies. Early writers and artists made the lily the emblem of the Annunciation, the Resurrection of the Virgin: the pure white petals signifying her spotless body and the golden anthers her soul glowing with heavenly light.
It seems the thirteenth-century Barthololmeus Anglicus had this in mind when he wrote: 'The Lily is an herbe with a white flower; and though the leaves of the floure be white, yet within shineth the likeness of gold." So goes the saying, 'To gild a lily is to attempt, foolishly, to improve on perfection." To many artists and poets it seemed that, if any flower could have one, the lily had a soul.
In yet another expression of womanhood, lilies had a significant presence in the paradise of Adam and Eve. Tradition has it that when Eve left the Garden of Eden she shed real tears of repentance, and from those remorseful tears sprung up lilies. The spiritual principle held here is that true repentance is the beginning of beauty.
A mark of purity and grace throughout the ages, the regal white lily is a fitting symbol of the greater meaning of Easter. Gracing millions of homes and churches, the flowers embody joy, hope and life. Whether given as a gift or enjoyed in your own home, the Easter Lily serves as a beautiful reminder that Easter is a time for rejoicing and celebrating.
Care Tips for Beautiful, Long Lasting Lilies
The Easter lily is a popular holiday plant in the Toledo OH area that needs little special treatment. Well-tended plants should bloom successively for several weeks in the home.
Care of the new plant
1. Keep the plant moist, but be careful not to overwater. Check moisture daily and be sure the pot
never stands in water. Root rots can be easily brought on by overwatering.
2. Place the plant in a bright location, but avoid full sun.
3. Keep the plant in a cool place and avoid drafts. Blooms will last longer if the plant is kept between
50-60° F. Avoid temperatures warmer than 70° F.
4. When a new flower opens, carefully remove the yellow anthers. This will prevent pollen from
smudging the petals.
5. Cut off flowers as soon as they have collapsed.
Reblooming Easter Lilies
Outdoors: When all flower blossoms have faded, reduce watering so that the plant will gradually dry off. Cut off the stem a few inches above the soil after the top dries. In May after danger of frost is past, plant the bulb in a protected place outdoors at a depth of 4 to 6 inches. Often the bulb will produce a few flowers again in late summer or early fall. Easter lilies may persist in the garden for several years if placed in a protected spot and covered with a mulch.
Indoors: The forcing procedures seriously weaken the lily bulb. It is not practical to repot them and bring them indoors to try forcing them the following winter.
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