“While the Lily white shall in love delight
Nor a thorn nor a threat stain her beauty bright.”
– William Blake
Once spring hits, we are all almost instantly overwhelmed by the fragrance of the lovely Easter Lily.
Restaurants, churches, and homes are all flooded with these refreshing blooms come this time of year. Grocery stores proudly position them throughout the store as you walk in the door, and florists’ windows and storefront floors are sprawling with them.
Now, I know this Easter may look a bit different due to the global pandemic keeping most of us homebound and physically distant from our relatives and loved ones.
However, now more than ever, we can get creative while continuing to create strong human connections from afar.
Let’s take the opportunity to show our loved ones just how much we care, just how much we miss them, and just how much their presence, whether it’s physical or otherwise, in our lives means to us. What better way to safely show your family, friends, neighbors, or co-workers you care than to utilize the symbolism behind the gifts that nature has already given to us.
This classic, elegant beauty is a must-have at a spring table, not only for its deep symbolic meaning and beautiful fragrance, but – and I know our gatherings may be quite a bit smaller this year – doesn’t it also make such a great hostess gift? Even if they’re for yourself, a hostess of one or maybe even two!
Read on for some fun facts about Easter Lilies!
Lilies originate from the Ryukyu Islands of Southern Japan—lands rich with botanicals and greens. They weren’t brought to England until 1818, and to the U.S. until 1898.
But in 1941, lily bulb sources from Japan were cut off after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, which increased their value exponentially. It wasn’t long before lily growers realized what a gold mine they were sitting on (sometimes, quite literally) and by 1945 there were around 1,200 growers in the U.S.
Now, lilies can be found growing all over the West Coast of the U.S., from Oregon to Southern California.
We’re not just talking, “bad for them” or “probably shouldn’t eat the whole thing,” we are talking…rush to the ER, possible death kind of toxic.
While they’re primarily highly-toxic to cats, it’s best to keep them away from dogs too. If you have pets, why not substitute lilies for Easter Cattleya Orchids. It’s also a white, spring flower and with Easter still in the name—you won’t miss the lilies!
As the traditional flower of Easter, these classy little lilies joyfully symbolize new life, new beginnings, and motherhood, making them the perfect spring flower to give and receive. (Assuming you’re not a cat!)
Similar to their sister flower the Calla Lily, Easter Lilies also symbolize purity, grace, and hope across numerous religions, and even in Greek mythology.
Remember that deep symbolism we mentioned?
In Christianity, the Easter Lily actually tells a story that begins at the bulb of the flower. It is said that the bulb buried in the ground represents the tomb of Jesus, and it’s proud, trumpet-like blooms that grow from these bulbs symbolize His life after death.
Their ivory white petals represent purity and the joy of the resurrection, while their shape represents the angel Gabriel’s trumpet call to new life.
In Greek mythology, the lily also symbolizes purity as well as abundance, with brides often wearing crowns of lilies and wheat. Allegedly created from the breast milk of Hera, wife of Zeus in Greek mythology, these blooms are also known to have been the product of the Roman goddess of beauty, Venus, who was so jealous of the lilies’ purity, she caused the pistil to grow from the center.
Now that the spring festivities are over, what should you do with your Easter Lily plant?
Plant it, of course!
Lilies are perennials and can grow anywhere from 1 to 3 feet tall in your garden. Plant them near your door so their fragrant trumpets can welcome you home.
Easter lilies need indirect sunlight, and soil that drains. Be sure to water them when their soil is dry to the touch and prune away withering petals.
You can’t go wrong when it comes to an Easter Lily this spring, as a hostess gift, table centerpiece, or decorations for a shop or restaurant. As long as pets aren’t nearby, this seasonal plant is worth having around!