Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
The Easter lily is unique among flowers. While other types of lilies are used throughout the year, this is the only one associated with the Easter holiday.
Other lilies come in a range of colors. But, that is not the case with the Easter lily. This is always pure white. That makes it easy to plan your color scheme in advance. It is often used in combination with other white blooms.
Easter lilies are used as a large form flower. These blossoms are trumpet shaped. They have a delightfully sweet fragrance.
The Easter lily blooms have a vase life of four to five days per bloom. The blossoms can be five to six inches in diameter. They are outward facing. The blossoms open in bunches at the top of the tall stems.
Easter lilies and other lilies produce lots of pollen. This can stain to table linens. You can prevent this from happening by removing the anthers. Removing these also makes the flowers last longer.
When staining does occur, there are several things you can do. One option is to place a piece of scotch tape over the stain. Then lift the tape, which will remove most of the pollen. Shake the stained item and place it in front of a sunny window. The spot should disappear within a few hours.
You can also remove the pollen with a vacuum cleaner. Let the pollen dry. Without touching the fabric, hold the hose attachment above the stain.
Some say the lily has been in cultivation longer than any other flower. The Easter lily is actually a kind of Oriental lily. This is not the same as the Madonna lily, which also happens to be white.
In the Victorian language of flowers, the white lily stands for youthful innocence.
The ceremonial use of the lily actually predates Christianity. In the western world it was associated with the ancient goddesses. According to Roman legend, the first white lily arose from the breast milk of Juno, who was empress of nature.
In the Roman and the Greek cultures, these were used to honor both mother goddesses, Juno and Hera. In the Middle East, the lily was used to honor Astarte, the goddess of fertility.
The Christian church officially consecrated the lily to the Virgin Mary in the second century A.D. Thatís where the name Madonna lily comes from. Medieval paintings inevitably showed the Virgin Mary with a lily. The white color was said to reflect her purity.
Lilies were one of the flowers that were found in the Virgin Maryís tomb when she ascended to heaven.
Another legend says the lily sprung up from the tears Eve shed when she and Adam were driven out of the Garden of Eden. Lilies were traditionally grown in ancient Mediterranean cultures. Pottery from Crete dating from three thousand years ago depict images of lily.