Spring is coming. We all love seeing the signs of spring as the grass gets greener and the trees begin to bloom. Bulbs that have been in the ground spring to life from their dry lifeless look. They bring hope that spring will soon arrive. The Easter lily was the topic for the March meeting of the Deer Creek Daisy Garden Club.
The Easter lily is the most popular of the floral images of spring. It’s large, pure white trumpets symbolize purity, virtue and innocence and are often associated with the Virgin Mary. Eggs, baby animals and flowers are also seen as symbols of innocence and new life.
One story has it that as Christ walked the earth all of the flowers bowed before him, except the proud lily. After the Crucifixion, the lily bowed its head in sorrow and shame and grows that way still. Examining the religious perspective, the Easter lily and its inspiring trumpet-shaped blossoms joyfully announce the Resurrection of Jesus Christ in the Christian world. The pure and white flowers symbolize the hope of eternal life and peace as does the Spring Season.
The first lily associated with the Virgin Mary was the Madonna Lily, a native of Palestine. Records of it go back to Samaria over 5,000 years ago. The Minoans, Greeks, and Romans all associated this flower with the queen of their gods.
Today’s Easter lily is Lilium loniflorum, a native of Ryuka Islands of southern Japan. It was discovered by the famous plant explorer Carl Peter Thumberg in 1977, sent to England in 1819, and to Bermuda in 1953, where it thrived and bloomed in spring. It is said that a visitor to the island saw them and brought them back to Philadelphia, where a local nurseryman forced them for sale at Easter. At the time many commercial growers were based in Bermuda. They provided much of our commercial crop until 1898, when a virus destroyed the plants. Production returned to Japan until trade was halted at the outbreak of World War II. The story of our Easter lily might have ended there if it hadn’t been for a soldier, Louis Houghton, who brought a suitcase full of hybrid bulbs home to his family and friends in Oregon, where they flourished.
When the Japanese supply halted, these bulbs became the nucleus of a new industry. The entire Pacific coast of the United States from California to Oregon is known as the Easter Lily Capitol of the World. Today over 90 percent of all Easter lily bulbs are grown in the Oregon area.
Today’s bulbs can be grown here. When storing, keep them in a bright place and water them regularly. Your goal is to keep the foliage healthy so that the bulb can store energy for the future. They can go outside as soon as the weather is warm. Plant them in a sunny spot with good drainage and continue watering if needed. It may take a year or two for forced bulbs to regain enough strength to bloom, but will be worth the wait.
The Easter lily has been 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, along with other Easter blooms, serve as a beautiful reminder that Easter is a time for rejoicing and celebrating.
Nine members were present for a breakfast provided by host Kendra Knecht and Joyce Schlichter. After breakfast and the program on the Easter lily, Joyce gave a demonstration on designing an Easter painting and craft. All agreed that they were ready for spring and enjoyed taking home their unique painting.
Rita Lanman was the winner of the door prize. Along with Rita, members present were Billie Lanman, Judy Gentry, Julie Schwartz, Barbara Vance, Marty Cook, Jeanne Miller, Joyce Schlichter and Kendra Knecht.
This article was submitted by the Deer Creek Daisies.