The Lilly By William Blake
The modest Rose puts forth a thorn:
The humble Sheep, a threatening horn:
While the Lilly white, shall in Love delight,
Nor a thorn nor a threat stain her beauty bright.
No doubt you’ve noticed the signs in and about town declaring that Easter is this Sunday.
Eggs, bunnies, candy, and Crosses adorn the shelves of stores about town. Along with all of the traditions, both sacred and secular, one that takes me back to the earlier days of my youth is the Easter lily.
A few days before we would trek to my grandma’s house for Easter dinner, my mom would bring home an Easter lily that would be taken to adorn the dinner table. Until it made the trek with us, it sat prominently in the middle of the dinner table, where each of us could enjoy the pure white trumpet-shaped blossoms.
Each year, when dinner was over and conversations stalled, we’d pile into the car for the return home.
As we’d part, my child’s mind held a tinge of sadness at seeing the Lily in its rightful place, the center of my Grandma’s table. Once the harsh winter weather passed, she would plant the bulbs outside where they would continue to bloom each summer for years after. The tradition continued until her passing, when the roles shifted and it was my turn to bring home the Lilies.
Upon relocating to Colorado, the busyness of our new lives and the miles between us ended up stalling the tradition, but even now Easter isn’t complete without those trumpeted blooms – and I look forward to seeing them in the grocery as the day approaches. More than the actually lilies, I fondly enjoy the memories associated with them.
If you happen to be reading this mom, I wish you a most Happy Easter. I wish you the beauty of the Easter lily, and all that it represents.
Should you, kind reader, receive an Easter lily this weekend, I offer a few recommendations so that you and yours can enjoy its beauty for as long as you can, perhaps for years to come.
If you have cats – please be aware that all parts of the Lily are toxic to them, including the pollen. Make sure to remove the anthers as soon as you can to avoid possible exposure. Simply licking pollen off of their fur can result in kidney failure.
For continued enjoyment of your Lily –
- Keep your Lily in a cool room with bright but indirect sunlight.
- Places that you don’t want to put it include dry and drafty locations, near appliances, heat vents/registers, or fireplaces.
- If there is a decorative wrap around the pot, check to see that it isn’t left in standing water.
- Remove blooms as they fade to keep your plant healthy and vigorous.
For continued enjoyment beyond the spring –
Lily bulbs may not be hardy to your area, and often the bulb is too worn out from producing so many blooms for the holiday that it may not have enough energy stores to rebloom. If you’d like to take a chance and see if it has a bit of life left in it,
- Keep your lily in a well-lit area and water as needed.
- Once warmer temperatures arrive, select a sunny location that is protected from harsh winds.
- Dig a hole that is roughly the size of the pot your lily came in.
- Remove it from the pot and gently work your fingers through the root ball, loosening it and freeing the roots.
- Place the root ball into the hole, and fill with soil.
- Provide temporary support for the plant so that the weight of the foliage doesn’t cause it to tip out of the soil.
- Water thoroughly.
- In a week or two, fertilize with a fertilizer formulated for bulbs.
- Don’t worry if the stem withers and dies shortly after planting. The bulb is entering a rest phase, and if it has enough energy left in it, new shoots should appear in several weeks time.
For those of you who celebrate this Christian holiday, I wish you a very Happy Easter, may the Spirit be with you.
For everyone else – I wish you baskets of merriment, and no overlooked or forgotten eggs.
Until next time, may your knees be green and your spirit light.