Wednesday, 24 June 2020

Lilies

I love lilies and several of mine are currently holding centre stage in the garden.
Lilium martagon 'pink'
The first time that I ever saw these pink martagon lilies was many, many, years ago. It was during a family holiday taken with our two sons in the Pyrenees. We were staying in Andorra, which is both the highest, and the smallest country in Europe. We had set off early one morning for a full day of trekking and suddenly caught sight of a large clump of them growing in the wild as we crossed a remote valley - it was then that I fell in love with them. 
Lilium martagon 'Album"
Lilium regale
Lilies most commonly mean devotion or purity. In Greek mythology, Zeus wanted baby Hercules to drink the milk of Hera, his wife, but Hercules was born of another woman. Even though Hera disagreed, Zeus brought him to drink her milk whilst she was sleeping, but she awoke and pushed him away. The drops of milk that spilled on the ground grew into lilies.
In China, lilies are used at weddings because they represent 100 years of love and also good luck. The Assyrians and Babylonians associated lilies with the goddess of fertility, Ishtar, and Christians associated lilies, especially Madonna lilies, with the Virgin Mary. Many Victorian painters along with members of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood admired lilies and often included them in their paintings - the regale lily shown above being a great favourite.

37 comments:

  1. I suspect that Andorra was remote back then, Rosemary, and attractive. When we visited a few years ago, it had become essentially a giant shopping mall, filled with tax-free goods, roads jammed with cars barely moving, extravagant parking fees....and so on. I was happier to leave than I was to arrive. We stayed in a small Catalonian town called Bagá, which was as charming as Andorra was unappealing. But you have great floral memories to remind you of a visit which was no doubt more memorable than mine.

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    1. It must be about 40 years ago that we visited David but I was really interested to learn that you had been there too. It is true that when we were there we were practically the only visitors around - it was quiet and seemed very remote. However, I do recall the odd coach pulling up in the village where we stayed and uploading touring tourists who all piled into a duty free shop. Having learnt what you have said I won't be going back there again ever.

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  2. Dearest Rosemary,
    Lilies are a beautiful, fragrant and regal flower!
    Glad you got to see them grow in their natural habitat in Andorra and now in your own heavenly garden.
    Today we will manage the Proofs of the final batch of 4 chapters each in 3 Pdfs. Will feel great for landing on the final page 436 so the end is in sight.
    Hugs,
    Mariette

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    1. Dear Mariette - well done, I am sure that you feel happy to have completed the task that you set yourself.
      The lilies are some of my favourite flowers at the moment in the garden.

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  3. I have never seen the purple ones before, what a beautiful color! I can see why you love them. I bet the
    fragrance is magnificent! I always manage to get lily pollen on me when I cut the variety I have.

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    1. Probably best to wear gloves when cutting lilies - I actually don't cut mine, but I do buy lilies for vases and usually remove the pollen first of all - although they do tend to look rather sad bereft of their pollen.

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  4. I must have been in Andorra about thirty years ago. Back then Andorra La Vella was commercialised but, as I spent the entire time walking the more isolated valleys and mountains, it didn't bother me much at all. My brother used to grow lots of lilies but I never liked the way they left pollen all over my trousers every time I walked past!





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    1. It sounds as if we visited Andorra just in time - I grow my lilies in pots, some of which sit on top of a 3ft wall. No fear of brushing up besides them and ending up with pollen on your clothes.

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  5. They are sooo beautiful. You have some wonderful plants and flowers in your garden. I love the paintings; flowers are always so popular in painting for their symbolism. I would love to be able to grow flowers, but our soil is so thin and sandy it's hard to grow anything other than what wants to grow wild LOL We have to buy soil in bulk and use our compost for the veggies. Best, Jane x

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    1. It sounds as if your garden would be suitable for lavender plants, you get them in many colours including white through to purple, blue, mauve, and pink.

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    2. I do have lavender; I love the scent of it :) x

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  6. I love the curly stems of those purple tinted ones...I have high allergy to them, so can't even be in a room with them. They are often used in florist displays, so I start coughing. But they sure are beautiful.

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    1. Their common name is turks cap due to their upturned petals.

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  7. My favourite lilies are tiger lilies. They used to grow wild on the prairies but are rarely to be seen in the wild anymore.

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    1. I do have the orange tiger lilies in the garden but they are still in bud at the moment.

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  8. Dear Rosemary,
    Your white lilies are stunning and they are my favorites. Looking sad when, 'bereft of their pollen', is a good description. I feel the same. I would rather move the lilies where the pollen can do no harm than cut out their pollen stems.
    We also were caught in the madness of Andorra. We couldn't wait to get out of there.

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    1. I am really surprised at just how many people have visited Andorra - my memory of Andorra is very different to others, and I will always remember as it was, so will never return.

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  9. Never visited Andorra - and guess I won't now!
    Awesome lilies - prefer them in the garden as fragrance is too cloying in the house.
    That John Singer Sargent painting with the lanterns has always been a great favorite.

    Another picnic planned? We may do one at the weekend and of course a country drive - I need something new to look at!

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    1. We thoroughly enjoyed our day out yesterday Mary, and actually already have another one planned for Friday. I know that you and I both have itchy feet. My youngest son rang last night and invited us to meet him, his wife, and one of our granddaughters at a garden just outside Oxford where we can all have a picnic together. It is roughly halfway from either house, and we haven't seen this particular granddaughter for a year as she is at university in Edinburgh - we are really looking forward to seeing them.

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  10. What beautiful lilies! Your story of how you came across them is very interesting. I only have day lilies in my garden and they are just beginning to form buds.

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    1. I think that it was seeing them grow wild that first gave me an interest in having lilies in the garden.

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  11. I love lillies and the one in your top photo is especially pretty. Glad you are now able to go out and meet family.

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    1. I love it too - it was great to get out, we are meeting up with my youngest son, his wife, and one of our granddaughters tomorrow.

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  12. Wow, you have some wonderful lillies in your garden!

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    1. Glad that you enjoyed seeing the lilies.

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  13. Hello Rosemary, The daylilies that grow by country roadsides are one of the friendliest of flowers. Certain lilies yield edible components--especially the flowers and bulbs. Also, I don't know if The Munsters every made it to England, but Lily Munster will always be in the hearts of those who saw the show!
    --Jim

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    1. Hello Jim - I do believe that The Munsters did feature here, but I have never watched them. However, I have a very special and beautiful Lily of my own - she is my first born granddaughter.

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  14. Your lilies are so adorable, Rosemary! And so ample, luxurious and healthy - wonderful!

    I love lilies in the garden, outdoor (inside their smell is too strong for me).

    In Japan the use the name of the lily - taken no hana - describes also " a beauty that cannot be reached ("the flower that grows upon the high rock")
    Interesting that with the recline of the power of Christian faith also the Lilium candidum became less and less - nowadays there are more Asian lilies on the market, and Marianne Beuchert ( a great German expert for the symbolism of flowers) asks: "Should one see that as symbolic too?"

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    1. Yes, I have noticed that there are far more Asian lilies for sale in the flower shops. However, if I treat myself to a vase of lilies to place in a vase, I always choose Lilium candidum, Madonna Lilies, because of their purity, simplicity, and beauty.

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  15. I agree with you, lilies are a true delight and even though they do have a strong smell I love them .

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    1. The Alpine/Pyrenean flower meadows are amazing. Nice slice of myth/history.

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    2. Everyone should have at least one opportunity to walk in a beautiful Alpine meadow.

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