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The Gardener's Kitchen: Easter Lilies

Updated on June 22, 2011


The Second World War is responsible for the growth of the Easter Lily industry in the United States. The Easter Lily or Lilium longiflorum was originally grown in Japan and up until 1941 when the Japanese attacked Pearl harbour Japan dominated the Easter Lily trade.>

The Easter Lily was introduced into the United States by a World War I soldier, Louis Houghton.

Houghton brought a suitcase full of hybrid lily bulbs to the South coast of Oregon in 1919. The bulbs were widely distributed as Houghton gave the away freely to horticultural friends and neighbors.>

After the Second World War, the industry took root, due to ideal growing conditions, mostly in southern Oregon and northern California.>

Easter Lilies are estimated to be the fourth largest potted plant crop in the United States, following the poinsettia, mum, and azalea.

It is said that Easter Lilies were found growing in the Garden of Gethsemane after Christ's agony.

Many churches, during Easter, use lilies on their altars in order to commemorate the resurrection of Jesus Christ and hope of life everlasting.

The white lily is a symbol of purity and has a long association with women. In some early paintings you can see Angel Gabriel extending a branch of pure white lilies to the Virgin Mary, announcing that she is to be the mother of the Christ Child.

There are other paintings which picture saints bringing vases full of white lilies to Mary and the infant Jesus.

The Easter Lily is also associated with Astarte the Phoenician goddess of fertility and reproduction and the principal deity of the port city of Sidon. Astarte was worshipped as far west as Carthage, Sicily, Sardinia and Cyprus.

Some believe that the Easter Lily was once, because of its shape, associated with the reproductive organs, and therefore with fertility.

Regardless of what faith you follow or even if you are an atheist, the Easter Lily is a perfect plant to celebrate the changing of the seasons the end of winter and the coming of the spring.

This plant will brighten you home as the days become longer and the sun moves closer.

You can place it in the entrance way of your home to greet yoru visitors or use it as a centre piece on a buffet table. I see the Easter Lily as a celebration of Life and Light of a new season dawning and the herald of much yet to come.



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  • Bob Ewing profile image

    Bob Ewing 9 years ago from New Brunswick

    Stargazers are a personal favourite as well, thanks for dropping in.

  • LondonGirl profile image

    LondonGirl 9 years ago from London

    I love lilies - the scent is gorgeous. Stargazers are my favourite. Do you know them?

  • Bob Ewing profile image

    Bob Ewing 9 years ago from New Brunswick

    They are beautiful, thanks for dropping by.

  • cgull8m profile image

    cgull8m 9 years ago from North Carolina

    I love these flowers they make the garden great.