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  Top » Catalog » Design Tips » History of Lilies
History of Lilies by Heidi Richards Mooney

Meaning - purity of the heart

The lily is believed to have been under cultivation longer than any other ornamental flower, having existed in gardens 3,000 years ago.  Floral designs, particularly lilies, made their appearance and became very popular in the 18th Dynasty of Egypt. Egyptian Pharaohs had their tombs decorated with paintings of white lilies.  Minoans of 4000 years ago put them on their famous ceramic pottery.

In Asia Minor , during the 2nd millennium BC, the bulb of the Madonna  lily was cultivated for use in a medicinal ointment; the ancients raised the bulbs of this species for food. The Greeks and Romans grew it for ornamental and medicinal purposes. Madonna lilies in particular have a very long history of cultivation.

The white lily is considered the flower of purity and chastity. Since the early Middle Ages it has been an attribute of many saints and of the Virgin Mary.

Artists for centuries have pictured the angel Gabriel coming to the Virgin Mary with a spray of lilies in his hand, to announce (annunciation) that she is to be the mother of the Christ child.  The lily is also the sign of the Resurrection.

The Madonna Lily has been cultivated in England for over three centuries, and no cottage garden was considered complete without this old favorite. Gerard, the famous apothecary, botanist and gardener of that period, says, 'Our English white lilie groweth in most gardens of England .'  CARE TIPS - Remove the pollen stamens by pinching them together and pulling them up out of the flower. This prolongs the flower's life as well. Use sellotape to remove pollen, not water which will fix the stain.

Source: http://members.shaw.ca/lilynet/netlil/id32.htm

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This article was published on Monday 15 December, 2008.
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