Flowerful fave – Iris and lily
This week is an absolute banger. Not only are we mega fans of it but the flowers in it have been a favourite of peeps for thousands of years. They were big with the Ancient Greeks, Egyptians and pretty much every person in Europe since people could even say the word ‘flower’. So I mean it’s pretty much got the approval of every one… Ever!
“Since Iris is the Greek goddess for the Messenger of Love, her sacred flower is considered the symbol of communication and messages. Greek men would often plant an iris on the graves of their beloved women as a tribute to the goddess Iris, whose duty it was to take the souls of women to the Elysian fields” ~ Hana No Monogatari: The Stories of Flowers
(Has always been) so hot right now
Ancient Egyptian kings and queens totally dug the iris’ exotic nature. Drawings have been found of the flower in a number of Egyptian palaces.
Irises were used to make perfume, and used as a medicinal remedy. The dried powder from the iris is said to act as a good snuff, useful to excite sneezing to relieve cases of congested headaches. Pieces of the dried root are occasionally chewed for bad breath. Bet it didn’t taste too good though.
During the Middle Ages, irises were linked to the French monarchy, and the Fleur-de-lis eventually became the recognised national symbol of France.
According to French historian Georges Duby, the three petals represent the medieval social classes: those who worked, those who fought, and those who prayed. It’s also meant to symbolise the holy trinity.
Fleur de l’ets figure out if its an iris or lily…
The exact French translation of Fleur de lis is: Lily flower
So which one is it, lily or iris? Basically it’s both. However predominantly it symbolises a lily but it depends who you’re talking to.
Not so silly lily
Created from the breast milk of Hera, wife of Zeus in Greek mythology, the lily flower is the symbol of purity. The Roman goddess of beauty, Venus, was so jealous of the lily’s white purity that she caused the pistil to grow from the flower’s center to ruin is beauty. Good luck, Hera. It didn’t work. Although cats might disagree.
The first lily picture that I can find a record of appeared in Crete around 1580 BC. I told you people have liked them for a long, old time.
The Old Testament, New Testament and many other ancient books across a variety of societies mention lilies. The flowers still represent purity and abundance in Greece, where brides wear crowns made of lilies and wheat. I know I keep banging on about it but people really are big fans!
In most cultures in history, the lily represents purity, chastity and virtue. However, the lily is a symbol of death in some civilizations. Sprinkled on the graves of innocent children, saints and martyrs, lilies can represent purity in passing.
European explorers crisscrossed the globe, searching for medicinal plants during the Victorian era. One notable explorer, Augustine Henry, became so obsessed with lilies and switched the goal of his expedition from finding medicinal plants to locating new types of lilies.
Lilies have been raised as ornamental, medicinal and food plants for millennia. In Asia, the bulb of the Madonna lily (Lilium candidum) was cultivated for use as a poultice on tumors, ulcers and skin inflammation. Lilies to the rescue!
Food for thought
In China, lily bulbs have long been prepared as food. They are starchy and similar to potatoes when cooked. The ancient Greeks and Romans also raised lilies as a food crop and for ornamental gardens. Greek soldiers even carried the bulbs to eat and use as medicine.
Many First Nations tribes in North America used wild lily bulbs. They were boiled and steamed fresh, flattened into thin cakes for storage, or ground into a flour to thicken soups. I wouldn’t recommend mooshing up your arrangement to make cakes though. The bulbs were also used for healing wounds, swelling and snake bites.
Now let’s have a look at our bunch
LA Lily ‘Brindisi’
Named after the Italian town for its soft pink colour, this lily shines out against the deeper Oriental variety.
Iris ‘Blue Magic’
A favourite muse of Claude Monet, these will quickly pop open to reveal an explosive centre.
Oriental Lily ‘Mambo’
These lilies are simply incredible with a lovely appley scent, their beautiful deep red colour is hard to beat.
A touch of silvery green foliage grown by my good friend James in Ireland
Our fleurs are so incredibly fresh that some of them will arrive closed. They’ll open up over the next few days and we hope you enjoy watching them open up.