Consider the lilies

Every year I plant a few lilies to supplement what I already have growing in pots on the decks. Sometimes I buy an unnamed assortment package and then watch an unexpected exuberance of red or orange or yellow as the buds open on warm summer mornings. My favourite lilies are “Casablanca”, a pure white Oriental, with a beautiful fragrance. I thought that was what I’d planted in the southwest corner of the deck where we eat our dinner most evenings. There are sweet peas growing along the rails and I knew the white lilies would look very lovely against the tangle of green vines and rich red and purple sweet peas. Oh, and I anticipated the smell of the lilies as we ate at the table under the wisteria and grapes, a blue bowl of sweet peas on the French cloth.

Well, what a surprise to discover that the Casablancas are something else: sturdy white flowers, still smelling like the winds of heaven, but doubles. And some of them are pale pink, like apple blossom. Obviously I didn’t look carefully at what I was buying in early spring or else there was a mistake in the packaging. I’m not complaining. That corner of the deck is lovely and I do like surprises. I’m re-reading Mrs. Dalloway and came to this passage with a kind of delighted recognition: “…all the sweet peas spreading in their bowls, tinged violet, snow white, pale – as if it were the evening and girls in muslin frocks came out to pick sweet peas and roses after the superb summer’s day, with its almost blue-black sky, its delphiniums, its carnations, its arum lilies was over; and it was the moment between six and seven when every flower – roses, carnations, irises, lilac – glows; white, violet, red, deep orange; every flower seems to burn by itself…” I’ll remember this when we have dinner this evening, the gift of double white lilies against the dark trees.

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~ by theresakishkan on August 13, 2011.

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