“to paint the lily”

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As a teenager working at a Winn-Dixie Supermarket, I one day was told a coworker’s sister’s wedding plans. There was some drama with the bride demanding stargazer lilies despite their being, apparently, more expensive and difficult to get than other options. “Stargazer lilies” sounded romantic to me and stuck in my head. One day they crossed my conveyor belt when a customer purchased a bunch from the produce department. It made my day to come face-to-face with a diva flower that had caused so much drama.

With their plentiful pointed leaves stretching along the height of a singular stem generally supporting three or more bright flowers, they’re attention-grabbing stacks of stars, beautiful with an air of exoticism. But they aren’t the divas I thought they were–they are easy to grow and transplant. Garrett and I have had success with lilies in a number of places. We have two clusters of lilies in our yard: several asiatic lilies we transplanted from Harrison, and some red lilies that came with the house and surprised us our first spring.

Recent hard rains had knocked the petals off lilies at a local garden center–no more flowers will bloom until the plants grow anew next year, leaving the lilies weedy and sad looking in the meantime. Subsequently, they were on sale 75% off–$1 a plant, down from $4. We bought twenty and planted them at the foot of our front steps. We won’t have beautiful flowers from them until next year, but that’s okay. The dramatic appearance of these not-so-primadonna flowers next year is heavily anticipated. Meanwhile, our sophomore lilies are just beginning to bloom (banner photo).


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