“The most important aspect to a project is to finish it. The most important aspect of an exploration is to engage in it. Both modes may result in a sense of accomplishment. The difference is that with projects accomplishment is conditional and dictated in advance, often by others, and these conditions may turn the work into a stressful and frustrating experience. Projects may succeed or fail. Explorations, on the other hand, are always enjoyable and successful, even if they result in no measurable and tangible outcome.”
“[Remembering] that our garden Lilies come from all countries in the northern half of the temperate world, from valleys, mountains, rocky heights, and swamps, we must be prepared for the fact that their young growths pierce the ground at very different dates, and that, though no doubt each Lily in its own place comes out of the ground at the fittest season for its new growth, when we put them into our gardens we cannot suit them with the exact weather and temperature and altitude that they would expect in their own homes.”
“I have been through swamps in which it grew seven feet high, with from ten to twenty flowers…. You will nearly always see the old dry stalk standing about four inches from the new shoot, and anyone knowing the habits of this Lily, can dig it any time after flowering, before frost, from the old dry flower-stems. They grow most abundantly among thickly matted roots in peaty swamps, where it is almost impossible to dig them, except with a sharp hatchet and very strong spade.”
This is the ninth of ten posts in my “Lilies on Black Backgrounds” series. The previous posts in this series are:
“Emily Dickinson knew her Bible from years of reading her King James, a present from her father. She quoted gardening passages from both testaments when it suited her. References to ‘Consider the lilies’ (Luke 12:27; Matthew 6:28), appear a half-dozen times in her letters, often with gifts of flowers….
“With a flair for exaggeration, she once confessed ‘the only Commandment I ever obeyed – ‘Consider the Lilies.”’’
“As summer progresses, the lilies open with fanfare. The blooms are preceded by dense tufts of green each spring that extend into green leafy stalks. Trumpet-shaped flowers return reliably year after year. Dickinson grew an array of lilies, a spectacle in the garden for weeks. There were many varieties including an alluring, unnamed ‘white one with rose-powdered petals and brown velvet stamens, far more elaborate than the simple varieties,’ plus Japanese lilies, yellow lilies, Madonna lilies, and tiger lilies.”
This is the eighth of ten posts in my “Lilies on Black Backgrounds” series. The previous posts in this series are:
“There is a school that claims to detest the scent of lilies: ‘like a funeral’ is the phrase. Personally, I don’t associate lilies with funerals, but if I did, what a way to go! No flower perfume is too strong for me. The stupendous lily bouquets that stand on our grand piano during July and August send an essence up the back stairs that finds its way into my bedroom and my dreams at night, and I am sorry for those whose senses don’t allow them to enjoy this pleasure.”
“Understand from the first this certainty. Butterflies don’t write books, neither do lilies…. Which doesn’t mean they don’t know, in their own way, what they are. That they don’t know they are alive — that they don’t feel, that action upon which all consciousness sits, lightly or heavily. Humility is the prize of the leaf-world….”
This is the seventh of ten posts in my “Lilies on Black Backgrounds” series. Like the sixth post, this one features photos taken in a section of Oakland Cemetery’s gardens with a large batch of saturated-pink and salmon-colored blooms, many of them manifesting most-excellent form.
“A sally down the garden path has quite the quality of a high adventure. We are accompanied by troops of ghostly flowers — nameless at night. At their sign the shadows part before and close in behind us, seeming to cut off retreat.
“Here a Lily shape is cut against the dark.”
This is the sixth of ten posts in my “Lilies on Black Backgrounds” series. This post features photos taken in a section of Oakland Cemetery’s gardens with a large batch of similar lilies in various shades of pink and salmon colors, some with deep red highlights at the edges of the petals.