Living where we do, you are most likely aware that 95% of the world’s Easter lilies are grown on the coastal fertile land along the California and Oregon border. If you didn’t know, well, there’s some trivia for your back pocket. You may also know that the Easter lily is native to the Southern islands of Japan. After World War 1, in 1919, a soldier brought a suitcase of hybrid lily to the Southern coast of Oregon. He gave them to lucky gardening friends and neighbors, who quickly planted and continued to raise them.
Later, the source of these bulbs was cut off due to the attack on Pearl Harbor. Gradually, as the source and production of this valuable bulb increased, it remained centered here at home along the Pacific West Coast. However, the Easter Lily, with its beauty, folklore, medicinal, magical and Biblical reference is not the lily I hope you will consider in your garden this year. . .your water garden. Think about the water lily.
The herbal water lily has long been used medicinally for lung, gastrointestinal and skin conditions. The rhizome of the white water lily has been used to treat kidney ailments, congestion, as a sedative and to alleviate pain. Rhizomes are usually collected in the fall, dried, and stored for later use. Oh, you don’t have a large pond; it doesn’t matter. Water lilies, along with some companion plants, can easily grow on a smaller scale in a large pot on your patio. They will only grow to the size of your container. And they grow, and overwinter best in zones 9-11. Try something new this growing season. The varieties available are overwhelming, and their beauty will astound you!
Contact the Water Gardening Society’s website for expert help: www.iwgs.org
By Cheryl Balster