White Lily from The Temple of Flora

Every month we like to share some art for garden-lovers.  Since January we’ve been showing plates from a 19th century book of plant engravings, The Temple of Flora.  The illustrated volume accompanied Robert John Thornton’s botanical masterpiece explaining the theories of the Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus.  The book was undoubtedly a success, but not financially – poor Thornton was ruined by it!  Even so, plant-lovers regard The Temple of Flora as one of the greatest plant books ever, and the White Lily is one of the most beautiful of the plates.

It’s easy to see why this is a popular engraving.  The artist presents the flower in perfect botanical detail, and also sets the plant in an attractive landscape.  There’s something about the White Lily that is perfect in the garden or in an engraving!

Also known as the Madonna Lily, the White Lily, lilium candidum, has beautiful white flowers which are strongly fragrant.  In the ground, the flower stems can reach two metres tall!  However, this beautiful plant is highly toxic to cats, so avoid growing it in gardens where cats visit.

The White Lily also has a symbolic use in art and literature.  It’s often used in paintings of the Annunciation, where the angel Gabriel visited Mary, as it symbolises purity and chastity.

You can read more about the plant and its symbolism by clicking the link to the Lilium Candidum Wikipedia Page.  Remember though, that whichever plants you choose for your garden, an irrigation system will help them thrive!  Give Rosewood a call if you’d like to know more – our friendly office staff would love to answer your questions.