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Happy Easter, and why

Connecting the Dots

I don’t know when I have anticipated gardening as much as this year. I’ve even started seeds inside. That’s new for me. I have two Easter lilies in my home, at present, as well.

Every year I buy an Easter lily and one or two for others. For one thing, the smell is amazing. I find them fabulous, deeply appropriate as spring days awaken.

(I also like chocolate Easter bunnies, chocolate eggs and chickens, but they won’t grow into anything positive for me.)

My seed starting actually began last year, at least the idea seeded itself then. I noticed that some tree saplings were difficult to find in local greenhouses, so I figured, I can grow these things.

After a search I found a place to order Mancana ash seeds. Mancana or Manchurian ash has a shapely oval form, with a branch system more like a Linden tree’s multi-branched growth habit, but still a very neat tree, not so likely to overgrow. It becomes a bright yellow globe before losing its leaves in the fall.

Of course, there’s a process on the path to success and I discovered that, but only sometime after I made the commitment to grow these tree seedlings. Instructions came with the seeds.

The process - stratification. I had never heard of it, but that explained why the winged seeds I collected from the large-leaved maple tree in Virden’s Victoria Park did not spring up three weeks after I stuck them in dirt.

No, these seeds need to spend several months in the cold and damp. You could plant them in late fall perhaps, but a little bag of peat within a refrigerator can provide that environment. I now have Mancana ash seedlings. I am still waiting on the maple seeds.

But my lilies are making themselves heard right now and rightly so, as I read recently that the white Easter lily is a symbol associated with Christ, who is celebrated at this season.

I also discovered recently that while we hide Easter eggs, and enjoy their symbolism of new spring life, there’s another connection with something hidden at this time of year.

For observant Jews, this is Passover time, celebrating Israeli deliverance from 400 years of slavery in Egypt over 3000 years ago. Within their religious observance, they also have an opportunity for children to hunt for something special. A piece of flat bread (afikomen) is broken in half and one part is hidden.

This has a deep spiritual meaning, possibly referencing their returning Messiah, but for any kids at the table, after the meal, it means a hunt for the hidden afikomen.

Spring cannot be held back. Seeds are sprouting in homes and greenhouses everywhere and flowers in pots line store shelves. Living plants can be messy, but life can be messy, and beautiful.

Easter season is a beautiful celebration.