Today I went to the supermarket to buy milk and came home with a calla lily. I did not think twice. As soon as I saw it, I picked it up and put it in my trolley because it reminded me of my grandmother. This a photo of my grandmother in her garden, the farm sheds and a cool old farm ute in the background.
I can see red carnations in her garden. I am not sure what the tall plants are, any ideas?
I am a gardener because my grandmother was a gardener. Aunty Ida in Cassandra is a gardener because my grandmother was a gardener. The garden scenes in the book are a product of my fond memories of gardening with my grandmother who I had the privilege of living next door to.
So, back to the calla lily which I actually thought was an arum lily until I got it home. My grandmother had a large arum planted by the stairs (Cassandra hides under it when her father is searching under the house for the snake). Under no condition would my grandmother allow an arum lily into the house. She considered them bad luck and only for funerals. Bringing arum lilies in the house would result in a funeral before the year was out. Meanwhile, they are poisonous this could have been common sense turned into superstition.
It turns out calla lilies and arum lilies are sometimes named interchangeably as the same plant. Arums are a weed in some states in Australia and the suggested alternative is calla lilies. I am happy with my calla lilly.