Early one Easter Sunday morning several years ago, I heard loud angry voices coming from my neighbor's house while I was hiding Easter eggs for my grandson in my backyard. Suddenly, their back door opened and into the cool morning air sailed a lovely potted Easter Lily. Through the air it flew and landed with a plop against the fence under a tree in a scrubby part of their yard, pink foil wrapping and all. Through the summer, the poor thing withered and became covered with long grass and weeds, its pink foil still signalling where it lay. It became something of a curiosity for me to see just how long the pink foil wrapping would last. The pot was paper mache and was slowly deteriorating in the rain. Before long, the foil began to fade in the hot summer sun. Grass clippings would sometimes cover the site if the boy next door mowed. That fall, what was left lay under a foot of leaves, then in December, several inches of snow packed them down. The next spring, only one small corner of the foil peeked out. It was lacy with holes and no longer pink. I could only guess that the rest had rotted completely. Another year of seasons progressed until no signs of the lily remained.
Those of us who garden know what happened next after two years of composted leaves and weeds and grass clippings. Yes, the lily poked her head up through the rich compost in the spring, and before long, she offered three white blooms. The green growth was spindly, but the blooms were perfect. I still watch for her, and she still blooms. Just yesterday I peeked over the fence and there she was, stronger now and pretty as ever, determined to be seen. My own compost heap is against that fence and I hope she gets plenty of the dark organic tea that follows a rain.