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Few flowers reflect a sense of sensuousness and luxury quite like the lovely Lily of the Nile. Agapanthus, as it is known in Latin, or sometimes the African Lily in the UK, is a large, lush flower that would make anyone feel like royalty. This is the perfect flower to indulge someone with for a birthday, anniversary or cheering up occasion and will last longer than one would expect for such a large bloom. Wrap a few slender stalks up in ribbon or stand them up in a tall, elegant vase for a woman in your life that’s earned a little adoration.
Technically native to parts of South Africa nowhere near the actual river Nile, the Lily of the Nile doesn’t care much for semantics and would prefer to be referred to by its scientific name, Agapanthus (which is technically Greek and not Latin) and means “love flower.” It’s technically not a true lily either, being from the same family as Amaryllis with its tall, upright stems and long, slender leaves, but this flower has made a name for itself all the same and has become a popular cut flower in many a local florist’s cooler as well as a popular perennial planted in gardens zones 9 and above.
There are around 10 different species of this striking flower, which can grow 1 to 4 feet in height, but almost all are either a shade of blue, violet or white. The individual funnel-shaped flowers bloom in perfectly round clusters that can be more than 6 inches across in diameter, so even 2 or three stems will have a courtly appearance in a clear glass vase on their own or gussied up with some trailing pepperberry or dainty dendrobium orchids dripping off the sides. Most other flowers will pale in comparison to the queenly stature of the Lily of the Nile, which will make the focal point of any arrangement, so choose long, fully-opened stems in an odd number for the biggest impact.
Lily of the Nile is most available in the summertime, but isn’t hard to find if you give a florist a few day’s notice. The blue-hued blooms will stand out strikingly compared to other more commonly available flowers and though they are a bit more expensive than your typical roses or lilies (budget at least $4 per stem), you really only need three of these bare stems to give a woman of bearing a sense that she rules the kingdom of your heart.