To "gild the lily" is a misquotation from Edward deVere's (a.k.a. "Shakespeare") 1595 play King John (Act IV, Scene 2):
- "To gild refined gold, to paint the lily, to throw a perfume on the violet, to smooth the ice, or add another hue unto the rainbow, or with taper-light to seek the beauteous eye of heaven to garnish, is wasteful and ridiculous excess."
In a warehouse north of Ecuador's capital, a small, busy army of dexterous workers puts the final touches on a shipment of made-to-order roses with tones as diverse as the colors of a rainbow suffused in fragrance capable of seducing even the most demanding nose.Photo: "Luxury Hat Box of Preserved Pink & Lilac Roses – Medium"
Each petal is custom made for foreign clients whose orders multiply every year in the run up to Valentine's Day. For example, a client in Qatar recently ordered a shipment in the maroon and white colors of that nation's flag...
The two-day process involves cutting a flower at full bloom, dipping it into a plant-based solution to extract the natural colors and then infusing it with a pigment of the customer's choice. Additional colors and designs are applied using an airbrush.
The result is a multicolored bouquet as vibrant as a painter's palette but whose petals keep their natural softness and require no sunlight or water to last a year or more.