Lily of the Valley

Lily of the Valley is one of my favorite garden perennials – it’s delicate white flowers herald a unique fragrance which I always associate with the first days of summer.  The scent is sweet, although not overbearing like that of honeysuckle or wisteria.

Lily of the Valley

A woodland species, lily of the valley is not actually a lily but a member of the asparagus family, and is considered to be poisonous to pets and people. 

It flowers in June here in Canada, although in other countries earlier in the spring.   In France, May 1 is considered Lily of the Valley day, where vendors set up their stalls in the streets to sell bundles brought in from the countryside.    

Lily of the Valley - Janice MacLeod book

from A Paris Year – by Janice MacLeod

Lily of the Valley - Janice MacLeod book

from A Paris Year – by Janice MacLeod

I inherited my now thriving patch from a free clump given to me by a fellow gardener. 

Lily of the Valley

No social distancing here….

Warning – it is an invasive species, spread through underground rhizomes, something I always appreciate in my garden where so much withers and dies, usually from neglect.   A hardy plant, it can take care of itself, although it prefers a shady spot.

Often a favorite of bridal bouquets, like Kate Middleton’s, even a spray or two adds a delicate touch of white.

Lily of the Valley - Kate Middleton

I like to put a few springs in a bud vase and perfume my rooms. Lily of the ValleyWhile the smell may only last a few days, you can recapture the mood with scented products.   I remember wearing a fragrance by Coty called Muguet-des-bois, many years ago.   

Lily of the Valley Coty - Muguet des bois2)

Scented hand soaps are nice too – especially as we’re washing our hands so frequently – a little dose of springtime year round!

Lily of the Valley

In the language of flowers, lily of the valley means the return of happiness, perhaps a signal of sunnier days ahead. 

PS.   The third week of May, this beautiful blue flower bloomed right in front of my lily of the valley. 

Blue flower near Lily of the Valley

I don’t know what it is and don’t even remember planting it – possibly it was from the horticultural sale two years ago — but it’s unfortunate they didn’t bloom at the same time, as blue and white is always a lovely color combination.   It’s nice to know that even in this time of COVID monotony, the garden can still hold surprises.  

PS:  Speaking of old and new, I’m still on the old editor.  When I decline, not now, it allows me to continue with the old, but I’m not sure if this is a permanent thing or if I haven’t been switched yet?   Is anyone else still using the old?   I would have thought they would have migrated everyone by now?