Lily of the Valley Memories:
My first memories of Lily of the Valley were visiting my grandmother’s house in the country as a child. The small bell shaped blooms were just the right size for a child to grasp and make a small fragrant bouquet to carry into the house, to be put in a mason jar, and admired by all who enter.
As the years passed and my grandmother moved to the city; the adults had the foresight to dig up her most favorite flowers and plants and transplant into their own yards. As an adult now with my own home, the Lily’s have been planted in my own yard. They love it there, like it was meant to be. The Lily’s make me feel special like I was meant to be keeper of the Lily’s. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of my grandmother, especially when I stroll by the Lilies and smell that sweet aroma.
The delightful aroma that wafts in the car window while driving down the driveway; or walking up the garden path to the back porch; The Lily of the valleys bloom with fragrant flowers twice a year. The Lily’s spread wildly from year to year. The foliage stays green all year, just like a shiny houseplant. I have given many admirers starts from my prize collection of Lily of the valley crop, but I’m told later they did not survive. My mind is reaffirmed I am the keeper of the Lily’s
Lily of the Valley Plant: (Convallaria majulus)
The lily produces a small white bell, fragrant delicate, cluster around a central stem. Lily of the Valley is a long old time favorite. The lily was a favorite in older gardens and cemeteries; growing 6-8 inches tall. The leaves arise directly from the bulb or pip. They are oblong and thick. The flower stalk grows about 8 inches to 10 inches are borne on the stalk, scattered along the upper half. The lily is a hardy plant that needs to be thinned or it will not produce as many flowers when crowded conditions exist. The Lily is a woodland plant that comes into bloom twice a year. Mid-spring and loves cool moist shady spots.
The lily of the valley is propagated from a collection of roots and from a growing point or pip, Vausbeck Germany, is the center of production of these pips and supplies the world. Many millions of plants are produced and sold each year from Germany… As these pips are placed and moved in cold storage, florist or indoor plant growers can have pips for forcing at any time. The indoor grower can take one or more of the pips, pot them up, keep the soil moist and in a 75 degree f temperature have flowers produced in 4 weeks.
In some green houses the pips are planted under benches in group-successions, the blooms and some leaves are then cut from the plant and made into bouquets. They also can be grown outside. Select a northern exposure or partial shade where the soil is rich and plant the pips from 6 to 9 inches apart. Plant in late fall early spring. Each year top dress the plants with compost. After a few years the pips should be lifted and replanted, more to thin out the plants than anything else. Thinning increases bloom in size and number. Do not cut the foliage before it dies. This will injure the crop and bloom. Cutting the flower does not.
You can purchase indoor varieties and these can be forced to bloom from mid winter through late summer.
The crowns (rhizomes can also be forced into flowers from plants raised outdoors; these must be stored outdoors at a temperature of (32 degrees f) before potting, to imitate winter conditions, Treat the crowns like bulbs, and pot up to 10 of them 6-in (15-cm) pot in autumn. Cover and keep in a cold dark place for at least four weeks, then bring into a warmer place and uncover.
The most common variety of lily of the valley is white and single flowered, but a rose colored single and a white double are also available.
Start a tradition in your own family, appoint yourself the keeper of the Lily’s, then pass the sweet fragrant plant on to your children when they get their own homes.