When I saw this photo, I immediately could smell the fragrance. Isn’t it amazing how a certain flower fragrance stays with you? Even though peonies and roses have their own memorable fragrances, for some reason, Lily of the Valley Convallaria majalis seems to be the most vivid in my mind.
It says spring is here. It reminds me of childhood days in our woods and time spent crafting make believe gardens lined with small rocks and filled with moss and tasting the sap from a birch tree that my dad drilled a hole in.
Those tiny pristine white bell-shaped flowers (actually called tepals) laden with their heavenly fragrance standing between the rich green leaves always seem to evoke a gentle feeling of elegance. It must be the white color-pureness and innocence against the green which is also calming on its own. That’s probably why these flowers are used so much in wedding designs. Kate Middleton’s bouquet was made with these fragrant little beauties.
I found that I don’t get the same effect if I just use the flowers without the leaves for cut flowers in the house, they were meant to be used together. It’s that contrast of the smooth dark, shiny leaves against those almost pearlized white tepals that makes this fragrant ground cover such an attractive combination.
But wait! I failed to mention that this elegant beauty is completely toxic. Yes, all parts of this “ornamental herb” including the bright red seeds it produces are highly poisonous to humans and animals. Its medicinal uses are restricted to herbalists only and the FDA considers it poisonous. Please keep this plant away from children and pets.
That fact leads me to believe it could be the perfect ground cover for gardens bothered by deer, rabbits and voles. They won’t eat it, they already know better. It could be used to cover an area in the shade where nothing else will grow, and it will eventually form a carpet of green choking out the weeds. It’s perennial in USDA Zones 2-9 and pollinators such as bees love it. What a great low-maintenance plant for naturalizing! That’s why I already planted it at the Cottage this past fall. Hardy, ground cover, fragrant, low-maintenance, these are all the words I love. Fear it not, it will prove worthy in your garden.
Oh, and I almost forgot- not only did I find JOY this month, I also found some PEACE along with last month’s SERENITY too!
Do you have a certain flower or fragrance that sparks all kinds of memories for you? Are you growing Lily of the Valley in your garden? If you have a story to share, I’d love to hear about it.