Friday, May 1, 2015

Lily of the Valley

             When it comes to May 1st , for me as for many people this holiday can be summed up by one flower scent: Lily of the valley (Convallaria). This blossom has an appearance and fragrance that match, both are clean and loved by all. 

 
Lily of the valley flower early in the season. This season I think to plant it in large containers with petite hostas and dwarf hardy cannas. Usually growth begins to form quickly, in just a week or so, depending on temperature so I'll choose warmer sites for these containers.



I love to cut the petite bell-shaped flowers for small, scented bouquets. This will not hurt the plants.




After blooming has finished for the season I leave the foliage in place; I don’t cut it off as I do with all bulbs. My lily of the valley rest for a few months before beginning the next growing cycle in spring. 

 
Lily of the valley can be forced in just 3 to 4 weeks indoors for much-needed middle of the winter fragrance, you can have "spring" delivered early to yourself or to someone.
I learned that Lily of the valley was also used as the national flower of Finland.


Warning: it's highly toxic by ingestion. Toxicity is the plant's defense against animals eating its seeds. All parts of the plant: stems, leaves, flowers and small orange-red berries are extremely poisonous and close to 40 different cardiac glycosides have been found in the plant so far.

These photos were taken in Arboretum Mustila, Kouvola, during my trip to Finland. 

46 comments:

  1. Such sweet and fragrant little flowers! I was lucky to inherit a little patch of these with my garden. They bloom by the front door and their fragrance is always very welcome! Nice to know that this is the national flower of Finland!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, they are very fragrant flowers, Peter. I'd like opening the front door to smell lily of valley as you do.

      Delete
  2. I hear them ringing as bells!



    ALOHA from Honolulu,
    ComfortSpiral
    =^..^=

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They are ringing: spring is here!

      Delete
  3. Lily of the Valley was my grandmother’s favourite flower and I have lots in my garden. I love the orange berries in the autumn. I have pulled lots of roots to go into my new garden.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Helene!
      Glad you're well and thinking about your new garden. Good luck with the moving and take care.

      Delete
    2. Thanks - I would need to be half- dead if I stop thinking about my garden :-)

      Delete
  4. Oh, Nadezda, what wonderful photos! We don't see even the leaves of these plants yet, and are very much looking forward to enjoying their beautiful blooms and enchanting fragrance.
    Yes, Lily of the Valley was voted to be our national flower in 1967. It's lovely to hear you have visited Finland. I hope you enjoyed your stay!
    Have a beautiful May full of flowers!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hope lily of valley will soon flower in your garden, Sara. Yes, I had nice time in Arboretum Mustila.

      Delete
  5. Bardzo lubię konwalie. Piękne kwiatuszki.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Uwielbiam także konwalie, miss-cherry!

      Delete
  6. Very nice pictures. Thank you for dropping in my blog: http://pihakuiskaajanpuutarha.blogspot.fi/
    Let's keep in contact.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Anneli!
      I agree I will read you blog as well.

      Delete
  7. I would love to have a small patch of these too Nadezda girl : )
    I love that bouquet !! it is gorgeous and the scent must be heavenly.
    I need to get out and water my garden .. but the deck is being worked on so things are a mess ... but ? the borders are filling up with plants that are stretching out and smiling at me finally !
    I didn't know that was the national flower of Finland ... I have learned a new thing today, thank you !
    Joy
    PS ... Happy May Day !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Happy may day, Joy!
      It said it's a fest of labor, so you do work hard. I can imagine how nice your garden will soon be.

      Delete
  8. Hello Nadezda!!
    Such beautiful little white flowers!
    I have'nt seen them in my area!
    Gorgeous pictures!
    Have a happy May!
    Dimi...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, they are, Dimi.
      Happy May day to you too!

      Delete
  9. Amei conhecer o seu blog, já fiquei por aqui!!!Achei maravilhoso!!!
    Visite-me:http://algodaotaodoce.blogspot.com.br/
    Siga-me e pegue o meu selinho!!!

    Obrigada.

    Beijos Marie.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Maria. I will follow your blog too.

      Delete
  10. What delicate and lovely flowers. They look as good in the vase as they do in the garden. Here we are in autumn, and so the freshness of your post is a welcome contrast.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think Juliet that autumn is pretty season in NZ. The spring here is not warm enough and some flowers are late, but fresh and lovely.

      Delete
  11. Esas pequeñas campanitas son preciosas Nadezda. Me encanta el bonito adorno has hecho con ellas !!
    Buen fin de semana.
    Un beso.

    ReplyDelete
  12. My birthday is in May and my mum always used to pick a bunch for me on my birthday, Sadly she is no longer with us and I can't get them to grow in my garden.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Sue,
      I lost my mother too, and I hope some day someone will bring you a lot of lily of valley on your birthday.

      Delete
  13. I love seeing this beautiful plant in pictures, unfortunately, it is a weed in my garden and I can't pull it up quick enough Nadezda. Wishing yours well :)
    Happy May Day!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, this plant may be a weed, you're right Angie. Here in our climate lily of valley aren't a weed because of frost during some months.

      Delete
  14. Scent of lily of the valley is heavenly. At the moment my garden is filled with scent of hyacinths and this is very lovely too!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can imagine how wonderful is your garden now, Tistou. Happy spring!

      Delete
  15. I´m really fond of lillies-of-the-valley and they are rather invasive in my garden. Usually they bloom early May, buds are sweling now but for flowers we have to wait another few days I think.
    Wish you a lovely Sunday!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Here they aren't blooming everywhere just in some warmer spots too, Janneke.
      Have a nice vernal week!

      Delete
  16. My favorite flower as it is my birth month flower...I have some growing but hope to move some more around...and the scent is heavenly...thanks for showing how to force it inside for winter. I just saw mine popping up with buds that will be open early this year with all the warm weather we are having.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's nice you'll soon have a bouquet of lily of the valley, Donna.
      Happy birthday to you, dear!

      Delete
  17. Lovely delicate little blooms. I've avoided planting any here, because they can be invasive in our area. I'd like to find a spot where I can contain them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I grow mint and lemon balm in a wide low can (without a bottom) so you could plant lily of the valley the same way if it's such invasive in your area, Rose.

      Delete
  18. Your lily of the valley pictures are very nice. I do love the scent of this pretty little flower. In France on the 1st of May it is Labor Day and also the day that everyone gives some lily of the valley to family and friends. It is a long tradition and is supposed to bring happiness. My father always brought some for my mother and me, as well as my grandpa to my grandma. I wrote a post on it in 2011 here it is: http://avagabonde.blogspot.com/2011/04/blog-intermission-entracte-no-10-may.html . I have many vintage postcards with lily of the valley with happy greetings.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Vagabonde!
      I love this French tradition of good luck! I've read your post of 2011 and I liked an embroidered handkerchief on one of photos.

      Delete
  19. What a lovely flower this is! I haven't seen it a lot over here and certainly not in the amount you show us. Love how you arranged them into a wonderful bouquet. The scent must be amazing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, it is, Marian!
      Glad you're with us blogging as always.

      Delete
  20. Lily of the valley is such a charming plant and I adore the smell. It always makes me think of when I was a child and I was told the name, and I wondered which valley it was the lily of!
    I often read your blog, for your knowledge and skill I like to see how you manage in what is in some ways an inhospitable environment for plant growing, being so very cold in the winter. . Finally I have followed it. I wonder why I did not do so before. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sure I have problem in growing and preparing for winter my plants, Jenny. But.. the gardeners are so that 'a difficult child is the most loved' (Russian proverb) Thank you for following my blog!

      Delete
  21. I had no idea Lily of the Valley was a national flower of Finland. It makes for a wonderful groundcover.

    ReplyDelete
  22. How I love these flowers !!! Thanks for sharing your lovely pictures !!
    Happy weekend :)

    ReplyDelete
  23. Hello Nadezda,
    Your lilies are beautiful. Lovely vase of flowers.
    Greetings.
    Lucia

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for stopping by Nadezda's Northern Garden blog!
I'm glad to read your friendly comments very much.
Feel free to comment on the posts or photos
I warmly welcome the new followers on my blog.