Lilies-of-the-Valley or May Bells
Posted on May 28, 2016
Write-up & Photo by Jacqueline Bennett newsandviewsjb.com
Just in time for the Memorial Day Weekend, I found the first lilies-of-the-valley of the season this morning in my back yard. Placed in an old fashioned mason jar, a small bouquet of these woodland blossoms now adorns the picnic table. Second to yellow roses, lilies-of-the-valley were my mother’s favorite. At our family home, the arrival of springtime meant the arrival of long rows of these sweetly scented flowers in the side yard. When Mom wore fragrance, which was not often, it was lily-of-the-valley cologne or dusting powder by – I believe – Coty.
Nicknamed “May Bells” the perennial upright shoots are accented by hanging bell-like forms against green leaves. Most often they are said to sprout in May in the Northern Hemisphere and are typically white, though ever so rarely also light pink. Never to be ingested they are highly poisonous! Their simple beauty is unmistakable. In fact, lilies-of- the-valley received an Award of Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society, and in 1993 graced a Moldova stamp. As well, they are a popular second wedding anniversary flower.
For me, they bring back lovely memories of jump roping outdoors as my mother gathered her lilies-of-the-valley from her garden.