This photo (left) and quote are found in Carolyne Roehm’s book, Flowers, where she has dedicated a chapter to Lily of the Valley. Like her, I have an affection for this simple, delicate, fragrant, hardy woodland flower that grows so effortlessly in our Northern Hemisphere gardens.
On May 1, France celebrates, La Fete du Muguet, Lily of the Valley Day. On this day the French gift family and loved ones a small bouquet of Muguet (french for Lily of the Valley) as a symbol of luck and happiness for the coming year. The tradition started centuries ago, on May 1, 1561, when King Charles 1X of France, was given a sprig of Lily of the Valley as a token of good luck by one of his Knights.
Royal brides, Queen Victoria, Grace Kelly, Lady Diana, Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle have all included Lily of the Valley in their wedding bouquets. It is said to bring luck in love…
Lily of the Valley has been an ingredient in perfume and soaps for many years.
Christian Dior’s favourite flower was Lily of the Valley and he had his gardeners grow the flower in his greenhouse year round. Dior, a superstitious man, felt Lily of the Valley was his good luck charm and would have a sprig of the flower sown into the hem of his garments before a fashion show.
In 1956, The House of Dior created a new fragrance, Diorissimo, with middle notes of Lily of the Valley. As a compliment to the perfume, Dior also designed the Muguet dress (photos below) in 1957.
First launched in 1906, Guerlain releases every year on May 1, a limited edition of a new version of its famed Muguet perfume in a newly designed “bee” bottle. Lily of the Valley is the heart note of this feminine fragrance.
Interesting tidbits on Lily of the Valley:
- part of the asparagus family
- all parts are poisonous to humans and pets
- grows in zone 3-9 in the shade/partial shade
- symbolizes the return of happiness
- birth flower of month of May
- said to protect gardens from evil spirits
- legend has it that the drooping flowers (bells) depict the tears of Mary after the crucifixion and/or Eve as she was expelled from the garden of Eden
Some consider Lily of the Valley to be invasive. I have Lily of the Valley growing in a shady area of my front garden and admittedly it does pop up in places I might prefer it not to (between the paving stone walkway), however, I’m happy to contend with its ambitious growing habit.
A testament to their tenacity…(photo left).
In an effort to contain some of my Lily of the Valley, I have planted them in an urn… another gardening experiment to see if I can overwinter a perennial in a container.
The Lily of the Valley in my garden is just now starting to bloom…still in May, but just barely!
Puppy at 3 weeks