shy lily

I remember lily of the valley from days gone by in New England. It was also a scent my mom used when I was small… happy memories. I don’t see it much here in Oregon. I planted some and they are finally spreading.

lily-6510

I wondered if that was how forgiveness budded; not with the fanfare of epiphany, but with pain gathering its things, packing up, and slipping away unannounced in the middle of the night.
Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner

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33 thoughts on “shy lily

  1. You hit a nerve here – lots of us have Lily of the Valley memories, it seems. It’s one of my earliest childhood flower memories – we had a row of them mixed with forget-me-nots alongside an old, free-standing garage in the back of the property, beside the woods. Benign neglect is what they got in that shady spot, and every Spring I was overjoyed to see those fabulous blue forget-me-nots with their little yellow and white eyes, and the waxy, strong bells of the lilies of the valley with the scent I’d bend for any day. That was on the outskirts of Syracuse. Do you think they miss the winter freezes? Or does it get too damp here sometimes? Anyway, glad you found the sweet spot for them, and hope you do again at the new place. I like the way you show their tendency towards shyness in the photo.

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    • What a marvelous idea. I’ll have to attempt to add the forget-me-nots when we move. They do well on benign neglect in the proper location. That’s what most of my garden/yard gets. I suspect that they’re not partial to clay soil. That’s mostly what we have here and in Utah. The spot where they’re finally thriving was a raised planter that I suspect had planting soil added. Not so sure that they need the freezes since ours here are mild, if any. South promises to be quite a bit warmer so we shall see. As for damp, I’m guessing that they like quite a bit of moisture, though perhaps not drowning. One of the aspects of benign neglect seems to be to find a spot where I remember to water them in our dry summers.

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  2. They are lovely and such a nostalgic flower…my mom loved them too and they covered a large area of our yard every spring. When we had our current house built, I took a few plantings and now my yard is covered with them too. They spread pretty quickly. Don’t you just love their scent?!

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    • I tried, but couldn’t get them to grow when we lived in Utah. They struggled a bit when I planted them at the previous house here in Oregon. They seemed to barely hang on here at the current house, but then I moved a few pips to a back corner where they seem to like it and have spread nicely. Now to see how they like the next move? Perhaps I ought to just settle somewhere and quit moving? I love, love, love the scent!

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  3. Memories….. I haven’t seen lily of the valley since I was a child, my Mom planted them in her flower beds. I loved sitting at the table close by and smelling their sweet scent. Thanks for that happy memory for me. 🙂

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  4. I absolutely love the scent of lily of the valley – between that and lilacs, spring is an olfactory paradise! And yes, in Latvia they bloom almost exactly with the start of the month of May. (And goingplacesbr is right – lotv is very toxic)

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    • Happy for your visit and comment! In Latvia it’s called the Mayflower, I’m guessing it also blooms at the same time. Poland is not so far away. I think our climate is warmer here in Oregon.

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    • Thanks, Annie! Still not getting notification of replies at your new blog, but I went back to look just now. Thanks for the link to the house sitters. We did a trial run at the kennel (too late now to change arrangements) and Sissy seemed to do well, but came back pooped from chasing around with other dogs her size. I think it was actually good for her. 🙂

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  5. I can certainly relate to that quote! I just got The Kite Runner out of the library. Apparently it is a very moving, if not disturbing read. Beautiful photo too. I remember elderly relatives having Lily of the Valley scents and powders. What a lovely memory for you and I’m glad you have had success with growing them.

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  6. I remember lily of the valley from gardens back east myself, and do remember the perfume. Those bring back memories! I haven’t tried growing it here yet, but suspect the native and non-native grasses would give it a hard time and crowd it out. I might give it a try in a barrel first if I do.

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    • They like shade. I first planted the ‘pips’ (like elongated bulbs) on the north side of the house, near a fern that added a bit of shade. Though I had to dig around the fern to move it to the current house when it started taking over. I found a shady spot here that doesn’t seem to get too many weeds and have kept an eye on things until it has started to multiply nicely.

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    • It’s such a sweet ‘shy’ flower. I’ve always loved it for that reason and its scent. The quote… well, the practice is a difficult one to master, but so very much worth the effort. 🙂

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  7. The wild ramp leaf looks a lot like the lily of the valley with 2 things to consider: 1. the ramp leaf narrows down to the bulb and the green turns to purple turns to white. You can eat this. You can NOT eat lily of the valley.

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