Lily of the Valley

~~To all the mothers, stepmothers, grandmothers, great grandmothers, those of us in mothering roles, whether sisters, aunts, fathers working as both mommy and daddy, mothers whose children left this earth too soon, and those of us whose "children" have fur, feathers or scales: I hope you had an amazing and blessed Mother's Day! If you received flowers from Lilygrass, I hope we exceeded your expectations! Remember to give your flowers fresh water to keep them from wilting too soon.

May's official flower is lily of the valley. Today, I want to tell you more about these sweet little bell shaped flowers.

Lily of the valley is a beautifully fragrant, easy-to-grow bulb flower, but unlike its sister lily plants, lily of the valley's blooms form a cluster in a bell shape similar to bluebonnets or blue bells. The flowers are almost always white, though interestingly, the fruit from these plants is an orange-y red! The cluster is made up of five to fifteen individual dainty flowers. Neat fact: the plants are self sterile, which means single clones do not seed. They bloom in late spring, though places with mild winters can expect to see them by March. I'm sure you all have read that lily of the valley grew from Mary's tears as she wept at Jesus' crucifixion.

Looking at the dainty little blooms with heads bowed, one can completely understand how lily of the valley came to mean humility and sweetness. Not unlike many other delicate and tiny living creatures, such as box jellyfish, fire ants, golden dart frogs, black widow spiders and Bonnie Parker, lily of the valley can kill you. The entire plant is toxic: leaves, stems, berries, seeds and flowers. In fact, lily of the valley is so toxic, it was featured in an episode of Breaking Bad. Symptoms of poisoning from lily of the valley include blurry vision, diarrhea, vomiting and nausea, disorientation, drowsiness, headaches, red skin rashes, excessive salivation, sudden alterations in your cardiac rhythm and possible death. It is safe to say lily of the valley did not make my edible flowers blogs!

Despite its dark side, giving your soulmate a bouquet of lily of the valley indicates you feel incomplete without them, making them a pretty good addition to the "I'm sorry I'm an idiot" bouquet! Lily of the valley is also used in wedding bouquets. In fact, Princess Grace Kelly's bridal bouquet featured lily of the valley, as did Catherine Middleton when she wed Prince William. Did you know that every royal bridal  bouquet since Queen Victoria's wedding in 1840 has contained a sprig of myrtle? Myrtle means love and marriage. What a sweet tradition!

In light of the recent storms in Oklahoma (I really thought I might have to Google plans for an ark), I hope you all stay safe as we venture through tornado season in the Bible Belt. I wish you all a healthy and happy week. The school year is coming to an end, which means it is almost time for pool parties, BBQs, movie nights at The Winchester Drive-in, farmer's markets, and fun filled summer vacations! Until next week, my friends.

*This blog is dedicated to Rebecca Tollett, a dear friend who very much deserves a bouquet of lily of the valley from me. I hope this dedication will suffice in light of the long distance between us.

~~Lilygrass flowers and decor  

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