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How to grow care and arrange Lily of the Valley so you can enjoy these heavenly flowers more!
These tiny bell like flowers appear anywhere from April to late May depending on the zone where they are planted. The scent is magical and it is a flower that was traditionally put in brides' bouquets.
The botanical name is Convallaria and the bloom is typically white but also comes in light shades of pink.
When placed in the right area Lily of the Valley just do well. As a matter of fact for many people they might do too well and become invasive in their gardens. They are considered a poisonous plant but there is nothing attractive about them to animals so unless you have a dog or cat that randomly eats your plants there is little to worry about.
Lily of the Valley do best in shady areas in the garden that have some moisture, but they can also thrive with some sun as they are very adaptible. They are a spreading ground cover that can eventually take over an area and choke out any weeds that are there.
When they do get too abundant they are easy to thin out by pulling out a portion of the plants and either giving them to another gardener, transplanting them to another area of your garden or disposing them in yard waste (don't compost them due to their poisonous nature).
Buy the pips (what there small bulbs are called) and plant them in the spring. Make sure that you are watering them regularly, a lack of water can kill them in the begining.
Once growing in your garden Lily of the Valley needs almost no care. When they are just being established make sure that you keep up on weeding. When they are finished blooming they have a lovely leaf that is a very nice ground cover. Only in times of drought would you need to water them. If your lawn is in distress due to drought then it is probable that your Lily of the Valley could do with some water.
Lily of the Valley can also be forced in the middle of winter. You would have to buy your pips from a specialist grower that has kept them cold for 16 weeks to mimic a false winter. They are forced into bloom by planting them inside and keeping them in a cool bright spot. If you are craving spring flowers in January and Febuary then you can give this a try.
My garden is filled with flowers that have scent or are sentiment (such as the flowers I remember from my mother's garden) and to have these in the home always brings a smile to my lips. As in all flowers there are little tricks on how to make an arrangement with Lily of the Valley.
When cutting Lily of the Valley for arrangements remember that they need to stay hydrated. I usually cut them and place them immediately into a container of cool water until I am ready to arrange them.
I cut some flowers with their leaves and some without any leaves. Cut the flowers with their leaves as low to the ground as you can. As long as you don't damage the pips (roots they grow from) they will grow again the following year.
I grow my Lily of the Valley in a corner of the garden under a pine tree. They only ever get seen when I cut them and bring them inside.Small flowers like Lily of the Valley need small vases to show them off. (They also make wonderful gifts filled with flowers from your garden.)
Make sure that you have a spotlessly clean vase that has been washed with dish soap and a bit of bleach.
Picking the nicest leaves, trim them and start placing them around the edge of the vase.
You are making a outer ring of leaves. Because the flower is so delicate they need to be grouped in the center so they will be seen.
Cut the ends of the Lily of the Valley flower stalk on an angle and start placing them in the middle of the leaves. The leaves will have formed a grid that will help hold the flowers in place.
As you add the flowers try to make sure that they curve to the outside of the arrangement to make it look more natural
You might have to fiddle with the flowers and leaves a little bit to get the exact look you are trying for.
I love to place small arrangements throughout the house, especially in unexpected spots like on the piano or in a bookcase.
As Lily of the Valley is so easy to grow if you don't have any in your garden think about growing them for next year!