It’s the month of May and may we present the flower of the month which is Lily of the Valley.
Not only was this Christian Dior’s favorite flower – he had an image of it embroidered inside his dresses – but it is also my friend Carolyne Roehm’s favorite flower. She also has a May birthday. And it is also is Queen Elizabeth’s favorite flower too.
This fragrant flower is often tucked into bouquets and used for perfumes, in gardens and also in floral displays. Roehm found a creative way to use it as a name holder that oozed understated style and delicacy.
To plant these beauties, lily of the valley prefer mostly shaded areas. Morning sun in their favorite. Grow them in well-drained soil and as a bonus, this flower will tolerate clay soil. Lily of the valley prefers moist, cool conditions and should be fertilized every three months. These plants are also great for ground coverings as well as inspiring poetry and design possibilities.
Mitch Owens, one of the great writers on design and decor, pointed out that in the mid-1960s, the American manufacturer Woodson Wallpapers introduced Muguet, a dense pattern depicting Convallaria majalis in brilliant green and white on an ink-dark ground.
What a cool hallway or bathroom paper this would make.
This flower also has been used in many jewelry designs because of its delicate design. Pearls, in particular, lend themselves to being shaped into little flowers etched with diamonds. This one was featured in one of our favorite books, “Floral Jewels” by Carol Woolton.
In fact, love expressed through flowers doesn’t have to be romantic.
In 1561, King Charles IX of France was presented with a bunch of lilies-of-the-valley to bring him luck and prosperity. The delicacy of the flower and the kind gesture moved him. Inspired, he then gave the sweet-smelling blossoms to the ladies of the court creating the Fete du Muguet where gifts of lily of the valley are given as a porte-bonheur, a good luck charm. As a result, we give flowers not only to lovers but to people we care about and appreciate.
In the language of flowers, lilies of the valley mean “return to happiness” and that’s a nice thought for this month.