favorite things

lily of the valley

the first time i wandered through what is now our backyard and discovered lily of the valley growing on the east side, i knew we had found our home.  for years i had tried in vain to get these lovely flowers to grow only to lose them  due either to my inexperience, or the zeal of the neighbor’s lawnmower when he decided to mow for us while we were on vacation one year.  after a few growing seasons i had finally managed to get them started, waiting patiently for those tiny white blooms that do not make their appearance until the second year.  just as they were finally becoming established, we were getting ready to move. i was so disappointed that i would not have the privilege of  finally enjoying those chubby white blossoms.  and then, here they were, a beautiful patch fully established and just beginning to bloom.  it was a signal that life here would pick up just where it had left off.

i have often wondered who started those first few plants.  she knew more than i did when i started mine; that they need some shelter from the afternoon sun.  sadly enough though, the “gardeners”  who proceeded her did not have the same appreciation for them,  as the bed had been invaded by bermuda grass (the curse of the oklahoma gardener).  they needed to be moved before the grass completely choked them out, and they deserved a more prominent location where they could be fully appreciated.   that fall then, i carefully uprooted a few and moved them to the flower bed on the front, east side of the house.

the following spring i hounded the bed for the little green cones poking up through the soil.  i was disappointed to find very few, and disappointed still to find that they really performed very little.  by the end of the season i had let them go, dismissing them as a lost cause.

the other day, as we were leaving for our almost-daily-run, i stopped by this bed as i always do this time of year, just to see how things were coming along.  i cannot tell you how thrilled i was to discover not just the tiny points of the leaves poking through the soil, but the promise of some blossoms as well.  a few days later the number of sprouts had doubled and it looks like we will have lily of the valley after all.  i am tickled.

these flowers  hold great sentimental value to me.  not only do they bloom every year around the time of my birthday, but i carried lily of the valley in my bridal bouquet, numerous little white sprays hovering over my round bunch of ivory roses.  if i recall correctly the florist told me they would be difficult to obtain in june, but somehow she managed to find them.   they were so delicate that by they time we left the church, they had already started to wilt.

someone once pooh-poohed perennials like lily of the valley that bloom for just a time before they are done.  i think their brief appearance though is what makes them so special.  like a dear long-distance friend who comes for an annual visit, they can never be taken for granted.

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One Comment to “favorite things”

  1. Oh I agree! Definitely worth it. I think I will have the perfect spot at our next house. Such a cheery, delicate thing to have in a little vase this time of year. And so fragrant.

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