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  • Debi Holland

Lily of the Valley


All About Cleeve - June Plant of the Month - Lily of the Valley


Although it is drawing to the end of its season now, I want to celebrate the glorious Convallaria majalis, Lily of the valley. This moisture-loving, exquisitely scented woodland flower grows to a height of about 30cm tall and is a beautiful floral addition to shady garden corners or a sunny border. These rhizomatous perennials can be bought as rooted crowns which are best soaked for a couple of hours before planting. In optimal conditions Lily of the Valley can become invasive but its spreading nature makes perfect ground cover, which can always be divided in autumn.


Folklore says Lily of the Valley protects gardens against evil sprits. Who knows? But Lily of the Valley is certainly protected against deer and rabbits and appears to be resistant to their foraging, leaving only the humble slug as their foe.


A popular addition to wedding bouquets, these dainty pendular bells are associated with purity, happiness and are a symbol of good luck. They exude grace and elegance but beware, they hide a secret; these pure white innocent blooms are toxic if ingested, especially to children and pets so look but don’t touch (or wear gloves!).


All photo © Debi Holland