Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis)
Lily of the Valley
Berry pictures are always a bit of a stumbling block for me. Usually the light is either too bright or too dark. I keep trying though and while I have gotten a little better there is still a long way to go. I think using a tripod might be helpful. 90% of my flower shots are handheld. Using a tripod is a little cumbersome in the garden sometimes. Take this shot; I was down on my knees as these berries were only about 6 inches tall. It is a little frustrating to keep trying a subject that isn’t cooperative but it is also rewarding when you do get the picture.
Lily of the Valley is a beautiful fragrant groundcover that can grow in sun or shade. I use it mainly in the shade, as kind of a problem solver sometimes. I have been growing the Pink Form and it doesn’t seem to multiply as fast as the white but it is an interesting novelty. I had never seen these berries before and from some research I found out they don’t always mature. They each contain one seed but the best way to propagate it is to dig some of the ‘pips’ up. Speaking of groundcovers when I was at work the other day I was looking at an area that had kind of naturalized. I had been transplanting in little bits of groundcovers and shrubs for kind of a modified woodland garden. Anyway I was looking under an Azalea and I noticed a patch of ground where Pachysandra, Myrtle (Vinca minor), Lily of the Valley and Bishop’s Weed (Aegopodium podograria), had met up. It looked like a little Carpet Bugle (Ajuga) in there too. I will be watching to see what happens. That is kind of thing that sometimes happens when, over the years, you keep layering plants in.
There are quite a few legends associated with Lily of the Valley. It has been used medicinally though all parts of the plant are considered poisonous.
(Synonym: May Bells, Our Lady's Tears, Ladder to Heaven, Jacob's Tears)