Convallaria majalis commonly known as Lily of the valley is found across Europe, Asia and in North America, in dry woodland, usually on alkaline soils and sometimes in the crevices or grikes of limestone pavement. It is one of the most beautiful flowers with one of the purest white color, and with the most delightful fragrance, and foliage that admirably sets off the exquisite loveliness of its flowers. No garden that “lives up to its privileges” will be without it. It does best in a shady place. Almost any soil seems to suit it. It is very hardy. It spreads rapidly, sending up a flower-stalk from every “pip.” When the ground becomes completely matted with it, it is well to go over the bed and cut out portions here and there. The roots thus cut away can be broken apart and used in the formation of new beds, of which there can hardly be too many. The roots of the old plants will soon fill the places from which these were taken, and the old bed will be all the better for its thinning-out. Coming so early in spring, we appreciate this most beautiful plant more than we do any flower of the later season. And no flower of any time can excel it in daintiness, purity, and sweetness.
Lily of the valley should have a place in every garden. Absolutely hardy, requiring no care, it blooms prolifically in early May, fills the air with its fragrance, and is beloved by every one. The German name for this flower, Mai Glocken (May Bells) is particularly appropriate. The pips can be set out the end of October or the beginning of November. If the bed is quite large, when the Lilies have finished blooming, some can be lifted here and there and transplanted. As the pips increase rapidly, their places will soon be filled.
Lilies of the valley do best in a partially shaded place, and require a deep, rich soil, well mixed with leaf-mould. Lilies of the Valley have clusters of small, white, bell-shaped flowers that hang from a strong reedy stalk. There may be a dozen or more blossoms per plant. Their outstanding feature is their sweet fragrance; their scent has even inspired perfumes. The best way to appreciate the fragrance is to plant Lilies of the Valley along a walkway or in raised containers which you regularly pass by.
Despite its temperamental reputation, lily of the valley is easy to grow if you buy it ready potted in spring. Dried crowns take ages to get going and do not always survive and it may also prove difficult to establish chunks supplied by friends. In both cases, pot up the crowns separately in loam-based compost, water well and allow them to establish for a year before planting out.