Do you have memories of specific plants from your childhood? One of my all-time favorites harkens back to about age 7. Out the back door, surrounding the entrance to my family’s home was a healthy patch of Lily-of-the-Valley (Convallaria majalis).
When it was in full bloom, nothing smelled sweeter! I have extremely pleasant specific memories about that specific plant in that specific spot. So when the time came for me to pick a spring ground cover for a garden bed at my own house, it was an easy decision.
Here are some specs on Lily-of-the-Valley from the Missouri Botanical Garden:
• Grows well in zones 3 to 8;
• Prefers part shade to full shade;
• Requires little maintenance;
• Prefers medium moisture levels; and
• Tolerates clay soil, dense shade, deer, and rabbits.
I can vouch for that last point! Aside from my childhood memories, rabbit-resistance is a top reason I chose Lily-of-the-Valley for my garden. Any plant this pleasant that also repels rabbits is a winner by me.
Here are other things I know about Lily-of-the-Valley:
• Blooms in Wisconsin’s zone 5 anytime from late April through May, depending on the weather;
• Dominates a garden bed when in bloom; fades back a bit in mid-summer when other plants take the stage;
• Is a great companion for Hostas, and grows well in the same conditions;
• Thrives in gardens with dappled morning sunlight;
• Takes a few years to establish (like other ground covers it tends to sleep, creep, and then leap);
• Enjoys the rich, loamy soil in my garden (but it would probably grow well in any soil type); and
• Is especially lovely when spring raindrops dot its foliage.
One thing to keep in mind is that Convallaria majalis is not native to the
It was introduced from Europe. There is a variety native
to the Appalachian mountain area: Convallaria majuscula. But
apparently it’s hard to find at garden nurseries. Most advice I’ve read says to
keep Lily-of-the-Valley contained, so it doesn’t spread to woodland areas, where it can become
invasive. Mine is limited to two small perennial beds near my house.
All I can say is that when it’s in full bloom, it really takes me back to pleasant memories. What plants are favorites from your childhood?
[On another note: PlantPostings is honored to have been nominated an eCollegeFinder Top Garden Blog! (A hearty thank-you to the person who made the nomination!) I’m honored just to be listed with some very distinguished garden bloggers. The vote is on for the top three gardening blogs, and I sure would appreciate your vote.
You can vote by clicking on the badge at the top right of this page, or at: http://bit.ly/Icakzk. Each visitor can vote once during the voting period, which ends Monday, April 30, 2012, at 5 p.m. EST. Thanks!]