lily of the valley

I am not really superstitious (lie) but there have been many signs that my husband and I were meant to buy our house. For example: the slate entryway identical to the one in my childhood home in Wisconsin, all the white walls like our apartment in SoBro, and the slammin’ converted-garage art studio. The latest of these signs are the lilies of the valley that have sprouted up at the corner of our front garden and quietly opened their delicate, bell-shaped flowers. Little did the previous owners know how happy this would make me.

My level of amazement at these and other perennials on our property might lead you to believe that I grew up amid concrete. In fact, my parents (and I am only fully realizing/appreciating this now) were avid DIY landscapers, hard-working groundskeepers and genius gardeners. The outdoor space they created was practically utopian – tulips danced in perfect circles around trees, succulents spilled out of rock walls, and a bounty of vegetables were harvested and eaten every year. In a beautiful space at the back of our house, my mother planted lilies of the valley. She told me they were the official flower of my birthday (May). These flourished and multiplied: the fact that they sneaked their way across that whole garden delighted her.

I asked my mother, who is visiting this weekend for Mama’s Day, if we had any photos of those lilies and she presented me with this, taken in my bedroom around my 4th birthday. A few things should be noted here and serve as a testament to my mother’s attentiveness and TLC:

  • My hair is actually straight. These “pin-curls” were created nightly by twisting sections of my fine hair, curling them into mini Danishes then securing them with bobby pins. Next morning: Voila – this fabulous curly hair-do!
  • The calico curtains behind me were sewn by her, as was the dreamy canopy over my bed.
  • This multi-tiered plant stand always hosted at least one violet, usually in the shade of pink or lavender. The little lady had a plant coming right out of her bu…stle!
  • Of course these lilies of the valley, healthy and bursting with bells.

Thank you, Mom, for creating a home and yard filled with magic and living a life so fun to emulate.

It is difficult to re-pay our mothers for everything they did for us. Nobody expresses this better than Billy Collins, in his excellent poem, The Lanyard:

Categories: Garden

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4 replies

  1. I think lilies of the valley have the best scent of any flower! Too bad it’s so hard for me to get down low enough to the ground to smell them. A good excuse to pick a few, I think.

    Great photo and memories!

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