When Prince William married his bride Kate Middleton at the Royal Wedding in Westminster Abbey in London, one of the five flowers in Kate's bouquet was Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis).
It is a native of the more temperate parts of the northern hemisphere and can be found in some regions growing wild in the clearings of woods and forests, since it tends to do best in partial or full shade. The national flower of Finland it is sometimes commonly called Mary's tears, this is because it is said that when Jesus died his Mother Mary cried at the foot of his cross and where her tears fell Lily of the Valley grew on the ground in abundance. Interestingly the name Convallaria majalis probably gets its name from the Latin convallis meaning steep or deep valley hence 'of the valley' and the Latin word maius meaning May which perhaps points to its flowering time in that month.
Once established Lily of the Valley it is a prolific spreader, so is an ideal ground cover plant. However it should be noted that because of the denseness and spread of its roots, in my experience, I have found it quite difficult to dig up and remove in it's entirety so make sure when you plant it, that's where you want it. The plant is highly toxic so obviously it is not wise to ingest any of it's leaves or flowers and sensible to wear gloves and thoroughly wash hands after handling.
Lily of the valley sprouts single flower stalks among it's many green leaves. Each stalk usually produces 8-12 bell like white flowers that are very sweetly scented which is much of the plants appeal. There are other cultivars notably 'Rosea' which have pink flowers. After flowering it produces green berries that ripen to orange or red fruits which are equally poisonous. Growing this plant is very easy, it will tolerate heavy clay or lighter loamy soils whether they are acid or alkaline. The only real note to mention is to plant it in a dappled shady spot which is mostly moist.
Pictures: 1 Westminster Abbey in London scene of the Coronations and weddings of the British Royal Family. The Abbey was begun in 1245 on the orders of King Henry III Pictures: 2 Lily of the Valley. General discussion and your views are welcome please say hello. I regret however because of my busy schedule, I am unable to answer many questions. Sneaky advertising will be deleted sorry. Thanks so much for visiting my blog today.