It’s that time of year where we start to spend more time in our gardens or patios, prepping them for the summer!
The spring flower for May is the Lily of the Valley – a delicate little flower representing sweetness, romance and happiness. However, there is also an element of sadness attached to the flowers, which brings us on to flower arrangements. With such a wide scope of meaning, they can be found in flower arrangements at funerals as well as joyous occasions such as weddings – in fact, they prove to be very popular with Royal brides.
Its scientific name is Convallaria Majalis, with the last word meaning “relating to May” and are native to Europe and Asia. Interestingly, this is not a true lily and the plant is actually a member of the asparagus family! In addition, it is commonly used in perfumes and cosmetics due to the sweet scent they offer us and is even found in hand creams to treat our skin from dryness and burns.
This flower is small but fragrant and ever so pretty in white with bell-shaped flowers – it can spread to cover large areas so it is worthwhile considering using for ground coverage. Despite being such a sweet flower, you must remember however that it is highly poisonous. The Lily of the Valley can live for many years in cool climates but struggles for long periods of time in warmer climates.
In contrast to the Lily of the Valley, we also have the Hawthorn birth flower which is a small shrub or small tree belonging to the rose family. It is fondly named as the “May tree” due to the soft pink and white blossom which burst into full bloom in spring-time. The flowering branches are very decorative and Hawthorns are often used as hedges.
Mature trees can reach a height of 15m with the leaves stretching to 6cm in length. When flowering, they are highly scented and once pollinated by insects, they develop little red berries. For hundreds of years the flowers, leaves and fruits have been used for medicinal purposes, said to have been used to treat cardiac diseases, high blood pressure and kidney disorders.