Thursday, 10 March 2016

A brave planting

Gardening can be a very risky business: cuts and scratches, bumps and bruises are a common occurrence.  The equipment that is used can also have its perils, sharp things and climbing things and general falling off things.  I have, however, carried out something potentially more risky than all of these things.

I have planted lily of the valley.
Yes, you read me correctly, ten pips of lily of the valley have been planted.  Some of you are probably inhaling deeply and shaking your heads at the very thought.

I have liked lily of the valley for as long as I can remember.  I can remember the scent of them growing in one of gardens I grew up in.  I remember a conversation with my mother where I said I wanted to plant more and she vetoed this straight away.  There would be no planting of lily of valley as it was very unlucky to do so.  I did as I was told and did not plant any, but I did nurse a grievance.  It seemed hugely unfair to me that if I liked other plants I could buy more and increase the pleasure.  Lily of the valley however, appears to be something that you were either granted lucky enough to have or doomed not to ever have.  There was no mid way.

I thought I would do a little research to see if this plant is really so dangerous.  Lo and behold I found references to be it being lucky.  According to one source if you plant it in the garden someone in the family will die.  It does not give a timescale for this death so it is a theory that is hard to disprove.   It is also meant to be unlucky to bring it into the house as a cut flower (as, according to my mother, is lilac).   There is also religious symbolism in that it is sometimes called Mary's Tears as allegedly when Mary cried at the cross her tears turned into these flowers.

This being said, it is not always seen as unlucky, in one source it says that it appears regularly in bridal bouquets and apparently in Holland it is traditional for some couples to plant pips in the garden of their first home so that every year when they bloom they can celebrate the renewal of their love.

Where does this leave me?  Well it leaves me with ten newly planted pips in the garden.  I will take my chances on the luck and hope that they will flower and florish.  Time will tell.....

20 comments :

  1. Good luck then...I never knew this about lily of the valley being unlucky. I'm lucky thoug because there were some already here in my garden when we moved in. I love to see the pop up in the shady border and their scent is wonderful.

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    1. Its only unlucky to plant it, if you already have it it is fine. Its rather a complicated myth! I think you are lucky if you have lots of it.

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  2. I'm with you on this one Alison. Much too lovely to go without. I lifted some from my late parents' home and have it in a pot to replant soon. Those old wives' tales are surely myth-taken!
    Liz x

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    1. Thanks, I think the crucial part of the myth is the lack of timescale, eventually we all face our our maker!

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  3. I hope you'll be lucky and it will grow and spread. I had a friend once with a garden full - wonderful! I have never managed to get it going properly. You remind me to try again. Xx

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    1. I've planted mine in different parts of the garden in the hope that it might like one of the areas.

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  4. Don't worry. All the bad luck traditions relate to Convallaria. Lily of the Valley's ok. My mother planted raspberries in her garden and she died 28 years later so remember to dig out raspberries after 27 years to be on the safe side.

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    1. Thanks John - I'll be doing well to still be in this house in 27 years time so I shall take the risk :))

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  5. Despite its reputation for spreading, mine have stayed in manageable little clumps. They are a complete joy. Not least because they came from my Grandfather's garden, and I have such happy memories of him. It was in my mother in law's bridal bouquet and I always present her with a posy in spring as a reminder. x

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    1. I don't mind them spreading, but at the moment I shall be happy with them flowering :). That's lovely having something from your grandfather's house. I don't have any plants from mine, what an error not to do so when I was younger.

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  6. Dear Alison
    I tried planting some in my garden but they didn't grow. I then bought some and planted them in smallish pots where they seem to be reasonably happy as they have flowered for two consecutive years (so far).
    Good luck with yours.
    Best wishes
    Ellie

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    1. Dear Ellie - thanks - I hope mine do survive.

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  7. It's invasive here. You may yet regret it... and it's nothing to do with luck!

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    1. I know it can get out of hand - I may well be grumbling about it in future years :)

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  8. I tried but they never appeared again, I have just bought some more to try in a different place, so keeping fingers crossed!

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    1. I've planted these in a few places in hope it might like one of them - we'll see!

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  9. I wish you good luck with your lilies of valley. In my garden they are rather invasive but they are allowed, I really do love these little fragrant flowers.

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    1. They can join in over-running the garden with the teasels. I seem to be good at choosing invasive.

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  10. I've just planted some as I always love the sight of them in my parents' garden. They're poisonous if eaten and the leaves look similar to wild garlic which I also grow in the garden so I guess that demystifies the myth of bad luck and dying! I'm hoping mine will grow but I'll also collect a clump from my parents as it's a great shade plant.

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