That time in your life when you have not yet reached the height of a yardstick is the best time to notice the natural world. That’s when crawling around inspecting earthworms and acorns is not considered inappropriate. You are the right size to get down and stick your nose into the bell of a Lily of the Valley. You get a kick out of your discovery.
One of my earliest garden memories growing up in Minnesota was the fragrance of Lily of the Valley each spring. Along with the plate-size leaves of lilacs and peonies crawling with ants, those little white bells captivated me. I never saw my mother or father caring for them. In fact they gave them no attention at all. The little bells came and went each spring without a remark from anyone. They were probably not purchased, just handed down from my grandmother or a generous neighbor.
I bought them for my own first backyard and they behaved accordingly, spreading each year with no human help. When we built our beach cottage years ago, I dug a few up from my husband’s boss’ beach back yard. I knew he’d never miss them. We sold that cottage recently and a wide swath of Lily of the Valley was part of the deal.
Now, in need of Lily of the Valley for our new house, I ordered them online. They took a while to come and I knew why when I looked at the package. The return address was someone named Wei and he lived in Shanghai, China.
They were wrapped in a gauzy red drawstring bag. I’d never seen that before. However, I’m expecting these new Lily of the Valley to act like all the ones I’ve had before. They’ll come up in springtime with no help from me and multiply year after year as Lily of the Valley should. I hope to post a photo next spring to prove that I’m not disappointed.
But they came all the way from China. That really surprised me.