Wednesday, May 16, 2012

"Lily of the Valley" - Regal, yet simple!

"Lily of the Valley"—Regal, yet simple!

Is that Grandma Mary’s perfume I smell… or are lilies of the valley in full bloom?  The fragrance of lilies of the valley is quite distinctive—different from the scent produced by other lilies.  You may love the intense aroma (or not!) but either way, you likely can identify Convallaria majalis  simply by its scent.

The lily of the valley loves shady areas and thrives as a woodland plant.  It is extremely prolific and sends out underground rhizomes forming a thick mesh beneath the soil level, as well as stolons above ground.   When digging lilies in early spring to share with a friend, you may be surprised that these dainty, delicate blossoms are supported by a tenacious network of rhizomes and roots, often 12” deep.  You will need a SHOVEL in order to share—not a hand trowel!

In spring 2011, lily of the valley received special attention in England when Kate Middleton decided her bridal bouquet  would follow an old royal tradition and be comprised primarily of lily of the valley, in lieu of more exotic plants.  Kate’s bouquet was reminiscent of a simple, olden-days country wedding.  Lily of the valley grows well in the United Kingdom (as well as in some parts of the USA), and Kate made her decision to utilize British-grown flowers in her bridal bouquet.   Lily of the valley can be grown easily in the Southeastern Wisconsin region; you need a bit of shade, a bit of space, and a few rhizomes from a friend or nursery.

NOTE:  If you have small children, please remember the lilies’ leaves, flowers and  late-season orange berries are quite toxic, so please plant where they would be inaccessible to curious children.

M. Lynn Schmid,   Certified Master Gardener
A.A.S. Landscape/Horticulture/Arboriculture
 (Wikipedia provides this 19th century illustration of Lily of the Valley)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A tribute to Mothers ~ Happy Mother's Day!

Mother’s Day…  a time for reflection

Mothers, grandmothers, stepmothers, godmothers, mothers-in-law and aunts have all played roles in forming WHO we are today… who we’ve become.  Each of these women was a unique individual, possessing talents and skills they may have shared with us.  Although some memories of our loved ones are pleasant, others are not.  But with the passage of time, even memories that were not so pleasant at the moment might bring a smile to our faces today, as we reflect back on them.

There are countless (expensive!) ways to honor your mother on this special day… diamond earrings, fancy handbags; simply page through the numerous ads you’ve received since the beginning of May.  But remember that many moms don’t want diamonds from their children; they simply wish to be remembered and respected on their special day, and this can be accomplished in creative, loving ways that don’t require spending a small fortune:

Ø Invite your mother/grandmother to your home for a brunch that you and your children will prepare.  (Keep food selections simple to ensure success.)

Ø Find a unique basket that will hold a few plants; if gift is for grandma, let each grandchild select a plant to place in basket and add a poufy bow.

Ø If mother or grandmother has passed on, you can plant a flowering shrub or tree in her memory—one that will bloom every year around Mother’s Day.

Ø Bake something special for her… try your hand at baking bread or a lovely pie, featuring her favorite fruits or berries.

If you are a mom, grandma, godmother or auntie and someone takes time from their busy life to call you or drop by to give you a hug in person, just savor the moment and take time to reflect … this is your special day!   You have made a difference in someone’s life!

M. Lynn Schmid,   Certified Master Gardener
A.A.S. Landscape/Horticulture/Arboriculture

Thursday, May 3, 2012

"Spring is Blooming - Outside & IN !"

Spring is Blooming – enjoy outside & IN!

Spring has come to Wisconsin with all the spring bulbs and flowers blooming a bit early due to our warm March.

Why not bring the Spring indoors?  It is very easy to use just a few small flowers to make a beautiful arrangement. 

Use small jars and bottles from jelly jars to small vases, juice bottles, old medicine bottles and small craft bottles from your local craft store.  The display is more interesting to have a collection of different sizes and shapes and heights for your vases.  Then simply put a few stems and leaves in each one.

In our arrangement, I have used the following:

·        Grape Hyacinths

·        Johnny Jump-ups

·        Daffodils

·        Violets

·        Bleeding Hearts

·        Lily of the Valley

·        Virginia Blue Bells

·        Forget-Me-Nots

So take a walk in your yard and bring Spring into your home.  It’s an easy & fun activity on any day!

LAMMSCAPES!  Floral Designer,