The lily of the valley is a low-growing perennial plant that usually has two large oblong leaves and small fragrant nodding bell-shaped flowers that grow evenly up the stalk forming what appear to be steps. Perhaps Mr. Plant, observed the Lily of the Valley’s configuration and penned the song “Stairway to Heaven” (probably not). However, medieval monks having lots of time on their hands and keen observation skills, viewed the flowers configuration and labeled the flower the “ladder to heaven”. The flower was considered a symbol for the steps to heaven.
The Victorian era, with its strict rules of etiquette regarding verbalizing feelings of affection, was the golden age of the language of flowers. When the lily of the valley was given as a gift to a love interest its meaning was said to be “you made my life complete”. Today its meaning is said to be happiness, humility, purity and sweetness.
Through the years the flower has gained popularity in wedding bouquets. The reason for this is open to debate. Some would say it’s the flower’s fragrance and beauty. Opponents offer that many flowers equal its beauty and fragrance. The marriage cynics amongst us, point to the flowers’ herbal use as a poison antidote as the reason for its wedding bouquet popularity. Statisticians claim that polls of brides are flawed. Many brides are embarrassed to admit fear of poisoning by their groom as the driving force behind the choice of the flower. Perhaps we’ll never know.
Similarly the origins of Lily of the Valley is open to debate. One Christian bible story has it that the flower first grew where Mary’s tears fell at the foot of the cross. Another has the flower first sprouting from Eve’s tears after she was kicked out of the Garden of Eden. Whatever its origins, the flower provides a beautiful fragrant and visual accent to any floral display.
This post is brought to you by Starbright Floral Design (www.starflor.com). Sometimes we like to bring out “the fun side of flowers” by injecting some humor into our scribes. We truly hope you enjoy our reads and get to see flowers from a little bit of a different perspective. We sure do.
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