04 May 2010

Muguet des Bois

While living in Paris during my junior year in college, I discovered a wonderful springtime tradition: small bouquets of muguet des bois wrapped in paper cones and tied with string, sold by vendors on street corners. It was hard for me to believe that such dainty little flowers could produce such a powerful scent. I bought bouquets as long as they were in season, taking them upstairs to bring a bit of spring to my stark dorm room.

Lily of the Valley or LOTV (as we call it around here) has such a strong and distinct fragrance that to this day, it still reminds me of my year abroad.

When we moved into our first home, a 1923 Tudor, I was delighted to find muguet des bois growing with abandon in the shady gardens around the house. When we left that house and moved to our current one 16 years ago, we brought along some hostas and iris, but somehow neglected to transplant any LOTV.

Fortunately, my disappointment was short-lived: The spring following our move, a small but hardy patch of LOTV magically appeared in front of our house. It seems that some LOTV spores rode along on the hostas we transplanted and took root at our new house as if to welcome me. Now we have huge patches of muguet des bois in the shady areas in front of the house. The scent is strong and distinct.

It's a tiny bit of Paris, right in our front yard.


Sarah said...

How cool! I bet that was a fun surprise to find. They look beautiful. Not sure I've ever seen any in person, but now I will have to search them out just to get a whiff. :)

Kristina said...

I miss the LOTV at my old house. There were tons of it that had been there for years. Alas, I really don't have the shade I need to grow it here. Thanks for sharing that lovely bouquet!

Fonda said...

Awww Janet, that's wonderful!

Heather said...

How neat. I have never smelled them before, but now I am curious. :)