Introduction: How to Find and Share (wild) Lily of the Valley
The month of May is almost here, and, in France, the May, 1st, we have the habit to share some "Lily of the Valley" flowers with our family and friends. The Lily of the Valley is a lucky flower, we give them to the people we love.
It's usually easy to buy some in big cities (because they sell industrial ones), but remember that this flower can grow up naturally outside... So, follow this Instructable for some tips !
Step 1: Find the Good Spots (I)
Ok, finding this flower is not very hard. I live in a small village in the campaign, and I know the good spots to find it. It's like mushrooms in fact...
Lily of the Valley needs a little bit of heat and some water to start growing. So, wait until mid-April, and start checking usual spots. Ask for local people for "hints" if you don't really know where to go.
Step 2: Find the Good Spots (2)
Ok, we will spend some time in the woods. So:
- take a mobile phone
- some water
- wear boots or big shoes and get a jacket.(Even if we are in Spring, the weather is a big cold... And I got rain during my session !)
Also, make sure that you can visit and pick-up things in the woods. Ask the owner. It's normally not be a problem, but always ask. In my case, the woods belong to a friend of my dad, so no problems.
Step 3: Find the Good Spots (3)
Okay, here we are. To find Lily of the Valley flowers, here are some tips:
- they usually grows up in a group
- they like wet and shadow places
- the leaves are usually greener than other plants
If you see leaves only, it means that :
- someone was here before you and leaves nothing,
- the leaves are young, and the flowers are not ready yet.
So remember the spot and come back in one week.
Keep examining the woods, and search wet spots with a good tree cover. Direct sunlight exposure is not good. I found also some other white flowers (I don't know the name). As you can see on the pictures, it's very easy to find the spots, as the leaves are greener than the other things.
With a bit of luck, you may able to find some good spots ! It's time to start picking them.
Step 4: Pick Up Them
Ok, to get the flower stalk, just take it between two fingers and pull it vertically. The leaves will stays in place.
Start collecting them. Don't take the small ones ! If they don't have all the bells open, get an other one. It's hard to find a flower stalk with every bells open. If one bell or two are not open, don't worry, they should open later, in the water.
I don't take the leaves every time. If you collect them all, your bouquet will be too green and too big. I don't have a rule for this...I take one pair of leaves every five stalks... Sometimes, the full plant comes up (with roots). I tried to put back it in my garden, but it never works... :-(
Use a rubber band to keep the flowers together.
I really like picking them... Being alone in the woods is something very relaxing... Just smell the flowers, listen to the bird noises, and forget everything else.
Warning: DON'T put flowers stalks and leaves in your mouth ! The Lily of the Valley sap is (a little bit) POISONOUS ! (You don't have to wear gloves, but be careful.) Furthermore, clean your hands as soon as you are back home.
Step 5: Make a Nice Bouquet
Ok, back home. We will transform the result of our collection into a nice bouquet.
The rule is here : there is no rules ! Just mix flowers stalks and leaves as you prefer.
I usually spread everything on a table, and start collecting stalks. Assemble them by heights, and finish by making an external border with the leaves.
Once you have something nice, trim the base of the bouquet with scissors. (Carefully wash it after, remember that the sap is poisonous...)
Get a small vase (I put them into a glass), put some water in it, and carefully insert the bouquet. It's not necessary to make a big one, two smaller are better. Adjust the leaves to have something pretty...
In my case, I've made two bouquets. Put them anywhere you want, but avoid direct sunlight !!!
Step 6: 'Take Away' Bouquet
If you want to give a small bouquet to someone, follow this tip:
- create a small bouquet. Again, I made a core of flower stalks and green leaves around.
- trim the stalks with scissors
- wrap the bouquet into a paper towel
- wet the paper (open the faucet or dip it into water)
- wrap again the bouquet with a small sheet of aluminium foil. Make sure that the bottom is sealant.
Here you are, a small bouquet that you can give to someone. Like this, it can last a few hours. Tell the receiver to put it into water as soon as possible.
Step 7: Last Words
Here we are, a nice collection of flowers. I really like them because the smell is incredible (a bouquet can last for one week, just change the water sometimes) and the flowers are very pretty. And again, it's always a pleasure to share these flowers with your friends and family.
I don't like the ones that you can buy : they are not wild, they were produced into greenhouses, collected a few days before the May, 1st, and usually feed with fertilizers and other strange products. The flowers are often stored into fridges to keep them "in shape"... And they are expensive !!! So if you can, take some time in the woods !
And you, do you share lucky things ?
Thanks for reading !