May's Birth Flower Left Me With So Many Questions
Updated: Sep 15, 2022
We'll get to the questions in a moment, but first, I want to wish those born in the Month of May, Happy Birthday! This post is all about May's birth month flower, Lily-of-the-Valley.
Without a living specimen available to me I had to seek out reference photos that were commercial free. Meaning I could use them to paint from and still be able to sell my art and any art prints or products.
The questions started because of the small number of photos available. Leaving me remembering the last time I saw these flowers were street vendors in Helsinki Finland, wish I had purchased a bouquet for a thorough photo shoot in the hotel room.
Some of the questions I asked myself:
What would this flower look like in a garden?
Up close, from far away?
What is the actual size of the leaves, the flowers, the stems height?
Are the lines really that distinct?
All those green hues. . . you get the picture. I felt I had more questions than answers.
What Was Learned
6 to 12 inches tall
With two or three leaves
The flowering stem rises from the center of the leaves
After learning something about the plant I was off to find my composition for this birthday flower. A few sketches, six painting attempts and several color swatches later, I have one I wish to share with you.
May Birth Month Flower: Lily of the Valley
The lily-of-the-valley (the name is sometimes hyphenated) goes by many names and is not a lily, this flower is in the family Asparagaceae (aka asparagus), and botanical name Convallaria majalis from the Latin convallis meaning valley.
Also Known As
Our Lady's Tears
As you can guess by the names these flowers are bell shaped, while white is the most common, one might find them sporting pink or purple blossoms.
This plant is considered toxic, hardy, great for ground cover, but beware in the right conditions it can grow and spread quickly.
Symbolism of Lily-of-the-Valley
Associated with motherhood
Purity and humility
A return to happiness
Looking at when these flowers bloom in Spring I would say they certainly could be blooming as we leave the winter blues behind.
Why Mary's Tears? In Christian lore it is said these are from Eve's tears after being expelled from the Garden of Eden, and has been associated with Mary's tears sprouting these flowers at the site of Christ's crucifixion.
King Charles was gifted this flower for good luck on May Day, and he continued the tradition of gifting this flower on that day.
The fragrance of these flowers makes it popular for weddings, in Holland newlyweds plant them in their gardens to bring luck to the marriage.
Apparently if I want to see these in person I need to visit Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson, apparently these flowers are planted their, or revisit Finland, where Lily-of-the-valley is the national flower.
Happy Birthday to You if May is your birthday month.
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Your Painterly Artist,
If you wish to learn more about this flower my resources of information were: