More About Trees and Plants... My Various Hobbies
My mother-in-law gave me a start of lily of the valley about ten years ago. I planted it in a bed that is in shade for part of the day. In late summer when the rains stop, the bed gets very dry. A large old maple tree grows nearby, and it sucks the ground dry with a million thirsty rootlets.
The lily of the valley is a tough plant. It stays green even when the weather is hot and dry. It has managed to endure, and even to multiply. It would love to creep out into the lawn, even closer to the maple tree, but I've been keeping it in its bed.
I heard a lady on a radio garden show this weekend. She was sick and tired of her lily of the valley getting out of bounds, and she wanted to know how she could keep it where it belonged. The gardening expert explained that all she had to do was put a barrier around it, because lily of the valley spreads by sending up new shoots from its roots.
She interrupted. "Can't I just use Roundup?" I was offended by that suggestion and I think the host was, also. "Well!" he said. "I guess you can, but you'll get a dieback into the bed for 6 inches or so." "Really?" she said. "Good!"
I don't resent the wandering ways of my lily of the valley. I have it held back by a pathway of concrete rectangles. It tries to escape through the cracks between the rectangles, but I just pull the shoots up as they occur. If it gets too persistant, I dig out the roots that are trying to spread.
In truth, I'm very fond of lily of the valley. I like its name. I like its vigor and reliability. I love its little bell blossoms, and I love their fragrance. When I was taking some photos of it today and enjoying its wonderful scent, I thought that if I were a cat, I'd just lie down in the lily of the valley bed.