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With spring in full swing and everything coming to life, a bevy of white blossoms bursting at every corner is exactly what you expect, but it never grows less lovely. The May birth flowers are Hawthorn and Lily of the Valley, two of the most beautiful white bloomers that truly signal the welcoming of warm weather.

Hawthorn

How right it is to love flowers and the greenery of pines and ivy and hawthorn hedges; they have been with us from the very beginning.” –Vincent Van Gogh

Hawthorn is a tree with white (or pink) five-petaled blossoms. The overall effect of a Hawthorn tree or shrub in full bloom is a frothy confection of clusters and has many connotations. It is the official May birth flower (and is called “mayflower,” “May-tree,” “whitethorn” and “hawberry”), has many thorns and red berries. Sometimes, the blossoms are completely white, or they are tinged around the edges with pink or are solid pink. The blossoms resemble wild roses and even cherry blossoms (they are part of the family Rosaceae) and are native to Europe, Asia, North America, and North Africa.

Hawthorn is associated with pagan rituals and fertility rites (think of May Day). Some use it to bless marriages with enduring love, while boughs from the May tree have been left outdoors to protect houses from harm. It was even thought that bringing Hawthorn flowers into the house would bring bad luck. In Ireland, the Hawthorn is thought of as a magical tree where one might find a gateway to a fairy fort.

Lily of the Valley

The Lily of the valley, breathing in the humble grass answer’d the lovely maid and said: ‘I am a watry weed, and I am very small, and love to dwell in lowly vales; so weak, the gilded butterfly scarce perches on my head; yet I am visited from heaven, and he that smiles on all walks in the valley and each morn over me spreads his hand, saying ‘Rejoice, thou humble grass, thou new-born lily flower.’”

William Blake, The Book of Thel

With its tiny bell-shaped white blossoms, Lily of the Valley is one of the most elegant and sweetly scented of all the spring flowers. A favorite of the Royal family, Queen Elizabeth II loved them, and they have been famously used in wedding bouquets (such was the case with Kate Middleton, Queen Victoria, and Grace Kelly). Folklore associated with the flower goes back to the Bible where it was said that the blossom sprang up from Mary’s tears, and because it is thought to bring luck in love, it is a popular wedding flower with everyone, not just royalty. Lily of the Valley grows in temperate forests on many continents (including North America, Asia, and Europe) and is incredibly delicate; the tiny bell-shaped flowers do not tolerate heat or direct sunlight. While the flower is tiny and smells so lovely, it is also poisonous if ingested. Because of its pristine white colour, the flower suggests purity and innocence and isn’t really a lily at all; it is actually a member of the asparagus family.

Chelsea Flowers: Pristine White Bouquets

For snow-coloured flowers to match the blossoms of May, Chelsea Flowers offers immaculate, artisan-designed arrangements. Perfect for a wedding, birthday, or any occasion, the “Outstanding” bouquet is made of all white flowers, including orchids, carnations, and gerbera daisies (with a hint of emerald green foliage). For the perfect token of gratitude, gift the “Merci” display, complete with ranunculus, lisianthus, santini, and freesia. Finally, for a bouquet fit for a princess, “Snow White” is an arrangement made entirely of avalanche roses.

For more information on Chelsea Flowers and everything they have to offer, visit the website and follow the links below:

https://chelseaflowers.co.uk/product/merci

https://chelseaflowers.co.uk/product/outstanding

https://chelseaflowers.co.uk/product/snow-white

To learn more about Hawthorn and Lily of the Valley, check out the links consulted in writing this blog:

https://www.foragingcoursecompany.co.uk/post/articles-sex-death-and-hawthorn#:~:text=In%20fact%2C%20the%20hawthorn%20stands,been%20both%20revered%20and%20feared

https://kingcounty.gov/en/legacy/services/environment/animals-and-plants/noxious-weeds/weed-identification/common-hawthorn#:~:text=Common%20hawthorn%20has%20naturalized%20on,in%20eastern%20Washington%20as%20well.

https://www.townandcountrymag.com/leisure/arts-and-culture/g2041/lily-of-the-valley-facts