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Valley of Memories

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My grandmother loved the fragrance of the lily-of-the-valley. For many a Christmas and birthday I’d gift her a body lotion or soap scented with the sweet floral notes. They are in bloom in the garden right now, and they always remind me of my Gram. The plant itself is extremely hardy, and we have several large patches of them. In one section, they are actually a bit of a nuisance, but that resilience works in the less cultivated sections, where they hold their own with the wild areas that go unchecked. That’s where I picked this bouquet.

It takes a large number of stems to make a bouquet that matters, so small and delicate are the flowers, but an abundance is precisely what we have. They also do well in smaller vases or glasses, which I didn’t really have on hand, so I shifted and arranged them to one side for these photos. Despite their small stature, their fragrance is potent, and it’s a glorious thing. Scents are some of the most powerful memory triggers.

Though I did my best to bring lilies-of-the-valley to my Gram when they weren’t in season (as most of the gift-giving times fell outside of its brief blooming period) I still wish I’d brought more bouquets of them to her. We didn’t have as many then. Sometimes our gardens bloom after we’re gone.

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