The royal bouquet

I do love a good wedding, but I have to say I was a tad disappointed by Kate Middleton’s bridal bouquet. It was just so, well, tiny. It looked more like a flower girl’s posy. (A very pretty flower girl’s posy, nonetheless, but just a bit dinky compared to all the rest of the pomp and pageantry surrounding the occasion.)

Mind you, for such a small bouquet, it was oozing in symbolism. According to the official Royal Wedding website: “The bouquet is a shield-shaped wired bouquet of myrtle, lily-of-the-valley, sweet William and hyacinth.  The bouquet was designed by Shane Connolly and draws on the traditions of flowers of significance for the Royal Family, the Middleton family and on the Language of Flowers. The flowers’ meanings in the bouquet are:

Lily-of-the-valley – Return of happiness
Sweet William – Gallantry
Hyacinth – Constancy of love
Ivy: Fidelity; marriage; wedded love; friendship; affection
Myrtle: the emblem of marriage; love.

The bouquet contains stems from a myrtle planted at Osborne House, Isle of Wight, by QueenVictoriain 1845, and a sprig from a plant grown from the myrtle used in The Queen’s wedding bouquet of 1947. The tradition of carrying myrtle begun after QueenVictoriawas given a nosegay containing myrtle byPrince Albert’s grandmother during a visit toGothainGermany.  In the same year, QueenVictoriaandPrince Albertbought Osborne House as a family retreat, and a sprig from the posy was planted against the terrace walls, where it continues to thrive today. The myrtle was first carried by QueenVictoria’s eldest daughter, Princess Victoria, when she married in 1858, and was used to signify the traditional innocence of a bride.”

I love fragrant lily-of-the-valley (Convallaria majalis). It’s one of the classic perennials of spring, but it really needs a frosty winter climate to do well. I never managed to get these bulb-like plants to flower in my Aucklandcity garden, but we get wicked frosts here in Hunua, so I might just have another crack at establishing a clump under some trees this year. You can get the dormant rhizomes in selected garden centres now, or wait until spring for plants (look in the perennial section at your local garden centre), or check Trade Me for plants sold by hobby growers. Parva Plants also have an adorable pale pink-flowered form (Convallaria majalis var. rosea) but – drats – it has sold out for the season.