Saturday, May 2, 2015

Happy May!

Happy May Day! Families during medieval England would celebrate the beginning of spring by collecting greenery and flowers from woodlands and bringing them back into their homes. This custom was known as "Going A-Maying" or "Bringing Back the May."

In France, the tradition of giving lily-of-the-valley flowers goes back to May 1, 1561 when King Charles IX was presented with a bouquet as a token of luck and prosperity. Now on May Day or the Fete du Muguet, lilies of the valley are fondly sold throughout the country - from roadside stands to supermarkets.

At home, our lilies of the valley are blooming right on schedule despite spring's late arrival this year. All of them were gifted by my friend Charlet - they were transplanted from her garden. I love gathering a few bunches to enjoy. Just a bit of caution: these dainty, sweet-scented beauties can be invasive, and all parts of them are poisonous.
A generous bunch of lilies of the valley for our shop. So pretty! So spring!! The mirror with gilded Greek key border is French Louis Philippe. The greeny-blue painted chest is Swedish Gustavian.
Another bunch for our kitchen. These petite bell-shaped flowers infuse the air with a delightful fragrance - doing dishes just got a little better :)
Meet Lemon Drops! I also picked a few of these charming Narcissi from our small courtyard garden. Their fresh cream-and-lemon palette looks especially cheerful with our gray walls, furniture and floors.  
Speaking of our home, do you remember this post? Many of you have asked about the progress of our house search and real estate listing for our home. Tom and I had planned to officially list it right about now.....with the gardens in bloom. We have decided not to list our home at this time. Why? There has not been anything on the market that we liked or wanted to renovate. Plus, the smaller properties that we were focusing on have been selling extremely fast and, often times, with multiple bids. So for now, we'll continue to enjoy our home. Thanks for all of your interest, support and kind words. 
xoxo
Loi  

52 comments:

  1. Hello Loi, Actually it comes as a bit of a relief that you and Tom have postponed listing your house. I think that all of your readers felt a sense of regret at your leaving it, especially after the recent posts showing your house looking its best. Those delicate flowers definitely add a breath of spring.
    --Jim

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  2. Hello Loi,
    I echo Jim's comment, as above. I am also happy you are remaining for now in your beautiful home. Lilly of the Valley has such a beautiful fragrance. The first perfume I purchased when I was 14 yrs of age was Lily of the Valley by Coty. Long since discontinued and still the fragrance of this flower bring me back to this wonderful age when summer lasted forever.
    Helen xx

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  3. Hi Loi, so glad you and Tom are staying at your lovely house. Love the flowers, they make such a difference in any house.
    Hugs and greetings from sunny Belgrade,
    Vesna

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  4. Beautiful spring blossoms, Loi. You know, I have never been lucky enough to breathe in the scent of lily of the valley, having lived in the Med for over 27 years, I don't think we have this pretty flower here. BUT, I am due in my beloved Canada this Thursday, May 7th, and will seek out this famous scent of this delicate bloom, which probably thrives in a cooler, north American climate!

    So happy that you and Tom have decided to stay put, for now!:)) Your home is one of the most beautiful and elegant I have ever seen.

    Happy May, my friend!

    xo
    Poppy

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  5. Beautiful, beautiful photos Loi and I wish we could join in with May 1 celebrations down here in Aus.! Sadly, there are no Lilly of the Valley to be found in Autumn! I adore your kitchen and the simplicity of the palette. Bye for now, Jenny

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  6. Happy spring Loi! The lilies of the valley are so breathtaking and fresh and echo the look in your home so perfectly. You have become synonymous with your spectacular home and I too would be sad if it were in any other hands. Enjoy your spring and relish your time there! I'm sure you're off to Maine soon to experience spring there ( a month behind?) how cool you get to enjoy a long spring in two homes! Xox

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  7. I'm so glad you are not selling. I love your home and would love to replicate your garden for myself. I would miss not seeing it in posts. And I look forward to seeing more of the Maine house and the garden there as well. Your taste is exquisite.
    Helen L

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  8. Gorgeous images of springtime delight Loi! Thank you for coming over to visit and enter my giveaway!!

    xoxo
    Karena
    The Arts by Karena
    Giveaway from The Enchanted Home!

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  9. The flowers are so pretty and cheerful....
    ......enjoy your home . It's fabulous, perfect and so welcoming. . When you least expect it...you will find just what you are searching for.
    xo
    Patty

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  10. Happy May Loi!....the Lilly of the Valley is just breathtaking...Just wish I could grow them down here....Lilly of the Valley is very special to me as they were the flowers of my wedding bouquet. You of course display them so exquisitely like all of the fabulous items in your home. I am sure you and Tom have made a wise decision for now with regard to your home. I know the perfect place is waiting for you at the right time. In the meantime, enjoy that gorgeous home of yours and the joys of Spring in your gardens.

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  11. Loi-- So great to hear you are not selling now--how can you sell something you obviously love so much!?!? I have been in your shop, and continue to stalk your blog and IG as we make plans to build our "New-Old house" in Charlottesville in the near future. I am interested in the manufacturer and color of your kitchen cabinetry--we currently have Crown Point in a milk paint finish, which I love--but I am open to other cabinet makers and colors/finishes for our new home. Would you share the manufacturer and the color--they look very pale grayish in the
    photos??
    Kind Regards, Cindy

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  12. Loi, you and Tom are smart to stay put. WHAT A DREAM HOUSE YOU HAVE! To have done your research and to have been patient about it all is the best thing.

    You are making me want to "Go-a-Maying!" We had a spectacular day yesterday with bright sunshine, warm temps and anxious buds waiting to show their colors. Today, we took a two hour walk to take in the pinks, yellows, purples and green of our little part of Minneapolis. I am now on the search for these lily of the valley gems. I've been gorging my senses with hyacinths and my kitchen is all the lovelier for their perfume!

    Your kitchen is so bright and perfect. You share so much joy my friend! HAPPY MAY to you and Tom, Anita

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  13. I adore lilly of the valley and brought some here from our olf house but it is taking them a few years to get established. I didn't realize they were considered invasive. I would LOVE to have as many as you!!!! As for the house, things happen for a reason and they happen when they are suppised to. At least that is what I believe so the right time will come along with the right house! Enjoy May!!!!!

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  14. Ours are blooming, too...all six of them! :) I'm waiting for them to "spread" as well as the dandelions do... franki

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  15. Oh Loi I am in Connecticut and Spring is crawling to us. I am sitting with a sweater on as I type. I have planted somethings outside but the majority will wait, including my vegetable garden. We traveled down to Georgia about 2 weeks ago and I loved seeing everything in bloom. We are still waiting here but I know it will come - ever so slowly!

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  16. Needless to say, I echo all the sentiments above. Your home and gardens are exquisite. Happy for you that you will continue to enjoy this special home. We are about to list our home. It is bitter sweet, but time for a change for us. As we clean out and organize, I realize how much I love and appreciate our home and gardens. I hope someone else will too.
    Your Lilly of the Valley are the perfect spring touch for your home and the shop. I don't think they grow here, though if they are poisonous, I'd be reluctant to plant them because of Sadie. They certainly are lovely in the containers!
    Thanks for sharing and Happy May! ~ Sarah

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  17. Hi Loi, The Lilies of the Valley!! So sweet--but I didn't kknow that they were poisonous. The house looks beautiful. Glad that you are staying put.
    xoxo Mary

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  18. You have such a beautiful home....I love the soft calm feel of it.

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  19. So, so glad you decided to stay, if but for awhile. Love, love, love your gardens and all things indoors! So looking forward to seeing more, if only for a little bit! Wishing you and your loved ones all good things!

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  20. May is my birthday month so I've always adored Lilies of the Valley. They grew behind an elderly neighbor's house when I was growing up so I'd go back there and pick a bouquet--couldn't stop inhaling that delightful fragrance. One year a family friend who had a huge garden brought me a little May basket filled with flowers she'd just cut. I still have that adorable basket (it's now an antique!). So glad you're still in your elegant home as I love seeing the indoor/outdoor photos and how you arrange table tops. Ann in Fairfax

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  21. While I know you could renovate the heck out of anything your home and gardens must make it a bit harder? Have you thought about upping your budget then low balling offers? Ironically bargains are harder to find in smaller properties so maybe you might want to make a few cheeky offers for properties you thought were out of your budget? Wishing you good luck with it all!

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  22. Beautiful photos! I love those sweet little Lily of the Valley flowers. They remind me of my grandmother's place on Long Island. She always had them growing beside her house. Happy May to you, Loi.
    Claudia

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  23. Hello Loi, thanks for the wonderful reminder of the Lily of the Valley tradition in France. I had forgotten about that, and how pleased I was, the year I lived there, to see them appearing in the flower shops at that time. Such a charming little flower and thanks for the reminder that they are poisonous. My previous cat did not even look at flowers, whereas this one can be found in a dark dining room at night with his face in the flower vase (yes, that happened). I'm sorry you haven't found a smaller home yet to your liking but pleased you can enjoy your beautiful place a while longer. It must be bittersweet to leave it. At least eventually you will find something, unlike here where there is a minute selection of charming homes and they are all way out of our budget. Ugh. The wait will be worth it.

    Hugs and happy Sunday. I am always made to smile by your lovely post and Instagram shots and I treasure our e-friendship. ;)

    xo Terri

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  24. I am glad that you are staying in your beautiful house. Your Flowers are lovely. Our Lily of the Valley flowers will bloom soon. It's quite late over here. Enjoy the Month! Happy May!

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  25. Dear Loi,

    I'm glad you and Tom are taking your time and will be able to enjoy your beautiful house a little longer. Your house will certainly sell in record time, not just because of its good bones, but because it is at all times already perfectly staged. With your new frame of mind, your next house will come to you at just the right time. The subtle color of those Lemon Drops is perfection.

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  26. Beautiful photos, Loi! I hope you are enjoying a pleasant spring in DC; seems like it finally arrived yesterday in VT. I have to say I am glad to hear your plans are on hold for the time being, I am looking forward to seeing more photos of your garden this year and I have harbored hopes of one more visit to the house before you pack it up. (Maybe on one of my trips to visit Sophie at William & Mary later this year!) I am a firm believer that when the time is right things fall into place. That's always been the case for me anyway. ;-)
    Have a great week!
    xoxo,
    Phyllis

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  27. Loi,
    I too was wondering how things were going where sell/buy was concerned. We are in the same boat. We believe we want to move to a home with a little less maintenance, but the market in Southern California is low on inventory and therefore there are always multiple bids on homes. We love our house so like you and Tom we're just going to enjoy each and every day here.
    I have always wanted to grow Lily of the Valley. When I was very much younger I wore a fragrance that was scented like the flower. I'll have to add it to my bulb's to buy list.
    xo,
    Karen

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  28. Everything here is perfection. I love lily of the valley- always reminds me of wedding bouquets. x

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  29. What a lovely, spring filled post, Loi! Our birthday was this weekend and our mother used to give us each a bunch of "muguet" when we were young. Growing up in Belgium where they also celebrate the 1st of May with these pretty flowers gave us an appreciation for the tradition. Enjoy this beautiful weather!
    xxoo
    C + C

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  30. Hi Loi, I'm glad you updated us about your home. I was wondering what you were going to do. I love this home, and your garden is one of my favorite parts. Beautiful.

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  31. Happy May, Loi. Sounds like you've made a very wise decision in sticking with your home at least for now. It really is so beautiful - especially with sweet bouquets of Lily of the Valley around. I just love this happy little flower. They remind me of my grandmother. Here's to enjoying all of the beauty that this lovely month brings! XO

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  32. Loi,
    Happy May to you and Tom. A perfect time of year with Spring beauty to stay and enjoy your home. I've always loved Lillies of the Valley, sweet and delicate with a lovely scent but no more for me inside our home. I didn't know they are poisonous and with cats full of curiosity and love of flowers it's now off limits for us. Enjoy the beauty of Spring,
    xo,
    Vera

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  33. I adore lilies of the valley, their scent, and beautiful leaves and little bell flowers. I especially like them just put casually in a container, no fussing around. Yours look stunning en masse. Happy May!

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  34. Loi I'm super envious of your Lilies! It's too hot here to grow them, although my Father manages to in his garden which is in the hills not far from my house, but with a vastly different climate to my mediterranean one. Lily of the Valley was my wedding posy, and they have a short appearance in the shops here, so I get a visual reminder when I see them that it's nearing my wedding anniversary. Happy May and enjoy your beautiful lily bounty!

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  35. Your lily-of-the-valley are so beautiful, Loi and I am so happy to get a glimpse of your gorgeous home - you know it's a favorite!

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  36. Learned something I didn't know and the lilies are beautiful.

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  37. Your home is beautiful and a lovely place to live until you find the perfect place! I love Lily of the Valley and If they had been in season I would have used fresh ones my wedding cake, I had no idea they were poisonous! Can you imagine! eeek!

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  38. Hello Loi,
    What a beautiful post! I love the flowers. So pretty. Those daffodils are so pretty and you are right, they look great with the grey walls. How lucky for us that you will remain in your home a while longer. I always look forward to seeing your beautiful design. Your home is amazing! Happy Spring my friend!
    Susan

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  39. Sounds like you've made a very wise decision in sticking with your home at least for now.

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  40. oh i miss my lily of the valley from our very first home which had such a special vintage garden. i am a little relieved you are not moving on just yet. and i totally understand as last summer we put our house on the market after finding a waterfront property but when that deal fell through we no longer felt comfortable selling. this time around, even without a solid home in mind, the timing was right. we are living in a wee home, renting month to month and plan to buy a fixer upper we can put our stamp on. i am still grieving the old spaces but bidding aurevoir to a mortgage is a beautiful thing! *think Nene from Real Housewives of Atlanta: i'm reeeyotch, beeyotch* peace of the lovely spring to you, loi.

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  41. Greetings! So glad to know your garden is in bloom and Tom and you have decided to stay in this beautiful house. We were wanting to move too but we have the same issue and have decided to stay put.

    Best wishes.

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  42. Loi, this is a lovely post. Lilly of the Valley are my favorite flower ever, they are delicate and beautifully smelling.

    I hope that you ar enjoying the beautiful Spring weather! Have a great week.

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  43. Happy May! Your home is so beautiful. My husband and I are moving to DC this summer, and the real estate market is definitely crazy! We've been doing the bidding war thing.

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  44. Happy May! I can smell the flowers through the screen! I am loling at that comment above from Michele re Nene from The Real Housewives of Atlanta. I am sorry to hear about the house hunt but seriously, your current home is amazeballs! Also, I love how your kitchen has chrome finishes. I don't feel like I am the only one not decked out in brass or gold:-). Have a lovely week Loi. xx

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  45. I love this post - the photos are like paintings. Loi, I wish I had your touch for selecting just the right vase, and then placing it in just the right spot! I've never grown lily-of-the-valley - the tiny flowers are so perfect, almost waxy. I can understand why they would merit their own celebration status.

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  46. Hi Loi, what beautiful photography. What paint color did you use in the kitchen? It goes great with the marble.

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  47. Lilies of the Valley remind me so much of my childhood growing up in the Midwest. They grew without abandon along sidewalks etc. To me they were always the official sign of Spring. Of course they are much more beautiful in your home and shop Loi!!!

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  48. I love that you get to enjoy your beautiful home a little while longer!!!

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  49. They are just so gorgeous Loi and they fit perfectly in any part of your equally beautiful home!

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  50. I also love the bouquet of dried lily of the valley you had on an old post. How did you achieve that warm tan color? Thanks.

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  51. Perfection! I love those Lily of the Valley! I should try growing some! They are so dainty and beautiful. Strange how such a beautiful flower can be so deadly...

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  52. Fresh flowers like these totally complete your marvelous home, or any home for that matter! Enjoy the blooms !

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Many thanks for your visit! If you have a question, please leave a comment and I will do my best to answer. Loi