It's very nearly May Day. On May Day — May 1st — the French traditionally buy lily of the valley bouquets, and perfumistas traditionally wear lily of the valley perfume.
Your options, of course, are many. There are the classics: Christian Dior Diorissimo, Caron Muguet du Bonheur (I checked, they're still making it), and Guerlain Muguet (they usually release a new version every year on May Day in Paris). There are the modern niche fragrances: Parfums Delrae Début, Van Cleef & Arpels Muguet Blanc, Parfums MDCI Un Coeur en Mai, and if you can get your hands on it, Annick Goutal's now discontinued Le Muguet. There are the chain-store standbys: Crabtree & Evelyn, Woods of Windsor, Yardley, Taylor of London and Caswell-Massey all make lily of the valley soliflores. And of course, there's the budget option: Coty's Muguet des Bois (I checked, they're still making that too and you can even buy it at Target). There are no doubt many others — please comment if you know of one I missed.
Longwood Gardens' new fragrance, Always in Bloom, is likewise focused on lily of the valley, but it's hard to know where to categorize it on the list above: it can't compete with the modern niche scents — and happily it doesn't cost as much, either — but it's nicer than your average chain-store standby. Always in Bloom was released this spring in conjunction with the new Longwood exhibit, Making Scents: The Art and Passion of Fragrance, and it was developed by perfumer Olivier Polge. Polge said he wanted to capture a fresh, natural feeling with Always in Bloom, and that's just what he's done: this is an airy spring-like floral, very feminine, with mild green accents. The lily of the valley, as is often the case, is strongest in the opening; the dry down is more of a blended floral. The base is pale; vetiver and iris are listed in the notes, but it's more clean than earthy. Happily for me, it isn't so clean as to smell like air freshener.
It isn't, admittedly, the sort of fragrance to excite perfumistas, and my interest in it is entirely provincial: I happen to live near Longwood Gardens. Still, it's quite pretty, and if you're after a more-pretty-than-interesting lily of the valley at a reasonable cost, it's worth a shot.
Longwood Gardens Always in Bloom is available in 100 ml Eau de Parfum for $70, and can be found at the Longwood Gardens gift store.