Happy May Day!

Friday, May 1st, 2009 by Jenny Watts
    • Feed roses to encourage a beautiful display of color later this month. Treat plants to prevent insect and disease problems.
    • Plant the vegetable garden this month, but remember that late frosts can still nip tender young plants. “Season Starter” protects against frost damage and promotes earlier harvest.
    • Flowering dogwood trees are blooming now to help you choose a beautiful small tree for a focal point in your garden.
    • It’s time to put out oriole feeders. You can also attract them with fresh orange halves.
    • Colorful Gerberas with their large, daisy flowers are a standout in containers. Water them infrequently and give them plenty of sun for flowers all summer.

Flowers for May Day

May Day is all about enjoying flowers and the beauty of nature. The sweetness of spring is most evident in May. It’s the perfect time to celebrate with some special flowers.

May Day was originally the day on which the ancient Romans honored Flora, the goddess of flowers. Roman art of the period shows her walking around the landscape scattering flowers as she goes. When Romans arrived in Britain, May Day took on some of the local Celtic customs as well. The May pole, which was decorated with garlands and flowers, played a key role in May Day celebrations.

Gathering flowers and branches became a tradition and “bringing in the May” became a popular activity on May 1st. The giving of May baskets are a nice tradition. Make a flower-filled basket and tie a bow or ribbon streamers onto the handle and fasten it to the door handle of a friend.

May is indeed a glorious month in the garden. We start out with the fragrant blooms of lilacs wafting through the air and wisteria, draping the trellis with her lavender flowers. Then we are greeted by the spectacular azaleas and rhododendrons that burst into bloom after a few warm days. The camellias are still covered with their perfect pink, white or red flowers.

Dogwood trees light up the shady woodland garden, their simple blossoms reminding one of butterflies, at a distance.

Cherry trees will be blooming before long with pink or white flowers in profusion. Their many varieties include upright ‘Kwanzan’, with its puffy pink flowers, and weeping forms with pale pink blossoms that cascade to the ground.

Flowering pear trees will soon put on their spring show with billows of white blossoms. Crabapple trees continue to brighten the landscape with their colorful flowers in every shade of pink.

Clematis vines with large, showy flowers will grace trellises in many gardens. Their blooms are real show-stoppers when they cover a trellis in front of the house. And snowball bushes will soon be covered with masses of white flower clusters.

Lovely bleeding hearts are now nodding their heads in the shade garden. Bright white candytuft is covered with masses of flowers that attract butterflies. Columbine will soon be blooming and attracting hummingbirds to their colorful blossoms. And irises will bloom this month in almost every color combination imaginable.

Sweet violets are a favorite ground cover in semi-shady places. They spread happily around the garden. The little flowers of Tiny Rubies dianthus add their charm to the border. And happy pansies bob their smiling faces in the breeze.

May is a gift from the flower world to all of us flower lovers. Happy May Day!