Happy May Day!

Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul.  ~ Luther Burbank

My birthday is on Valentine’s Day, which is probably the most expensive day of the year to purchase flowers. I tend to be pretty sensible, so I have always discouraged Brad from sending me flowers for my birthday. Somehow that extended to flowers on Mother’s Day and flowers on my wedding anniversary (New Year’s Day) as well. Basically, I talked myself right out of flowers altogether. I’m okay with that until I read something like Luther Burbank’s quote and realize that it holds a lot of truth!

For my garden, flowers take a practical, two-fold approach. My first objective is to deter pests. Farmers and gardeners have long known that marigolds make important companion plants all over the garden. Near tomatoes and other key vegetables, marigolds repel nematodes (microscopic worms) and other pests. Nasturtiums, on the other hand, attract hoverflies, which will destroy aphids. You’ll find both of these flowers in my garden beds. I transplanted the marigolds, but I am attempting to start the nasturtiums from seed. The general information on nasturtiums says that the seed size is easy to handle and they almost always germinate. I’m optimistic.

The second objective for having flowers in my garden is to attract pollinators. In the coming years, I hope to add a bee colony and a couple of butterfly habitats to my yard, but for now I need to attract bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds the old-fashioned way: flowers. Sure, marigolds draw bees, but I need something a little more exciting upon which to feast my eyes. I’ve started with three hanging baskets, each featuring a different pollinator blend: Precious Pollinators, Save The Bees, and Hummingbird Haven. The varied flowers include sunflowers, cosmos, black-eyed susan, zinnia, aster, purple coneflower, phlox, foxglove, and at least a dozen others. I’m expecting a gorgeous array.

All this writing about flowers brings me back to the concept of May Day. The ancient Celts called it “Beltane”—the day halfway between spring and summer. Back in simpler times, people celebrated May Day with a charming tradition: they would gather flowers and treats, wrap them in pretty paper, and then hang them on the doors of friends and neighbors. The anonymous gesture was delivered ding-dong-ditch style and was a sweet way to delight your friends and welcome warmer weather. Truly, my taste in flowers is rather simple. If I happen to find a gerbera daisy on my front door today, I will consider it the perfect treat.

If you’re the giver or receiver of a May Day celebration today, please share a photo with me. #Patch405

pollinator blends

The pollinator blends I used in my hanging baskets.

pollinator seedlings in handing baskets

Pollinator seedlings.

marigolds

Transplanted marigolds.

4 thoughts on “Happy May Day!

  1. To be fair, every Father’s Day you point out that I’m not your Father, so from you I get nada. I thought the same applied on Mother’s Day. Clearly I need to reevaluate my thinking.

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