May Day!

The earth laughs in flowers.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson


At the end of a long day, after I tuck my littlest son into his bed, he begins to laugh. At first, it is funny “pretend” laughter because he is self-aware of how irresistible his toddler charms are at prolonging bedtime. Looking at his squinched up eyes and hearing his giggles, I can’t help but laugh. Then, his fake laughter turns real, and we end the day by offering up a harmony of happiness to God for the blessing of love and sweetness and now.

Spring is like that. Oh, that it would be prolonged . . . this “earth laughing in flowers!” After a long winter, it starts with just a hint of a smile, but soon those tightly closed buds explode into belly laughter. The earth must have a stitch in her side from laughing so hard right now.

We’ve celebrated Easter, and the temperatures are beginning to rise, but we can hold on to springtime bliss a little longer. This Thursday, May 1st, is May Day! It is an under-celebrated holiday, but ever since my mother-in-law gave me a copy of Let’s Make a Memory, which, among other “memories,” explains how to celebrate May Day with your children, it has become one of my favorite yearly traditions.

Perhaps May Day conjures pictures of beribboned girls around a Maypole. Although I do revel in that image, that is not what a May Day with my two little boys entails. Instead, we take a trip to the local nursery and buy a few four-inch pots of heat-loving annuals to give to our neighbors. The boys have fun knocking on the neighbors’ doors, blessing them with a plant that will continue to flower in their flower bed all summer, and wishing them, “Happy May Day!”

big orange pumpkin farm 2013 045

This burlap “basket,” adorned with a lace doily, was fashioned by my creative Aunt Debbie.

If you want to be very traditional, you can give cut flowers or wild flowers in a construction paper “basket.” (The lovely ones pictured on A Field Journal are inspirational!) Hang the basket over your neighbor’s doorknob, knock, and hide in the bushes. When the neighbor peeks round the door, jump up and shout, “Happy May Day!”

If you live in the South and would like to bless your neighbors with growing flowers this Thursday, here are a few suggestions they can plant in the sun now and enjoy all summer:

profusion zinnia (white), blue daze (blue), and dianthus (pink and white)

profusion zinnia (white), blue daze (blue), and dianthus (pink and white)

Blue daze (evolvulus): This plant is great for hanging baskets too! (Blue flowers!)

Profusion zinnias (Ivory, orange, pink, and yellow blooms)

Dianthus (many shades of pink flowers accented with white):  This is a fantastic spring bloomer that will most likely stop flowering in the heat of the summer, but often they overwinter and surprise you with blooms the next spring!

Supertunias! Not all petunias are hardy enough to withstand Texas heat, but Supertunias are! I’m in love with the pale pink “silverberry” Supertunia! I’ve also planted a dark pink variety.

silverberry Supertunia

silverberry Supertunia

Cora vinca: This is a fabulous summer bloomer.  If you buy “cora” vinca, it won’t succumb to the disease that often plagues other vinca.  (Light pink, dark pink, purple, or white flowers)

cora vinca

cora vinca

If any of you gardeners have other suggestions, I’d love to hear them. I’m always on the lookout for beautiful plants with lots of inner strength. 🙂