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Wednesday, May 1, 2024

Flowers for May Day

Do people still secretly give flowers for May Day any more? This is a fond memory from my childhood. 

My mother helped us make cones out of construction paper and tape, then we'd cut flowers from our yard for the cones. Afterward, we girls delighted in leaving these make-shift baskets on neighbors' front porches. While leaving flowers on doorsteps was beginning to fall out of favor in my childhood, it was a happy tradition that my sister, best friend, and I looked forward to each May 1.

Anyway, my husband cut a sprig of rhododendron for me this morning when I was out, leaving it in a small glass bottle on the kitchen table.

Here are some of my other happy flower moments from the day, some more frugal than others.

Marigolds that I grew from seeds collected from last year's marigolds, which were grown from seeds that I collected from the previous year's marigolds, which were purchased from the store. Never ceases to amaze me that I can collect my own seeds for planting flowers the next year.

More flower plants, just no blossoms. These are petunia plants that I grew from seeds that I collected from 2023's flowers, which were grown from seeds I called from 2022's flowers, which were flowers that I collected from 2021's flowers, which I bought at the store in 2021. With petunia's you really never know what you're going to get. I began with solid red, white and dark purple flowers in 2021. So far I've had dark pink, violet, dark purple, white, striped, solid, and spotted blossoms. I wonder what they will be this year?

I added Creeping Jenny to my hanging baskets of begonias on the front porch. I'm getting a lot of blossoms on the begonias already.  Creeping Jenny does flower, so I'm hoping I can collet seeds in late summer to start my own plants next year.

This is the beginning of my container lavender garden. I love lavender. My whole family knows I love lavender. My son and daughter-in-law gave me this planter for my birthday specifically for lavender. My daughters gave me 3 tiny lavender plants, as well. This English lavender plant was a tiny one three years ago and needed a new space this year. I've used marble chips as mulch on the soil surface. I love the look of lavender against white, both the pot and the rocks. 

I bought the marble chips in a large bag (50-lb) at Home Depot in the outdoor garden and landscaping section for $6.47. They also sell smaller white rocks for indoor plants in the house plant section in 5-lb bags for $6.78 each. I knew I would need several of the smaller bags if I wanted to put a white rock mulch on top of my soil in all of these pots (which will be 5, in total), so I went for the larger landscape bag of marble chips. Rock or gravel mulch is recommended for lavender plants to aid in combatting humidity.

Here's a small English lavender plant that I bought last year. It's needing a larger pot, as well. I'm working on that pot this afternoon. More to come on that.

And then I have the 3 tiny lavender plants that I'll pot in a few days. There aren't any lavender blossoms on any of these plants right now. Their fragrant leaves will have to tide me over until early summer when they bud and bloom.

Are May Day flower baskets a part of you childhood memories? Did you mark today with flowers in any way?

Happy May Day, friends! If I could, I would leave a May Day basket or cone on each of your doorsteps.


  1. I have never heard of the Mother's Day baskets, but what a nice idea. It looks like you plants are a little ahead of ours, but we are getting quite a show all the same with the spring flowers.

    1. Hi Live and Learn,
      The spring flowers are such a mood-booster, aren't they? Enjoy the show!

  2. I've heard of May Day flower cones, but I've never seen it done. It sounds like a fun way to spread cheer--perhaps we should revive it?

    1. Hi Kris,
      The May Day flower cones/baskets were something my mother remembered from her own childhood. At my mother's suggestion, we primarily gave these to the older/senior citizen residents in our neighborhood. My mother thought this would bring a smile to their faces.

      In researching the topic, I discovered that it was not only flowers that were put into the cones, but homemade treats as well. It seems like this would be a nice custom to revive, if we weren't all so busy in our lives these days.

  3. In Hawaii, May Day is Lei Day, though that tradition is mostly celebrated in primary grade schools these days. As children, we staged a big production for our parents, dressing in Aloha attire and of course leis, singing and dancing around a May pole. We watched our grandson's school May Day Program on video a few years ago. when he was in grade school. Another tradition that lost its way is Aloha Friday. It was a big deal when I was in school that we could wear long muumuus and Aloha shirts instead of dresses and dress shirts, every Friday. Hardly anyone wears muumuu at all these days.

    Lovely flowers in your garden!! We don't grow any flowers. We were sent complimentary flower seeds in the mail and my husband said it didn't grow. He also has a mindset that if he can't eat it he doesn't want to waste watering it. I guess the seeds had read his mind.

    Have a beautiful day,

    1. Hi Laura,
      What lovely memories! Thanks for sharing with us.

      I remember muumuus still being worn in the 1960s in California. My mother sewed a couple for herself. When I was 9 years old, my parents made a house swap for vacation with the grandparents of one of my friends. The grandparents lived on Kauai. So we stayed in their house for a week, and they stayed in our house for a week. My mother bought a large amount of red and white fabric with a Hawaiian floral motif and sewed a muumuu for herself, matching aloha shirts for my father and brother, and a short dress each for my sister and I. Yep, we were that tourist family that dressed in matching clothing! As funny as that all sounds, I think of that vacation with great fondness. And also, I wish muumuus would come back in style for all women. They look so comfortable!

    2. Thank you for sharing your fond childhood memories staying in Kauai. I think it's cute to all wear matching muumuus and shirts. It's definitely a fun tourist thing!!


  4. We always did May baskets when I was a kid. We didn’t do flowers, we did candy and popcorn usually. I remember going out with the wagon delivering them to houses. We thought it was so fun because we’d ring the doorbell and run lol. When my kids were little we made them until we moved here. Most of their friends didn’t know what May Day is.


    1. Hi Diane,
      What wonderful memories! As I mentioned above to Kris, in reading about May Day baskets, I discovered that homemade treats were often used or added in the cones or baskets. I hadn't known that. Perhaps because I lived where weather allowed flowers year round (So. California), flower cones were the item of choice. I also recall the secrecy about delivering them, by ringing the doorbell then hiding behind bushes to watch the recipient find the cones on the doorstep.

      Thanks for going down memory lane with me!


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