Random Gifts of Flowers | PITH + VIGOR by Rochelle Greayer

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4/29/2021

Random Gifts of Flowers

Do you have childhood memories of May Day? I do.

My husband does too – though he had completely forgotten about them until I asked.

And all he could remember was that it had to do with flowers.

I had to reminded him that it was the May 1st holiday where you did ‘ding-dong-ditch’ but also left flowers on the doorstep so the neighbors wouldn’t get mad.

Yes, then the memories all came flooding back.

This was a thing it seemed you could only get away with in preschool and early elementary school – but then had to stop before becoming a teenager – lest you be thought of as a ‘hoodlum’.

It strikes me as edit this post, how many fun words I get to use.

Ding-dong-ditch (synonym for Nicky nicky nine doors – depnding on where you are from).

Hoodlum. (awesome word)

And you should see what they call the basic ‘knock and run’ in some other countries…
(warning: more wacky words ahead)

My local conservation group left baby amelanchier trees on doorsteps around our town last week.

They didn’t ring the door bell though… it must have been more of a creepy drop and sneak away sort of thing.

It was apparently adults – risking capture in an effort to encourage people to plant more native understory trees.

Very noble.

I grew up in Denver in the 70’s and I suspect we were on the outskirts of regions where turn-of-the-century innocence kid fun (like May Day) was still kinda of normal.

But I also lived in the suburbs and opening your door to strange or unexpected knocks had started to become associated with some pretty horrific stories.

I once remember my parents letting an actual vacuum cleaner sales person come into our house.

And then they even bought the thing.
It looked like a brown R2-D2 but it had water in the bottom that caught all the dirt and it was truly disgusting.
Also, I think it doubled as a humidifier.
Weird times.

Looking back – I can see how May Day Knick Knocking with flowers was doomed.

I’ve been working with the The European Flower Council – The organization behind flowerbulbs.com (this content is sponsored by them). Their mission is simple – to encourage and promote growing more bulbs.

Over the last 6 months I’ve been experimenting with all sorts of new bulbs and trying out ideas in my garden.

I can’t wait to see what is about to spring forth in early summer. Outside of the typical spring bulbs (daffodils, tulips, crocus, hyacinth, etc). I’ve only grown a few other types.


Ok, so I have an allium addiction. So what.

New to me this year are eremurus, crocosmia, gladiolas and lilies of all sorts (I did not fully realize how many exciting colors, shapes, and sizes there are!)

Not only does my garden have many new micro-seasons of blooms that I am already realizing, but I am truly surprising myself with how many more plants I can add to areas I previously thought of as ‘full’.

This is one of the joys of embracing naturalistic planting styles and plants that you can layer.

There is so much more room for things you never thought possible – hundreds and even thousands of bulbs can be easily added to existing beds and nothing else has to move or change.

And there is no downside – only that you suddenly have flowers in times you previously missed.

And also less area for weeds to take hold.

I was googling around for May Day ideas and I was shocked when I came across this May Day Library of Congress photo.

I HAVE TWO OF THOSE ELENORE ROOSEVELT BASKETS IN MY BARN!
Mine are old (probably the same age as the one in the picture). They were antiques when I brought them home from my grandmas ranch over 20 years ago when she passed away.


I’ve never used them for anything. I’ve always associated them with funerals and felt uninspired to fill them.


But now I see that they are actually giant May Day baskets!

Who knew?

A cloak of morbidity has been throw off and I’m suddenly excited to do something with them.

I’ve decided to jump on board with a hashtag campaign started by the creative agency Cereal. #BringbackMayday – it’s concept is simple… Support your local businesses, be kind and spread neighborly love – no matter the distance.

I’ve got a #bringbackmayday inspired giveaway going on over on instagram – jump over there to enter. This is what you can win:

You can win  25 Lilium ‘Black List”  – Enter on my instagram post with this picture

A couple days ago, I got warmed up for the impending May 1st holiday with a little late April flower bombing.

I showed up with a trunkful (ok it was just a box in the trunk and it was only half full) of flowery gifts for my walking buddies.

flower bouquets in the back of a mini
Random gifts of flowers delivered unexpectedly.


I swear – even modest flower bundles have a way of expanding in our minds to something more grand.

It really doesn’t take much (this is one lily stem, about 5 other bulb stems picked from the garden, and a couple branches of wax flower filler).

May Day bouquets of fresh cut yellow lilies, daffodils and tulips.


It was fun to surprise them with bunches of pretty yellow blooms – and they were genuinely appreciated.

My garden is particularly full of of spring flowers this year after adding hundreds of new bulbs last fall.


I am pleased to see that my efforts to fill in holes, expand design intentions, beef things up and generally make areas that seemed randomly put together, seem more purposeful, has all worked.

I’ll share my tips for strategizing your fall bulb planting in another post next week. (Hint – Do it now – don’t wait until later when you can’t see what is going on).


I am so inspired by successes that I’m planning to add lots more again this fall. It only took a little organization on my part.

Bottom line, I’ve got blooms and I’m ready to do my part to bring back May Day. My new garden goal is to be able to always have supplies on hand for whenever I am struck by a need for random gifts of flowers.

May day flower bouquets on my front doorstep.

P.S. In hindsight – I am slightly perturbed by my own lazy inclination to have run off to my nearest home goods store to find a vessel for my flower gifts. The summery plastic cocktail shakers and supplies are fine, but I’d hate to see this become yet one more misguided mechanism to clutter each others lives with junk we don’t need. So this weekend, I think I’ll resort back to something simpler – like a paper cup – or better yet, I’ve got some compostable seed starting pots that I didn’t use this year. They are perfect nosegay holders. (nosegay – another good word!)

Also – Planters make pretty pots for posies. 😉

And, don’t get fussy with your tussie-mussie…it is truly the thought that counts. (I’ll stop now)

I also gave a bag of beautiful Bald Eagle Lilies (Lilium ‘Bald Eagle’) – a very pretty double flowering red/purple bloom that gets to be over 3.5′ tall!
Lilium ‘Bald Eagle’

P.P.S. I also included some bags of bulbs in the bottom of the cup – for my recipients to plant in their own gardens. Flowers for now and in the future! So if you want to spread some flower love… and you don’t actually have flowers… you can always give the promise of flowers and it might even be better.

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