Hello, May!

Hello, again!

It’s May Day!!

Is May Day still a thing? I remember in grade school at Jesse Hunter Black Elementary School we had May Day festivities. The school's flagpole, turned into the May Day pole, was where students would circle around. For May Day, the pole had ribbon streamers attached at the top. We’d weave the streamers over and under creating this artistic masterpiece which I hope is still a tradition today (honoring all the students that attended Black in the 60’s of course!)

I also remember doing a kind of ‘reverse trick or treat’ with the neighbors on May Day. I remember this with my next-door neighbors, the Sumners: We’d cut irises, peonies, bleeding hearts and whatever else was in bloom to create a bouquet, put it on their front porch, ring the doorbell and run. I’m certain they never knew who placed the flowers on their door!!

May Day goes back to Celtic days. It was halfway between the spring equinox and summer solstice. Like most holidays of the era, May Day had its roots in agriculture. The festive holiday was filled with song, dance, and I’m sure food and beverage after the spring crops had been sown, cattle returned to pasture and the doors of houses colorfully decorated with spring flowers.

With a low of 37 degrees not too long ago, I’d venture to say that it’s finally a good time to plant any of your summer annuals that give us so much color all summer long. Last week we delivered and installed the colorful succulent planters on the patios of Wichita Brewing Company and The Monarch in Delano at the roundabout clock tower. While we refresh the succulents at the breweries each spring, this year at the Monarch we also removed the crabapples and sumac that had been in planters for several years. Jeremy suggested to Jen that we go with tropical plants instead. With several species of palms, bougainvillea, and mandevilla surrounded by summer color annuals, it sure gives the patio a new look.

Don’t forget perennials as you are selecting plants for the garden and containers. I know I sometimes overlook perennials as colorful options in containers. With their brightly colored leaves, hosta, coral bells and other perennials will give your containers a different look - and then you can install them in the garden in the fall!

In the future I’ll miss seeing Greg Hephner at Hephner TV. We planted and installed the large planters on their balcony for summer color. Greg passed away peacefully on February 21, 2024, just six weeks after receiving a glioblastoma diagnosis. Greg died too young, but he lived his 59 years fully and passionately. He was energetic, intelligent, creative, and diligent—accomplishing much in his short years, producing eternal fruit, and giving 100 percent to everything he did. I wish now that I got to know Greg better.

Life is short my friends; take care of yourselves, make the best of your relationships and don’t work too much.

Your friend in the garden,

Marty Johnson
Owner - Johnson's Garden Centers