May Day, May Day

“Plant your container working from the inside to the outside of the pot thinking in order of planting, ‘focal, filler, edger, trailer.’”


by Rick Vuyst

It’s ironic that mayday is an emergency word used internationally as a distress signal in radio communications. It is ironic because the arrival of the first day of May is a celebration of flowers and spring. May Day was historically celebrated on May 1 by early European settlers in North America. Most commonly, they celebrated with “May baskets” filled with flowers or treats; the giver leaves a basket at someone’s doorstep, rings the bell and runs away. The person receiving the basket tries to catch the fleeing giver; if caught, a kiss is exchanged (good idea to wear your track shoes that day!).

Today, the arrival of May usually means the last frost days are passing and tender flowering plants can be enjoyed in our gardens and landscapes. Mother’s day is a weekend to give and receive flowers to celebrate both Mom and the promise of a new gardening season. Later in May as we celebrate the Memorial Day holiday, plants and flowers play a big role in remembrance as well as our home gardening enjoyment.

Reap the benefits of colorful flowers for the entire span of sunshine months by creating a colorful container garden. With the aid of modern plant breeding, it’s easy to grow flowering plants that bloom longer, brighter and more reliably than the blooms enjoyed years ago. Dahlias, pansies, gerbera daisies, calibrachoa, coleus and petunias are great examples of how we have come a long way. Container gardening popularity has driven the development of dependable, continuous blooming and colorful plants that you can enjoy all summer long in your little corner of the world.

An easy container to design is a mono-culture container. Choose a single variety for your container along with an attractive container. Next mono-color combinations use two different shades of a color, but because you are using the same color you don’t have to worry about the colors clashing, for they blend in shades. Analogous colors are next to each other on the color wheel and mix together easily. These can be effective and very colorful combinations of pink and red, pink and orange (a favorite of mine), yellow and orange, orange and red, violet and red, blue and green, and blue-violet. My favorite approach is using complimentary colors. On a color wheel, complimentary colors are directly opposite of each other; for example, red and green, orange and blue, or yellow and violet.

ImpressionFinally, you might want to try your hand at a three-way combination color scheme called a triple play or a triad. This combination uses three colors that are spaced equally on the color wheel (the points of a triangle). Examples would be a red-yellow-blue or violet-orange-green combination. Get creative and try a red-yellow-blue or pink-yellow-blue triangle combination, too!

Lastly, remember these two quick pointers for your May Day combinations: 1) remember that pink is a great color to include because it plays well with almost any color including orange and red; and 2) for best success, plant your container working from the inside to the outside of the pot thinking in order of planting, “focal, filler, edger, trailer.”

Rick Vuyst 090313

Rick Vuyst is CEO of Flowerland, host of the Flowerland Show on NewsRadio WOOD 1300 and 106.9 FM as well as Mr. Green Thumb on WZZM TV 13.




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