May 1, 2016

Happy May Basket Day


 "Such a twanging of bells and rapping of knockers; such a scampering of feet in the dark; such droll collisions as boys came racing round corners, or girls ran into one another's arms as they crept up and down steps on the sly; such laughing, whistling, flying about of flowers and friendly feeling—it was almost a pity that May-day did not come oftener."    
From the 1880 children's book JACK AND JILL by Louisa May Alcott 

I have two thoughts on this post. One: it was intended to be my Friday segment on 4 YOUR GARDEN yesterday, but the entire 4:30 show was dedicated to coverage of yesterday's storms. (Those affected are in our thoughts and prayers and hearts). The 'mock-up' I composed for the show was all in white and green... from flowers and foliage from my garden (deutzia, white nandina berry buds, yarrow, rosemary, twiggy vine of Carolina Jasmine and gray dusty miller, sedum foliage and lamb's ear.)


A sweet composition that I would have then 'May Day-ed' Linda C. with, given her penchant for white. I think this is such a dear tradition and I am so sorry it has fallen out of fashion. For more history, pictures and tidbits about this charming ritual, go to NPR's History of May Basket Day article, a fascinating look back at this tender custom, and 


the source of the picture above. (Don't you just love it? Wonder what the three of them are thinking...?)


At any rate, I wanted to do my part in resurrecting this spring practice by telling you about it in my KFOR gardening segment...giving you a couple of days to prepare and execute. Ah well....


But my second thought is that this project is so simple, and requires so little in the way of supplies, that you can no doubt throw it together with whatever container and flowers you have on hand, in very little time...and certainly without my instruction. :)  You'll need:




* Something to hold your small bouquet.  I used small linen and burlap bags (about a dollar per) from Target. I liked their organic vibe..and the cinch ribbon at the top to draw it closed around the bouquet, and also to hang on the door. But a mason jar with wire or ribbon would work; paper cones; chinese takeout containers, and on and on. Oh, or a small basket with handle. DUH.




















*Flowers and foliage from the garden, of course...preferably with fragrance...interesting texture and colors. If you have nothing blooming in your garden now, just use foliage and a blossom or two from your florist or grocer...or neighbor.


* Small plastic watertight bags...I used portion-size snack bags, two per arrangement; rubber bands, absorbent paper towels, and


* a charming, color-coordinated (but of course...) tag for your expression of affection. (I attached a drying seed head from a hellebore flower to the tag as an added flourish..)



How To Assemble: Simply make a hand held bouquet, or tussle-mussie, in a pleasing arrangement. If it is going to be hanging on a door knob or door knocker, only the front of the arrangement will really need your attention. Remove all foliage from the bottom of the stems, which you will then cut to an appropriate length for your container of choice. 

Rubber band the arrangement together, then wrap these stems in moistened paper towel. Secure with another rubber band, then place in a snack bag. Secure the top of the bag around the bouquet, then insert this bag into a second snack bag to contain any excess dribbles.

If necessary, add a cushion of crumpled paper or plastic at the bottom of the linen/burlap bag to make sure the bouquet flows just out of the top. Cinch the bag, attach the note card...


then hang on the Object of Your Affection's door.



Make multiples...deliver anonymously, or with great fanfare....


to a child, a sick friend, your mother-in-law, a grumpy co-worker, someone in a nursing home...


ANYONE who will appreciate the delightful gesture... 


                                        and your thoughtfulness.


HAPPY MAY BASKET DAY my dears! 



Today's Takeaway Tip:  Brighten someone's day by taking just a bit of time to be a child again and May Day someone you care about. Better yet, get a child to do it with you, and experience this lovely May tiding through a child's eyes. No time today? Don't limit your gesture to just one day......let's call it May Basket Week, shall we?

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