There are no rules for May baskets; they can be filled with whatever ingredients come to mind. Usually, however, they are an ode to the sudden botanical explosion appearing everywhere. Gardeners tend to take the opportunity to celebrate the sudden rush of wildflowers filling the fields while also accessing garden blossoms popping up. Rather than flowers usually found in florist shops, columbines, daffodils, bleeding hearts, ranunculus, daisies, dianthus, candytufts, and pansies serve as the usual suspects when pulling together a May basket. You can pluck anything that is plentiful, but keep in mind the rules of conscientious gathering from the wild. Harvest only where flowers are plentiful, never deplete nature, and walk softly.
Baskets are made for wannabe bouquet artisans with no experience. The process is simplicity itself: take a basket (or whatever you can lay hands on), fit it with a paper cup or anything that will hold water, fill it halfway with water, and then tuck in the blossoms, cutting the stems very short to form a tight mound. If you’re all thumbs when it comes to arranging, try the trick of holding the blossoms steady by installing a base of foliage first, like coral bells, foamflower, lungwort, or other handsome leafy harbingers of spring. Tuck in some woody branches bristling with apple blossoms, forsythia flowers, and lilacs. Celebrate the newly sprouted season with whatever strikes your fancy. (There is no harm in slipping in some candy and seed packets as well!) May baskets are spring’s rollicking present to a lucky recipient, all tied up in a bow.