Save the Peonies! It's Floral Friday!

This morning, in a deluge of rain with flood watches sounding on AccuWeather, I ran outside in my rain boots and PJs with a pair of snips in my hand.

I had to rescue my poor, beautiful peonies before they turned to mush in the rain.

Sadly, I was too late for some of them--their petals already scattered by the storm. But I wiped the rain from my eyes and gently lifted water-laden blossoms bent to the ground, careful to remove a few ants before running inside with my soggy harvest.

After all, I needed those blossoms for Floral Friday!

So, yes--I cheated a bit and prepared my bouquet a day early. It's probably the most simplistic bouquet I've created yet, because honestly? I was wet, cold, and unwilling to search the garden for additions to the arrangement with thunder crashing around me.

Just a pitcher full of peonies--the fragrance is amazing.

Besides, sometimes less is more, I think--especially during a thunderstorm.

This is the first year that the peonies produced well. Perhaps it's due to our extremely cold winter. In fact, I'm fairly certain that's why, as peonies really need a good chill to encourage blossoms. Also, I added five new varieties last fall. I was surprised to see the amount of blooms during their first season--and happy! I adore peonies, and I've always hoped we'd have a decent show so that I could use them in bouquets.

(I'm also hoping they'll continue to produce well next week, so that I'll have some to harvest for the rehearsal dinner on Friday. Fingers crossed!)

Not only did I cheat for Floral Friday, but knowing that today's weather forecast didn't bode well for my non-waterproof camera, I also photographed our garden a day early for Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day, hosted by May Dreams Gardens.

Am I forgiven?

May is an amazing month. While April may well be my favorite month in the garden due to the tulips, emerging bleeding hearts, and Dutch iris, May begins transitioning into the serious business of the summer garden. Yes, we still see some spring lovelies:

But now, we can assess what survived our unusally frigid South Carolina winter. Lantana? Whew, lots of growth emerging. Azaleas?

Wow, the buds are popping after all. Creeping fig? Looks rough, but there's new growth emerging. Gardenias? We'll play a wait-and-see game with them. Perhaps there are some hidden buds there. I hope.

The blooms become serious, with every day a new experience in the garden:

May is also the time we begin transitioning our containers and edible gardens.

Violas and pansies are lanky and tired--time to hit the garden center and create new combinations!

The potager still retains its cool season crops and flowers, but soon we'll harvest and incorporate the summer crops.

The large kitchen garden is a riot of peas, garlic, and strawberries, while several beds are newly planted with tomatoes, peppers, herbs, and other warm-season crops. When we harvest the garlic and the peas quit producing, those beds will be planted with more tomatoes and peppers.

The herbs continue to provide a lovely show of blooms: chives, valerian, sage...

Although I adore searching the woods for native blooms, I'm afraid this is the year of Japanese honeysuckle. As much as I love its blooms and fragrance, this invasive species is wrecking havoc in our forest. The vines are everywhere, and it seems that for as many as I pull, twice as many return. I'm working hard to find a solution.

Why can the forest be filled with our lovely native honeysuckle instead? Sigh...

Wishing you a lovely Floral Friday and Bloom Day! Will you play along today and create something lovely from your garden to share? If you do, please post a photo on the Garden Delights Facebook page, or if you use Instagram, tag your photo with #FloralFriday. I'd love to be inspired by your creations!

Happy Friday!