Observations in May

May is a month that signals the blossoming of a new season. Oh, I know that spring officially begins in March, and summer officially begins in June, but May always has brought the promise of reliably mild weather and a few solid weeks of lily-of-the-valley blooms. Roses, mid- to late-spring bulbs, the first of the summer perennials; all usher in a long season of color. Plus, we celebrate Mother’s Day and Memorial Day, two occasions that call for flowers and planting a tree or shrub in a loved one’s memory. I’m looking for another dogwood. Any recommendations?

An American icon; an All-American rose

An American pop culture icon passed in April, and although normally I wouldn’t call attention to a celebrity or his passing, it’s a fitting time to do so. Each May we highlight the winners of the All-America Rose Selections evaluations, an American tradition for more than 70 years. One of the winning roses for the year 2011 was Dick Clark (Rosa WEKfunk), a beautiful, cream and cherry-blushed grandiflora hybridized by Tom Carruth and Christian Bédard for Weeks Roses.

Rosa Dick Clark
Photo courtesy of Weeks Roses

When Dick Clark – the person – passed a few weeks ago, it might not have been a shock; he was 82 and had been struggling with health issues for some time. (Hmmm … I feel the need here to acknowledge, reluctantly, that some younger readers may not be familiar; suffice to say Dick Clark was Dick Clark long before Ryan Seacrest dreamed of becoming Dick Clark.) But he left a legacy of hard work and support for young, up-and-coming artists. And thanks to Weeks, a rose named in his honor.

While I’m on the subject, anyone out there willing to name a rose for Dan Fogelberg? He wrote and sang “Run for the Roses,” you know. Now, I know it’s actually a song about the Kentucky Derby, but c’mon … seems like a good fit.

Let’s be careful out there

If you’re reading this, you work in the green industry. And if you work in the green industry, you spend time outdoors. A lot of time outdoors. In fact, if you’ve chosen this field for your career, you probably were the kid who spent more time outdoors than in, and so you’ve accumulated a lifetime of exposure to fresh air – and to the sun. Good for Vitamin D, but it also puts you at increased risk for skin cancer.

May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month, and it’s as good a time as any to make prevention a regular part of your safety routine. Prevention can be as simple as slathering on some sunscreen and covering up, but for most of us, it goes a bit deeper. If you haven’t already done so, visit a dermatologist to get a baseline exam. And for more information, you might want to visit a couple of websites: http://www.skincancer.org/ and http://www.cdc.gov/Features/SkinCancer/.