Get Mom some flowers. Run out and find one of those ephemeral spring apparitions called a plant tent and get some beautiful flowers for Mom. Then go out the next day and see if you can’t swing a deal for a mess of the leftover Mother’s Day plants to score for your own garden.

Enjoy the purples. They don’t always get the same attention as the reds and pinks and yellows, but they’re blooming and deserve to be noticed. I was astounded when I started to list all of the purples and blues to see now: Wisteria, tulips, lunaria, vinca, wild geraniums, azaleas, lilac, Jacob’s ladder, Dame’s rocket, salvia, ajuga, iris, clematis, columbine.

Go smell a holly. Right now many of the hollies are blooming; you probably didn’t even realize that they bloom — the flowers are almost visually insignificant. But follow the cue (or queue) of the hundreds of bees swarming the shrubs right now — they smell absolutely spectacular. Be careful, though, if you decide to stick your nose into one, since a) the leaves have spikes on the edges, and b) the aforementioned bees.

Plant ... anything. This is that awkward time when it’s almost too late to plant your cool-season crops like lettuce, spinach, and root crops like radishes and turnips, and almost too early to plant your warm-season crops like tomatoes, beans, and squash. So, go ahead and stick whatever you want into the ground. There are no plant police out there to stop you, and I no longer care if the soil is warm enough. You’ll put your stuff in now, I’ll put mine down in two weeks, and we’ll both get tomatoes on the same day.

Sally McCabe is associate director of community education at the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society ( and winner of the AHS Great American Gardener Jane L. Taylor award.