By Mary Heyl

Memorial Day is fast approaching, the weekend after which most gardeners in Cattaraugus County wait to get their spring flowers, due to early May’s lingering frosts (and even snow showers!). But with Mother’s Day and Memorial Day right around the corner, you may be planning to buy your blooms now—and you don’t have to wait! With the right tips and tricks, plus the beautiful selections of flowers in local greenhouses, you can proceed with confidence, whether you have a green thumb or not.

Mother’s Day is almost here! Thinking about getting Mom a few hanging baskets for her special day? If so, Pleasant Valley Greenhouse of Olean has a few tips for you.

Although June 5 is the ideal day to start putting hanging baskets outside, there are lots of ways to make sure hanging baskets purchased in May stay beautiful and thrive. Of course, hanging baskets will not survive inside for a month; however, on nights when the temperature dips below 45 degrees, it is recommended that hanging baskets are brought inside and put outside again on nice days.

When it comes to watering needs, Pleasant Valley compares hanging baskets to humans: on hot, sunny days, they need more water, and on cool, rainy days, they need less. Watering your basket in the morning is ideal, but watering in the evening, depending on one’s work schedule, may be more convenient. Regardless of when you water your basket, take care to water the soil and not get the foliage wet, as foliage diseases can develop if the leaves stay wet all night.

Visit Pleasant Valley’s website at for more helpful tips on everything from deer-resistant shrubbery to poinsettias. They are now open for the season from 9 am. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Located at 2871 Route 16 North in Olean, Pleasant Valley Greenhouse invites you to check out their great variety of hanging baskets, annuals and perennials, trees and shrubs, and so much more.

Next, think about where Mom or Grandma might be hanging her beautiful baskets. If her porch gets lots of sun for most of the day, consider the following flower baskets, which thrive in full sunlight: geraniums, petunias, portulaca, and hibiscus. Just remember that although these flowers do well in the sun, they need plenty of water and fertilizer to stay vibrant throughout the summer.

Flowers that do well in a half day of full sunlight include verbena, ivy geranium, foxtail, and lobelia. If her porch is shaded by many trees and doesn’t get many hours of full sunlight, consider shade impatiens (a classic for hanging baskets), begonias, or ferns, which can continue to grow inside throughout the winter months. Even traditional houseplants like ivy, spider plants and philodendrons can make great porch hanging baskets.

Taking Mom for a drive along the Amish Trail is a great idea for Mother’s Day weekend, and if you start your journey in Randolph, you can stop at Peaches and Cream to let Mom pick out her own flowers. Peaches and Cream is located at 19 Main Street in Randolph and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Owners Gary and Heidi Boser invite you to shop their variety of hanging baskets and potted plants, as well as their selection of fresh produce and delicious Hershey’s ice cream.

Memorial Day is May 29, and one of the best ways to honor loved ones who passed away in service to our country is to adorn their gravesites with flowers.

In ancient times, the Greeks and Romans decorated graves of the dead with flowers, and laying wreaths signaled high honors. Formerly known as Decoration Day, Memorial Day began during the Civil War when Southern women began decorating the graves of deceased Confederate soldiers. We still celebrate Memorial Day by placing flowers and wreaths on the graves of those who have fought for our freedom; of course, red, white and blue are the most popular colors on this special day.

In World War I, Canadian officer John McCrae’s famous poem, “In Flanders Fields,” honored the red poppies growing between the graves of fallen soldiers in Belgium. In addition to red poppies, red and white roses are classic picks for Memorial Day, as well as blue irises and hydrangeas. Peonies bloom at the end of May and are often associated with Memorial Day, as they are a beautiful choice for graveside flowers.

Fox Valley Greenhouse of West Valley is a great place to look for your Memorial Day blooms. Open seasonally from May 15 to July 1, Fox Valley Greenhouse offers bedding plants, vegetable plants, hanging baskets, and more. They also do cemetery urns for pick up at the greenhouse or delivered to cemeteries in Ellicottville, Salamanca, and West Valley. Call Fox Valley Greenhouse at (716)942-3710 to learn more.