With the risk of frost behind, May is the month that gets gardeners into full swing. Every garden center is jammed with folks buying plants, seeds and fertilizer. I love variety and just set out nine different kinds of tomatoes and six kinds of peppers that I've been nurturing from seed since the beginning of March. I planted cucumbers, squash, melons, beans, eggplants and okra this week too. Vegetable gardeners really have to hustle this month to get in all their summer crops.We've been eating as much fresh asparagus as we can hold and now, with the snap peas, lettuce, kale and chard in full stride, we fill our plates daily with even more green. Pick-your-own strawberry farms are open and nothing beats a tender, ripe and juicy red berry. A little vanilla ice cream really makes their flavor sing. It's worth the backache to pick your own.The true queen of the garden blooms in May. I consider the peony to be the most glorious flower of the whole year. The fat round buds, crawling with ants, open to reveal an array of styles and colors. There are luscious reds, deep and pale pinks and white varieties too. Some are single flowered and some are double. Some have fancy centers filled with frilly pom poms or yellow stamens. The pinks are every bit as fragrant as a rose. Having a vase of peonies on the table is my idea of being truly rich.Early May is the peak of migration for songbirds too, and dedicated birdwatchers get to see birds that are only here briefly as they pass through from their southern wintering grounds to their northern breeding habitats. We search for warblers like the chestnut-sided, magnolia or black-throated blue. A rose-breasted grosbeak visited last week, gorging on the suet after a long journey in flight. He stayed for 24 hours allowing us to study his stunning coat of black, white and pink.In the forest, the leaves and ferns are fully out, and so are the ticks. Walking one recent evening, we could barely take a step without stopping to pick off the pesky buggers crawling up our legs. Ticks are one of the few downsides to spring in Carolina.Now that the pollen has passed, we open our windows to let in the cool evening air and the sounds of the night. We hear the peeps and croaks of frogs and crickets. Sometimes I'm awakened by barred owls carrying on raucous monkey-like conversations or the scream of a fox or flying squirrel or a coyotes' howl. Afternoons, one could sit for hours in the shade, enjoying the flowers, eating strawberries and letting the breeze carry the worries away. If you're lucky, your "to do" list might just blow away on that breeze as well.