Monday, June 24, 2013

Gardenias ~ My Column from Sunday's Paper

Our gardenias began blooming this week. We smelled the first blossom before we saw it. It was pale as a princess hanging there on the lush green bush. 

I've come to understand that gardenias are one of life's little pleasures.

This morning our walk started earlier than normal because the weatherman said the temps would be hotter than the devil with a branding iron.

As we walked by the Mother Gardenia bush, as we call her, Jilda snapped off a few blossoms and sniffed them from time to time as we walked.

I had chores outside, so I didn't go straight inside after our walk. Later when I went into my bathroom to wash my hands for breakfast, Jilda had placed a gardenia blossom in a thin-necked vase on my vanity. 

The blossom looked as if it had been carved from a piece of bone by a razor-sharp chisel. The scent was as thick as lust.

Fresh flowers in the house are nice, but they’re even nicer when they come from your own yard.

We can be as broke as the Ten Commandments with barely enough money to pay attention, but fresh flowers on the table make me feel wealthy.

Jilda has always had a green thumb. She got it from her grandmother Mamie and her mother Ruby. Both of these women had Southern Living yards. 

I’ve gotten much better since taking the Master Gardener’s Class this past winter. But the storms and field line replacement that I’ve mentioned before put us behind this year.

We turned a corner in mid May, and this past week made significant progress in our landscape.

This past weekend we shopped for flowers and some other plants for the back yard. The plan was to buy two flats of impatiens, a couple flats of snapdragons, and a butterfly bush.

The cash register almost melted tallying up all the items we bought.

Once home I fetched the wheelbarrow and unloaded the truck while Jilda went to the shed to get the tools.

I was working on the flowerbed on one end of the deck and Jilda was working the other.

She gets into this Zen frame of mind while she’s working and if you try to talk to her, she gets all snippy and whatnot. So I let her work in silence.

All of a sudden I heard her squeal which is a sound she rarely makes. When I looked over there, you could see her pulse pounding in her temples.

It took a second to see what had happened. She was working on her knees and had reached over to pick up the garden hose to water the Shasta daisies, when she almost picked up a four-foot long chicken snake that had crawled over to have a look at her progress.

I picked up the sharpshooter shovel, scooped up the curious reptile and dropped him on the other side of our fence. 

When he hit the ground he wasn’t happy and began writhing like he’d been dropped on a hotplate. Jilda pointed out that he was gyrating around like Joe Cocker singing “A Little Help From My Friends.” As I watched him for a moment, I realized she was right.

Later that evening, we had dinner on the deck and of course we had fresh flowers as a centerpiece.


  1. Fresh flowers in the house are lovely, especially when they come from your own garden!!

  2. I can so relate to the snake sighting. A sighting turns me into an squeaky stuttering fool.
    Loved you post.

  3. I love having fresh flowers... I would skip the snake though... haha :)

  4. I've been one of your followers since your blog's early beginnings. You have yet to fail me with a great read. I look forward to them. I smiled all the way through this one, well except for that "writhing" snake part. I can almost smell those gardenias. I agree there is something special about fresh cut flowers in the house.

  5. What's summer without those heavenly gardenias and their sweet fragrance in the yard!

  6. Oh my stars - the snake! LOL!! That's enough to break anyone's zen!

    Take care

  7. I love gardenia but the snake... I can live without. They give me the shivers.
    Great story.


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