Very likely, I got my love of gardenias from my grandmother. These photos are of bushes that she originally planted on their farm in rural Mississippi, where my dad grew up. When they sold the farm, she had all of them dug up and transplanted to their new home near the city.
Her bushes now line the front of what became my parents home. I have no idea how old the shrubs are, but they have thrived happily at their current location for around seventy-five years.
The older varieties of gardenias are more resilient to disease and pests. However, they are still finicky and do not like to be moved.
My mom always got upset with my dad whenever he pruned the gardenias each fall. She thought he cut them back too much. Year after year, though, they kept on surprising her by blooming prolifically the following summer.
The day I photographed the gardenias, I had my own surprise of a visit by a butterfly. It flew around me several times before landing on a bloom. By the time I zoomed in, it had already left. Fortunately, I captured one shot before it fluttered off!
As I mentioned above, gardenias can be difficult to relocate. Twice, my dad rooted me a cutting, and then after letting it grow for a couple of years, gave it to me to plant at my house. Both times, I was unsuccessful at getting the plants to live.
It seemed as though I did everything correct. I made sure there was a good root system and proper soil, and always moved the plants during the fall. Each winter, though, I got worried when all the leaves fell off. It looked as though it needed pruning and I would do just that. I found out later that pruning was a mistake.
On one last attempt, my dad said that he would try planting one for me at my house. My husband dug the hole, and my dad put it in the ground. Then he gave me strict orders not to do anything to it, other than occasional watering, even if the plant looked like it was dying. This time, I minded my daddy.
That next spring, to my surprise, it made it. I now have one of my grandma’s gardenias of my very own.
What makes the gardenia bush even more special, though, is the fact that my dad planted it. You see, it was the last thing he ever planted on this earth. The same spring my gardenia showed signs of new life, my daddy went to heaven. Now, every time I walk past it, I think of him.
I suppose I got my sentimentality from my grandmother, too. Because of the memories associated with my bush, I know that if we move from our house, I will be doing the same thing she did. If we move, my gardenia goes with us.
For a similar post about Gardenias, see The Sweet Fragrance of Christ
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Thanks. You have some lovely photos. Blessings on your day!
thank you so much dear
What a beautiful sentiment, truly a sweet fragrance of the Lord! Bless you!
Thanks very much. Blessings
This had me in tears, Sue. Thanks you so much for sharing this truly heartwarming story. What a beautiful gift your dad has left you. The gardenias as so beautiful.
Thanks, Heidi. I know we are not to cling to the things of earth, but God does allow little treasures to tie us over until heaven. Blessings.
Maybe you could not imagine the emotional tug this piece would have on others. You merely shared your heart and soul at the keyboard, perhaps hoping it would communicate some of the depth of emotion you felt. It most certainly did!
What you have no way of knowing is the very deep, heartfelt connection I have with Gardenias. I cannot grow them. I have only experienced their scent in passing or in perfume. But, it is the very flower and scent that represents someone intensely precious to me who is also in heaven. Perhaps they know each other by now. I hope so.
Thank you for sharing! I am sweetly blessed because of it.
Jennifer. Sorry for so slow to reply. Have been out of town all day. Your comments have both blessed and validated that God inspired this post. Here I was thinking that this was just a story about something special to me. I never dreamed that anyone else would have a connection to gardenias in a similar way, but God did. I am in tears now. I thank you for sharing and can only think that God orchestrated their meeting in heaven already, too. Blessings
Thanks so much for sharing! Fragrances bring to mind so many memories…for me, lilacs are especially meaningful. My dad had a beautiful lilac bush…almost looked like a tree. I still can smell the fragrance and feel the flowers as I carried them in to the house to make bouquets for home and for my school. (I attended a Catholic School and the flowers bloomed just in time for the May Crowning)
I love lilacs, too. They grew well in Colorado where we used to live. I imagine lilacs will always bring back warm memories of you and your dad. Thanks for sharing! Blessings on your day
Love Gardenias! Jessie W
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We have our grandmother’s old rambler rose bush. It was a focal point for growing up pictures when we were kids, then Mom took a piece and planted it at their new home. When we made the move downeast, the bush came with us, and is taking over the planter by the kitchen window. The scent immediately transports us back to Grammie’s yard. Loved this post, Sue – you’re such a blessing! 🙂
So are you ladies, blessings to you both!
Aww, what a blessing in so many ways! Gardenias are my favorite flower. I can only imagine the wonderful fragrance that fills the air with having so many blossoms! Beautiful photos!
Thanks, Rene. If only their blooms lasted longer. These photos were taken earlier and the gardenias are no longer blooming. However, if the Lord tarries, they will return next year!
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Thanks so much. Blessings