Have you ever smelled something so fragrant, so wonderful that you just wanted to stand there with your nose up in an attempt to draw in as much of the fragrance as possible? I have. It usually happens around this time of year when the gardenias are blooming.
We have an enormous gardenia bush in the front of our house, a slightly smaller one by the driveway and three or four small bushes scattered around the yard. The bush in the front is quite unruly. Our house is two-story and it is close to reaching the second story. It needs to be pruned but I’m not sure how to do it and part of me can’t bear to trim one branch that might bear a fragrant gardenia bloom.
For most of the year, the gardenia bush is simply a nondescript green bush. It’s not particularly pretty yet not ugly either. It’s just there. It reminds me of the large bushes dotting the yards of homes in south Georgia or Alabama. You know, the ones that grow around the pine trees.
My Favorite Flowering Bush
I notice a slight change in early spring when I’m out in the yard with my dog. The gardenia bush is covered in green buds the shape of those old Christmas tree lights from my youth. It’s almost time.
One day when I’m out with my dog, I notice a single white blossom. They’re here. It’s time for the gardenias. I walk over to the bush, put my nose in the flower and breathe deep. There is nothing quite like the smell of a gardenia.
The next day, there are a few more blooms and the next even more. It’s kind of like watching popcorn pop. Snowy white gardenias as soft as velvet show up scattered around the bush. I cut three or four to take inside the house.
I have to go off for the weekend. I hope my gardenia bush doesn’t peak before I return. I almost hate to leave, I don’t want to miss a single bloom.
When I get back from my trip, the gardenia bush is covered in blooms. The bottom branches are so heavy with blooms they touch the ground. It’s spectacular. What’s better than the way it looks is the way it smells, quite possibly my favorite fragrance of all.
My husband and I sit outside in the evenings with our dog. He loves being outside. It’s very mild for May. The humidity is uncharacteristically low for Florida. A gentle breeze blows through the yard carrying the scent of the gardenias to us. Our dog lifts his nose into the air. Does he enjoy the fragrance as much as me?
The gardenias have been blooming a few weeks now. I notice that many of them are turning brown before their time, probably scorched by the morning sun. I take my dog outside and spend a few minutes picking the dead blossoms. That seems to make the remaining white blossoms stand out more. I find the source of a sneaky vine that has woven its way around the branches of the bush and pull it out. The bush seems to breathe a sigh of relief and stand taller.
Seasons Come, Seasons Go
I know the end of the blooming season is near. It makes me a little sad because I know I will have to wait another year to enjoy the sweet fragrance of my gardenias. But truthfully, isn’t that how it should be? If the gardenias bloomed year round would I not grow bored with them? Would they fade into the background and become something I take for granted?
For that matter, what if it was always sunset at the beach or the mountains were always covered with the jewel tones of autumn? Many people love a landscape blanketed with snow but would you want that all the time? Probably not.
I seem to be thinking about seasons a lot these days.
One of the benefits of seasons is that they give a rhythm to life. We generally know what to expect next. They also offer a sense of anticipation and hope. The sun rises and it sets. The seasons change, sometimes subtly like in Florida but sometimes drastically. If you’re in a season you don’t like, there is the hope of change.
I’m going to enjoy my gardenias for the remainder of the time they are blooming. I will clip some blossoms and bring them into the house so I can savor the fragrance as long as possible. I know that one day soon I will walk outside and see the last lone bloom. I will put my nose on it and deeply inhale, drinking in the fragrance. And then, I will wait until next year when I am awed by the first snowy white gardenia I see growing on the unruly gardenia bush.