Gardenias and a Birthday


Just a couple of years back, I started my own little personal tradition…to celebrate my folks on my birthday. After all, without them I would not celebrate any of these days, which by the way seem to come around at an alarming rate. Today, I’m remembering my mom with gardenias.

Raised in a modest three bedroom home, there was Mom, Dad, my older often bratty brother, and me. ONE bathroom. There was just one simple bathroom rule: When Dad needs in, you get out. The price of the home was under ten grand, and the mortgage was $99. At the time, even that felt like a stretch for my folks. Hard for us to imagine in today’s world! In our simple, not-too large, yard, there were several gardenia bushes. And each year when the white, fragrant blooms arrived, people would stop to ask my mother for her gardenia growing secrets.  “No secrets,” Mom would say as people shared sad tales of gardenia growing failures.

As an adult, in my own yard, there is one gardenia bush. It came with the house, and blooms for just a bit each summer. Certainly it’s not overflowing like the ones in my childhood home. I’ve even Googled “how to help gardenias thrive,” none of ideas have given great gardenia success, and I am 100% certain my mom didn’t add any organic matter to hers. Nor did she maintain airflow, measure the acidity of the soil, or add sulphur to help the PH level.

This year, my own plant produced enough to make a small bouquet, which I delivered to my mom and dad in their final resting place. It’s so clear to me that my mom is smiling at me as I attempt to help my gardenias thrive while she do so effortlessly.

Today, in my personal tradition, I celebrate, with gardenias, my mom and dad.

Slainte! Susan

P.S. As I just now glanced outside at my now bare gardenia plant, I notice a butterfly landing right at the top. A message from Mom!


5 thoughts on “Gardenias and a Birthday

  1. So glad you have this connection with your mom. I’m sure she’s smiling at your bouquet–but she’s smiling even more when she looks at you.


  2. Honoring those who came before us and provided the support to make us who we are is such a wonderful tradition.


  3. What a lovely remembrance! I, too, love gardenias having grown up in the South where they flourish. Gardenias bloomed under my bedroom window and on summer evenings I would stand at my open window (no a/c) and inhale the rich, sweet fragrance of the gardenias. I have a couple of gardenias in my yard now. One does fairly well with lots of fertilizer and the other just limps along. Might be time to replace them with newer and fresher.


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