The Gift of Gardenias

Gardenias are among my favorite flowers.  I love their creamy white petals and their heady scent.  I look forward to the blooms every June.  I went outside just a few minutes ago and discovered quite a few flowers on the plant in my backyard.

We moved into our house on June 19, 1997.  One morning that first week I was outside with the dog when I smelled gardenias.  I started looking around and found not one, but two huge, beautiful gardenia plants that were loaded with blooms.  I could barely contain my excitement!  Gardenias won’t grow outside in my home state of Maryland—it’s too cold in the winter–so I wasn’t expecting to have them here.  I brought loads of them into the house.

It was a funny thing about the gardenias the year we moved in:  they bloomed so late.  I wouldn’t have known about them until the next year if they’d bloomed on their normal schedule.  They were such a gift.  When you pack up your kids and move almost 500 miles away from the only place you’ve ever lived you look for bright spots everywhere.  We wanted to move because Baltimore’s crime had gotten out of control, even in our northeast corner of the city, and we were afraid for our kids.  But it was still a wrench to leave our families, our friends and our church.  Neither W nor I regret it at all, but it was difficult that first summer.

Every year when the gardenias bloom I’m reminded of the day I discovered them and how grateful I was and am for their presence.  They continue to be a lovely gift to me year after year

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