Spring Flowers 3

When I began this journey around my yard, I had no idea how many different specimens are represented; many examples have been gifts or something that Otto rooted and planted.  Over the years he was given cuttings from his customers and several varieties were gifts from family and friends that he named and cherished. 

I have two different varieties of gardenias, one that is a large version that blooms prolifically during the hot summer months and one that is a ground hugging type that blooms twice, in the summer and again in the fall of the year.  We have shared cuttings of both to gardeners who were interested. 

When we moved from southwest Georgia over thirty years ago, Nanny rooted several gardenias from her yard and gave them to us as a remembrance gift, she had treasured memories about gardenias and although she enjoyed viewing the blossoms, she was not particularly fond of the strong aroma. 

The original gardenia plant was in her yard in Terrell County and possibly came from Hanner's Nursery or maybe a neighbor.  In her day, gardenias were used in arrangements for weddings and funerals so that memory lingered with her and she remarked about it often.   

The first black American to be nominated and the first to win an Oscar was Hattie McDaniel who wore gardenias in her hair the evening she accepted the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Mammy in “Gone with the Wind.”  Sadly, she was not allowed to attend the Hollywood festivities because she was black, but in later years she became the first black woman to own her own radio station.  

A gardenia is an evergreen shrub that is related to the coffee plant; the beautiful bright white flowers will turn brown when water touches the blossom.  Gardenias are the chosen flower for men in France to wear as a boutonniere whereas in America, our gentlemen usually choose a red rose. Years ago we rescued one Amaryllis from the dying plant section at Lowe's garden center; today there are about twenty five.

My yard is filled with watermelon-red colored oleander bushes that were all propagated from one plant that I received as a birthday gift years ago. The plant is poison to humans but only if you ingest the flowers or stems.  In a prominent space at the corner of my porch is a tea olive bush, it was a favorite of my dear friend Genie Hargrove and was planted there in her memory.  It is a constant reminder of our friendship and that we shared Jesus as our Lord and Savior. 

A favorite flower grows in containers on my porch; Gerber daisies are hearty, have blooms that are substantial enough to use in arrangements, and will over-winter with minimum care.   There are various colors in my assortment but the dark red one that was a gift from my work sister Sharon Leverett years ago, it continues to thrive and remind me of our longtime friendship.

 

Brenda S. Brown 

 

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