The sweet side of gardening chores

After two days of really good, drenching rain, I knew it was time to tackle a chore I’d been putting off for far too long: weeding. I’ve written before about my tendency to put off weeding, but with the mild winter and warmer-than-usual spring, I really have let the weeds go for too long.

I had extra motivation to weed today, though. It’s nearing the official end of spring, and, according to my local nursery’s newsletter, my gardenias and azaleas needed some fertilizer (I’m trying Hollytone this year). But I couldn’t very well fertilize these plants without weeding around them, could I? So I got out my little gardening seat and started pulling weeds.

There’s something I find very satisfying about pulling weeds, which is odd to me, since I hate so much to start the task. Perhaps it’s the tangible progress of clearing the garden, or the satisfying feel of a weed’s roots coming loose. Besides, it was a quiet morning and not too hot yet.

What I found most enjoyable, though, was simply being outside and taking in the wave of aromas that rewarded my efforts: an undercurrent of rosemary dominated by gardenia.

One of many gardenia bushes in my garden

Gardenias are a favorite of mine for their velvety white blossoms and their perfume smell. I’ve planted a few gardenia bushes each year for the past three years, and this year will be no different. I’m really not sure at what point I’ll feel like I have enough gardenias.

I absolutely love the smell. To me, it’s the smell of happiness.

That connection may have begun when I was a young girl and my mom took me to visit a friend days before her wedding. She took me to her room to see her veil, and on the table beside her bed, there sat a glass bowl filled with gardenias.

My mother has grown gardenias for as long as I can remember, and she used to send vases full of them with me to work. Coworkers would practically skip down the hall to my office to come smell them.

My mother-in-law loves gardenias, too, and they flank the front of her house, giving a sweet welcome as guests approach the door. When my husband and I visited her in April, she sent me home with a ziplock bag full of blossoms (yes, I got them through airport security, and they survived the trip home in my backpack). The gardenia scent that filled our home for days filled me with happiness.

So I found that I didn’t mind the weeding chore so much today. How could I mind, surrounded by all those blooms?

Do you love gardenias, too? Or perhaps there’s a different flower’s scent that reminds you of happiness? The next time you have a dreaded chore to complete, why not surround yourself with your favorite blooms? Trust me – it makes the task a lot more pleasant.

Next week, I think I’ll tackle the section of garden near the lavender.

4 thoughts on “The sweet side of gardening chores

  1. Gardenias remind me of my grandmother. She often kept them floating on her table. Was sitting in a friends driveway the other day and could have stayed a long time inhaling the beautiful smell.

    • Thanks, Tricia, for sharing that memory of your grandmother. Experts say that our sense of smell is one of the most strongest links to memories. For me, I think of my great aunt Clare every time I smell Dove soap.

    • I hadn’t thought of the instant gratification aspect of weeding, but that must be one of the (few) things I like about that chore. We have lots of honeysuckle here, too, and there was a giant patch of it near my school. I remember lots of mornings drinking the honeysuckle dew.

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