Build Your Garden

Southern Flowers

I’m a Southern girl by birth. I live in Colorado now, but you know what they say: “You can take the girl out of the South, but you can’t take the South out of the girl!” I recently spent a couple of months in Georgia with a friend this past spring. I definitely do not want to live there. Humidity and mosquitoes are enough to drive me away, but oh those southern flowers!

I grew up with two huge gardenia bushes outside my bedroom window. Gardenias are my very favorites. Southern flower, bar none. I love them. Yes, they can grow in Colorado some, but I hear it’s a bit hard to keep them healthy here. They require a lot of care and I’m not so good with high maintenance plants and bushes, so I haven’t really tried it. I miss them.

So, while I was in Georgia, I took a lot of walks for the sole purpose of smelling the flowers. The magnolias were in bloom when I arrived. Delicious! When I lived in Dallas, I had a magnolia tree in my front yard. Those are grand, as well. Second only to gardenias, you know. Magnolias, of course, are a much larger flower. Their scent smells a bit more like lemon, and not quite as sweet as the gardenias.

Both flowers must be handled with care. They will turn brown where you touch them. So, pick them and hold them by the stem only. You can place them in bowls of water indoors to bring those wonderful sweet scents into the house. They’ll actually last a few days that way.

Yes, there are lots of other flowers in the South: hydrangeas, azaleas, irises, etc. But to me, there is nothing to compare to the sweet scent of the gardenia and the magnolia! Maybe one of these days, I’ll try to grow one in Colorado.

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