Through my bedroom window on a little plot of about six feet of garden is a gardenia bush.

I discovered it when my husband and I removed undergrowth, weeds, dirt and ant piles about two and a half years ago. It was small and gangly, from lack of exposure to the sun, and I wasn’t quite sure what it was, but I left it because it looked like a healthy bush wanting to stay and grow in its seclusive spot.

Last year, it bloomed. I was tending to some grape hyacinths and tulips, when I noticed a beautiful, light fragrance in the air. To my surprise, it was the bush
I had left to grow. The scent was coming from one, lone flower, proudly bursting forth; whiter than white, smooth and clean and pure. Not one freckle blemishing its petals. I couldn’t believe one little flower could make so much noise! I leaned in to the flower and took a huge breath and instantly I felt such peace! I felt like I had landed in a little bit of home. A secret garden, just for me.

Since then, I have had a kinship with that bush. I love it so much. I tend to its limbs when they get too scraggly, trimming the pieces that stick out like stray hairs on a child. I work the dirt, and pull the weeds, and thank my magnolia for staying strong when it was neglected and forgotten.

I have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of at least forty buds this year, so my happiness exploded when I raised the blinds this morning and saw the first
flower had opened.

You know where I’ll be as soon as I finish typing this. I’ll deliver a fond
hello on your behalf, and I’ll celebrate the crisp smell of the gardenias
by just sitting still.

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