I am excited about visiting a childhood friend for dinner
tonight. She lives in Palmetto, FL, in a Key West blue house with
three French bulldogs.
We knew each other as kids in West Virginia. I now live in Syracuse.
I ponder what hostess gift to buy and I decide I want to giver her a
bonsai Tree of Health because she's a doctor. Great idea, even if it
is short lived.
The first place I shop I find a beautiful gardenia, in bloom. Its
fragrance erases my bonsai plans. I buy the gardenia. And admire it.
It's a delicate, beautiful plant. We don't see them often in Syracuse.
It's just too cold there.
On the walk back to the car, my sister-in-law, who lives in Florida,
tells me about her gardenia, a wild, unruly invasive bush she's tried
for years to kill. How can that be? The gardenia is a delicate,
fragrant little plant. Up North. Down South, left to nature's whims,
they grow into ogres.
Well, it's too late to switch gears. So we head to Palmetto with the
delicate, potentially invasive, beautiful, soon-to-be-unruly plant in
a pretty green- and pink-wrapped pot in the back seat.
We park to the side of her beautiful home facing the Manatee River and
pass through a welcoming picket fence to find my dear friend racing out to greet us and reaching for her gift. She smiles beautifully, beams actually, and says,"We love gardenias."
That's good, because as we hand her the gift I notice evidence of what my sister-in-law foretold: We are standing between two very large, recently cropped gardenia plans that stand as sentinels to my friend's front porch.
They are huge. Not quite ogres, but standing nearly five feet tall and about twice that around.
My potted gift is puny. But it is well received, with love.