Summer Begins When…

It’s Memorial Day Weekend, when we honor our fallen service people. Thank you for your complete dedication and service. It is also the unofficial start of summer; school is out in this part of the world and picnic/cookout season has begun.

When does summer really commence? June 21 is the official beginning of the seasons changing from spring to summer. The weather has been quite warm and muggy here in Southwest Mississippi. But I don’t need a calendar or a thermometer to know that it is summer, or at least close to being summer: the day lilies are in bloom.

My favorite day lily is the one given to me by my Aunt Gayle. The winter of 2017 was harsh, with two unexpected snowfalls and then the following spring was very dry. Aunt Gayle’s day lily set only a few blooms and then they quickly dried up and fell off.

I was anxious about the plant living through this past winter, though the weather was mild. The pot it has been in for the last 4 years is cracked and 10 year-old day lily needs to be repotted. I have been hesitant to do it. I don’t want to do something that would kill it and my connection to a beloved aunt- my mother’s twin sister.

Then early in this month, Aunt Gayle’s day lily started putting up scapes. On each scape are multiple buds. The blooms are a wide and ruffled peachy pink. So pretty.

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May 2019

So, for me summer begins when Aunt Gayle’s day lily blooms. When does summer start for you?

Blessings.

(Note: here’s the link to the back story to my favorite garden plant. Aunt Gayle’s Day Lily  )

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Aunt Gayle’s Day Lily

I dug it up from the front flower bed of the house I once shared with the man that I thought would always be there. Placed right by the front porch, I lovingly tended it year after year. My Aunt Gayle, Mama’s twin sister, loved day lilies. Many hot summer weekends, day trips ended with a trunk load of day lily risomes. Our eyes were often bigger than our flower beds, so more spots in the yards were created.

The one planted by the porch is very special, because my aunt had become ill and we could no longer go on our excursions. One of her daughters brought it to me- a lovely surprise ordered from a flower catalog.

“Mama says it’s suppose to be a true pink, Mandy. Let her know when it blooms or maybe take a picture of it.”

April of 2015 I went out to the house in Amite County to gather bridal wreath and roses (my bridal wreath and my roses) to decorate tables for a wedding shower. While there, I found the shovel and a bucket and dug up Aunt Gayle’s day lily.

There were others around the yard and vegetable garden, the pool deck. And I did think about digging my favorites up that afternoon. They were mine, after all.

But the then soon-to-be-ex showed up and I decided to let them have my flowers (and my fruit trees). I’d had a lot of fun finding and planting them once, Lord willing, I’d get another chance to start over.

The other flowers, had I taken them, would have reminded me of my past. I am over that. Aunt Gayle’s day lily reminds me of her: her smile, her kindness, her laughter. She was a beautiful lady.

I miss you, Aunt Gayle, but a part of you comes for a month long visit every May.

Blessings from the Exile’s Kitchen.

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