Blog: Mother Earth Heals
by Liora Leah

Star Jasmine

Seventh of eight stories in the Yard Notes series, in loving memory of my father. After five years of battle, the Star Jasmine and I have made peace.

Date:   9/5/2007 3:39:39 AM   ( 14 y ) ... viewed 4729 times

Photograph by Liora Leah May 2008

Star Jasmine

When Dad first planted the Star Jasmine vines, they were in little clumps all around the front yard area next to the house. As the years went by, the Star Jasmine firmly established itself and appeared to be one thick carpet of green that needed to be cut back periodically as it tended to grow up the olive tree and the Bird-of-Paradise shrubs that it surrounded. Every spring, the vines bloomed with numerous tiny but strong-smelling flowers that completely overwhelmed my poor sinuses when I was a child.

Six years ago when I first moved back into the house, I was determined I wasn’t going to let the jasmine get the best of me. Dad told me he liked the smell of the flowers, but I kept the front windows closed to ward off the scent of the blooms, and held my breath every time I went in and out of the front door. One day, with shears in hand, I was ready to do battle with the vines when Dad called out the front door “don’t kill the Star Jasmine!” He sounded so concerned about his “babies” that I relented, and I ended up spending about one-half hour every day all that spring wading into the vines and plucking off the buds by hand before they bloomed.

As time went on, I became more aggressive with the vines, and one spring I directed the gardeners to cut them way down to the stocks so that they looked barren. It took a whole year for the vines to grow back, but they never looked lush again. Later that spring I developed a horrible itchy rash on one foot. The dermatologist said she never heard of anyone developing “eczema” as a reaction to only one substance, yet I was certain that it was due to “the Revenge of the Star Jasmine.” The battle was on. The next spring, with the coming of the jasmine bloom, the foot rash returned. I retaliated by mercilessly and gleefully pulling the vines up, roots and all, leaving only a small patch in front of Dad’s bedroom windows along the front walkway so that he could see them whenever he looked out.

Last year, I finally decided to make peace with the Star Jasmine. I spoke to the remaining small patch of it and told it I wasn’t going to kill it but that I’d have to pick the buds off of it before they bloomed. I ended up allowing a few of the buds to bloom, as sort of a peace offering. The itchy rash was nonexistent.

This first spring after Dad’s death, I thought about ripping up the remaining patch of Star Jasmine, but then decided not to, as a remembrance of him. At the beginning of the season, I started out picking the buds before they bloomed, but then just left them alone and let them bloom at will. The fragrance of the flowers was strong, but not unpleasant; I found myself kinda liking it, and even left the front door and windows open.


Yard Notes Introduction:  First Things First

First of eight stories in the Yard Notes series: Tools & Sweat

Second story in the series: Grass & Water

Third story:  Dandelions & Snails

Fourth story: Trees & Fence

Fifth story:  Berries & Concrete

Sixth story: Tree Dreams

Eighth story:  Monster Plants


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