Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Gladiolas and Memories


Yesterday, my husband had a list of errands - buy some mulch for the garden, run to the grocery store for a few things, and stop at the craft store to pick up some supplies for his latest project. Sometimes when he goes on these marathon adventures, he brings me back little surprises - a bunch of fresh flowers, my favorite oatmeal raisin cookies. (He's a good man!) Yesterday, he came home with bags of gladiola bulbs. He had carefully chosen bulbs in my favorite colors. The bulbs immediately brought back vivid memories of my grandmother.

She was a gardener. Every year she would plant gladiolas - hundreds of them! We live in a climate that requires that the bulbs be dug up every fall, stored for the winter, and planted again in late spring. I remember being so eager to help her. For some reason, I am not exactly sure why, my grandma would soak the bulbs in concentrated Lysol before planting them. I imagine it was to keep bugs away but I regret never asking her why. She would dig the holes and I would pull each bulb out of the bucket of Lysol and place it in the ground. She would cover it with dirt and we would move onto the next one. These are such happy memories for me -  spending time with my grandmother in the warm days of late spring digging in the dirt and burying promises of tall, beautiful flowers. I can not begin to describe how that smell of Lysol transports me to the garden and my memories of planting gladiolas with my grandmother.

Sometimes special words or phrases take us back to another time long ago. Often, pictures can help us relive a special moment in our lives. But the smell of Lysol will always bring me back to the little me crouching next to my grandma planting those beautiful gladiolas.

I am anxious to get my gladiola bulbs in the ground. I need to wait a few weeks to be sure the weather will stay warm enough. As I place each bulb in the ground, I will think of those special moments with my grandmother. I will watch and wait patiently until late summer, when they will bring me the beautiful spikes of colors and memories. Wonderful memories.
I am participating in the 
March Slice of Life Challenge.
Each day we post our thoughts.
Thank you, Two Writing Teachers!

Day 15 - Gladiolas and Memories       


  1. What a great memory to have attached to the smell of Lysol. Once your gladiolas bloom, you will have the visual reminder of your grandmother, too.

  2. That's a wonderful memory - vivid and lovely after all the years. I am so curious about the Lysol, too - I'll have to look into this!

  3. What a sweet memory. Lysol has a new meaning for me after reading this post. I wish you'd asked your grandmother too. I'm going to have to give it a try. Was it undiluted Lysol?
    P.S. this is Diane Dougherty not Joseph Dougherty. For some reason, my comment is rejected unless I use Google.

  4. What a thoughtful husband you have! The power of smell never ceases to amaze me. The smell of moth balls reminds me of my grandmother!

  5. I think reading your post sent me right out to my garden to do a little bit of cleaning. I know it's early but things are sprouting and I want to take advantage of watching them. My grandpa loved to grow gladiolas when he retired. He planted a HUGE garden bed and then stood on the corner by the gas station and would sell them on Fridays or maybe Saturdays as the lake people came in for the week. He also dug them up each winter and stored them in his basement. I'm not sure why - but I found some bulbs in my garage tonight to plant too.

  6. You have to take pictures of your gladiolas this summer and post them. I can't wait to see them. Such a wonderful gesture and memory! Thank you for sharing and happy gardening.


  7. What a thoughtful husband Dave is, and what great memories you share. I love how something as simple as a smell can transport us back in time.