I don’t know how many honeysuckle flowers I’ve drunk nectar from one drop at a time, a zillion I’d guess, but every time I see them plump for the picking and smell their unique sweetness, I remember those Alabama Aprils and all the smells of the gardens on our two acres in the middle of that small town we were plopped into as young children.
The previous owners of the property, I believe, were named Blevins; and they were the ones who had envisioned and created our garden paradise around a nice size Victorian house in the middle of town on Hwy 25 before our arrival. My siblings and I woke up in the different seasons to marvel at whatever was blooming that day, from the time we became old enough to remember such beauty, and there were plenty of annuals of all types, popping up everywhere to color our days.
My favorite was everything in truth. The buttercups and hibiscus, because I could pick a bunch of those to take to Momma and they would last and still look and smell good when I got back to the house with them, even if I stopped to lay them down to chase a butterfly or robin redbreast. The Tulips came up first at the coolest beginning of spring with their red petals sitting atop a bright green thick stem that said, “Look at me.” The purple irises that grew at Easter time right up against the storehouse took so long to unfold and were checked on daily by me, so I would be the first to spy their deep velvet petals open. The green apple blossoms reminded me that we could eat the plump apples all summer, but not too many that we might get a tummy ache according to our elders. Pink spidery mimosas that I watched from below waved high in the wind above me. Magnolias so large and surreal with thick petals seeming to reach around my head when I leaned in to smell them. Roses in every shape, form, and color and place you could think fragrantly announced their presence as we approached to pluck only a few to take inside for all to enjoy. Yes, I’m certain that our patch of semi-tropical wonderland with its vines, thorns, leaves, petals, and bark of all varieties was the place my imagination sprung from as well, reaching for the sky with the rest of Nature through a carpet of St Augustine grass.
Now the Honeysuckle was the most delicious flower that never lasted long enough! It was a fact of springtime around our house, that you better get the nectar while you could, because before you knew it, you’d go outside one morning and they would all be withered into a brownish state, with no more nectar to offer. Yep, they would be all nectared out for the year.
Our Honeysuckle smelled so sweet that it would almost force me to stop to have a little taste even when I was in a hurry. The smell of Honeysuckle meant to me that spring was really in full swing, and the days were edging up to hotter temperatures fast. These days, it makes me smile every time I catch the honeysuckle scent even in a perfume. A near whiff of it takes me right back to my own backyard picking the fattest and longest white flowers I could, then pinching the green end that held the trumpet-shaped petals together so I could grab the string inside. Slowly, I’d pull it out of the bottom of the flower, so I could get the most nectar it had to give me. Once I had pulled it all the way out, there was a big drop of sweet on the end I would touch to my tongue for a treat, then suck on the end of the flower in case there was more inside.
If your Honeysuckle is half as sweet as mine was as a child, you are in for a real treat too. Happy Honeysuckle Nectar hunting, folks! Pull those strings and have fun getting a good taste of springtime. They go by fast, so slow them down when you can and make some memories in the present with the presents this earth we call home has to offer.
Love and Peace,
Honeysuckle photo by: Jeff R. Gordon