My First Gardenia

I have loved Gardenias since I was a child. My Granny had a big Gardenia bush in her front yard, and my sister and would wait impatiently every summer for the waxy blooms to appear. I thought that bush was six feet tall, but know now that it was because I was less than four feet tall at the time.

The scent of Gardenias is a heavy, heady aroma, and just a tiny whiff transports me back to the '50s to 291 Oklahoma in South Memphis.

I have tried to grow Gardenias several times with no luck. I planted this bush last spring, watered patiently, watched incessantly, but no blooms.

This bush is planted just outside our fence in the side yard. I have always watered it from the backside of the fence, which is the reason I didn't even see the bud for this bloom. I was so happily surprised to discover it yesterday!

Of course I had to make a digital page about it for my Summer of 2011 book. Here's how I did it:

Duetica Lettering Arts Studio Software, Font: Mandolyn (
Adobe Photoshop CS5 (

1. Open your photo and a new document in Photoshop. Select your palette from your photo's colors and make a sample of each color in the blank document.
2. Open a new 12 X 12 document. This will be your layout file. Select one color and fill the background. Make this layer about 40 percent opacity.
3. Select a 11 3/4" x 11 3/4" square in a second layer. Fill with another color and make the opacity about 40 percent opacity.
4. Copy a square portion of your photo and paste it into a new 12" x 2" file. Keep pasting until you have a bar the width of your page. Flatten the image, select all and apply a watercolor effect. Copy and paste into your layout.
5. Place your photo into the layout and create a white border around it's edges.
6. Create Gardenia in the Duetica Lettering Arts Studio. Change the color to an off white. Copy and paste into you layout.

Note: If you want a custom color for the title, wait until you open it in Photoshop and apply a new color there.

7. In the Duetica Gardenia file, select all of the letters and change the color to a dull green. Make the opacity 35 percent, then copy and paste it into your layout to create the shadow.
8. Type My First, make it the same color as the gardenia type and tuck it into the space between the G and the D.
9. Draw a rectangle for your journaling block and fill with a color of your choice. Use the eraser tool set at 35 percent opacity to wipe out the edges of the block. Insert your journaling.
10. Finish by adding some white and green lines to border the entire layout.

That's it. I now have the first Gardenia I have ever grown all by myself recorded for the ages.

Now, go hug your Granny and be thankful for all she has taught you to appreciate. Wish I could hug mine!


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