Shortly after Mother’s Day, I bought a gardenia bush bearing a label that promised it not only easy to care for, but winter hardy. 

I was dubious.

I don’t know about the winter hardiness yet, but I plopped the bush in the ground and we were promptly hit with hazy, hot and humid weather.  Humid though it was, we missed all the pop-up thunderstorms.  The poor thing roasted.  It turned yellow and I was sure it was dying a gruesome death.

Eventually the rain arrived and outdid itself.  When I walk in the garden there is a clearly audible squishing and sucking sound.

While surveying what is slowly turning into an unplanned pond, I was surprised to find the yellow bits were buds forming.

The gardenia is blooming.  So far, just one perfect flower.  Thus far the gardenia has survived scorching and drowning.

I picked that one perfect flower and the fragrance has scented this entire room to the point that it’s almost overwhelming.

The bush looks ready to burst with multiple blooms. There are at least 30 buds, some still tightly closed and other beginning to unfurl. 

If the gods favor me, it will stop raining soon, my yard will cease to be a mud bog, the heatwave will break and I’ll be able to sit outside and enjoy the blooming. 

I have high hopes of spending an evening in the garden drunk on one of nature’s most glorious scents.

6 thoughts on “Gardenias

  1. Last year at Lowes, I had my eye on a large and lovely jasmine bush. However, it was NOT winter hardy and I dreaded leaving it out to die so I didn’t purchase it. Those sorts of heavy floral scents are positively magical. Sadly, I read that by 60 you’ve lost 60% of your sense of smell. I’m gonna get that plant this year and enjoy it while I still can…

    • Well, so far I haven’t done anything to this thing except chuck it in the ground. During the dry spell, I threw water at it a couple of times. It might be blooming from stress – who knows. This winter will be the test.

  2. I love the smell of gardenia, but being around them blooming for long makes me sneeze a LOT. I used to drive by a house between here and Boone County where they had a real cactus that was like 5-feet tall at least growing in the yard. In the winter they would use dowels (sp?) to form a frame and cover the outside of the frame with something to insulate and a layer to keep the wet out. I think they had a light in there to keep it warm, unless there are luminescent cacti that shine at night.

    I also knew a woman who kept her Norfolk Island Pine alive by keeping it in a planter that was huge and on wheels so she could wheel it into the garage in the winter.

  3. I remember the first time I smelled a real gardenia. I was in So. Ca. working. It was sitting on a secretary’s desk. She looked as beautiful as the gardenia smelled. I told her that. We flirted for weeks and then I went home. I was so young then.

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