“ Gardenia Memories”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana
Many years ago in early May, we went house hunting. At the home we eventually bought, the gardenias were in full bloom. Large gardenia bushes lined the circular drive and one entire side edge of the property. There must have been twenty-five of these shrubs in flower. Talk about a great selling point for a home. Since they were about six feet high and wide, we figured they must have been planted when the house was built in the early ’60’s. For many years these lovely, sweet-smelling flowering shrubs thrived, but eventually they started to decline. I am sure the growing pine trees had a lot to do with that because even though gardenias like a little shade this far south, they do need some sun. Or, maybe it was age. They were at least 35 years old when they started dying back. Or, maybe we were too inexperienced to give them the care they needed. Anyway, a few have survived, and whenever they bloom in May, I think of two young people so excited to be moving into their first home.
The gardenia thrives in the South. Its glossy, evergreen leaves and fragrant white flowers are what makes this a wonderful shrub for the garden. After the first bloom, we trim them back and another smaller flush of blooms will appear in mid-summer. Lately, I have been thinking about replacing the ones that used to line the driveway. I would need to put in about six, and even though it would take a few years for them to get to a good size, I think it would be worth it.
Like the camellia, this is a great flower to bring inside and float in a bowl. The flowers really perfume the air and bring a bit of spring time inside. The fragrance reminds me of jasmine. I can see why these were often planted outside of windows before air conditioning became popular. Going to sleep or waking up to their fragrance would be lovely.
So, even though there is no longer as many gardenia bushes as we once had, come early May, there is still enough to perfume the garden and remind a homeowner of the first time she saw the house she would live in for over thirty years.