Gardening Aromatherapy

“Gardening Aromatherapy”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana

This past week was just perfect for gardening. Since I had the week off of work, there was finally time to do some planting, transplanting, and weeding. The weather cooperated – warm and sunny. That warm and sunny weather also helped spread the sweet aroma of certain blooming flowers.

The first few days that I was out in the garden, the star jasmine (or confederate jasmine as we call it here) perfumed the air. When you start to get hot and tired, having such a pleasant fragrance around certainly does revitalize you especially when you can sit in the shade with a tall glass of iced tea.

 

 

While I love this vine during springtime flowering, it has become invasive and is going to be pulled down this summer. It is growing all over the north side of the house and up a large pine tree. I have pulled it down once before thinking that it would slowly grow back. No such luck; it came back faster, stronger and bigger than before. Since it is now moving into the front and back garden, it will have to go. I certainly will miss its fragrance during the first warm days of spring.

Just about the time that this jasmine’s flowers started to fade, the gardenias kicked in with their lovely fragrance. I now have gardenia bushes in all areas of our property, so no matter where you are, front or back garden, the sweet aroma of the gardenias is there. In the front gardens, there are the old-fashioned gardenias that have been there since before we moved in.

 

 

 

In the back garden, there is the single or daisy gardenia. This one is special because it was rooted for me by my mother from a tiny sprig. Now, it is a small but nice size bush, and I know it won’t be long before it is as big as the older ones.

 

 

 

While there were a few exhausting days spent gardening, the “aromatherapy” of the jasmine and gardenias certainly did help to keep me going. Gardens should appeal to all our senses (not just the visual), and having strongly scented plants perfuming the air is sometimes forgotten.

Reblooming in August

“Reblooming in August”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana

As I have moved away from growing flowering annuals to growing more flowering perennials, I have noticed that while there is still color in the garden right now, mainly from foliage, this summer I have missed the profusion of flowers that have been present in previous summers. I have not missed the high maintenance of annuals, however. Not having to be outside in the heat of summer watering, fertilizing, and dead heading annuals has been very liberating.

I know as my perennials get bigger and more established there will be more flowers. Plants that are carrying me through this lack of flowers are the rebloomers, and one rebloomer showing off flowers right now is the gardenia bushes.

 

 

These shrubs will rebloom if they are trimmed back lightly in the spring as soon as they are finished blooming. The second bloom period is not as prolific, but having flowers in late August when most of the garden is tired from the long, hot days is certainly a treat. I am just hoping that next year there will be other perennials joining the gardenias in a late summer blooming.

Gardenia Memories

“ 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.

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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.

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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.

Daisy Gardenia

This post, “Daisy Gardenia” was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana 

 

Daisy gardenia  (Gardenia jasminoides ‘Daisy’) is a single-flowered gardenia.  My mother rooted mine from her bush.  She had rooted me one a few years back, but it was lost in Katrina.  It was crushed by a falling pine tree.  She was sweet enough go to the trouble of rooting another one last summer for me, and today it is big enough to plant in the garden.  Its first flower opened this morning.

 

 

When we moved in to our house thirty years ago, we had fifteen large gardenia bushes lining a circular driveway and about twenty-five lining the southeastern property line.  When they were in bloom (and they were when we first saw the house), it was a spectacular sight.  They also perfumed the whole neighborhood.  Gradually though, most of those original plants died.  I do not know if it was from old age, or if we just were so inexperienced that we didn’t know how to take care of them properly.  But, anyway, they gradually declined, and now we have only two left, and those resprouted after we had cut them down.  I have added a few new ones to the garden because the flowers are so pretty and the aroma is so wonderful

 

The daisy gardenia from my mom is different in that it is a single and not a double like the others.  It, too, takes morning sun this far south and full sun farther north, is hardy to zone 7, likes well-drained soil, and grows to about five feet.  Mine is still little, but it is covered in blooms. 

 

This evergreen shrub with its single blooms is a welcome addition to my garden.  Not only because it is an attractive, blooming, and fragrant plant, but also because mom went to the trouble of rooting it for me.