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The Shrub Queen: Jungle Gardenias

In A Vase on Monday – Jungle Gardenias

 

As a teenager, I determined I needed a signature fragrance (too many magazines and/or romantic stories once again) I chose Jungle Gardenia as my fragrance. Unfortunately, I soon realized most people did not want to ride in a car with me due to the robustness of the perfume.

Growing up in the Deep South, I associate Gardenias with summer and sleeping by an open window  (far away from the shrub) with breezes drifting in wafts of the fragrance of my mother’s Gardenias. A pleasant thought unless you consider the windows were open due to lack of air conditioning and July is miserably hot. Nevertheless, I have fond memories of the fragrance of Gardenias and was looking forward to the flowers on my tropical Florida Gardenias.

Florida Gardenias are different from Gardenias I grew up with. Botanically they are Tabernaemontana divaricata, native to tropical regions of India and Southeast Asia, these are tropical and frost will kill them. The Gardenias I grew up with are Gardenia jasminoides and they will tolerate some frost. The Florida Gardenia in my garden was unearthed after clearing out the overgrown missteps of a previous owner (polite description) I was surprised to find a 10 foot tall sort of oversized Gardenia growing under all sorts of junk that hadn’t seen fertilizer, water or the light of day in who knows how long. I cut off a few bad pieces and hoped for the best. It has bravely regrouped and is flowering, I hope someday it will be a nice tree form Gardenia, the foliage is lovely and somewhat bigger than G. jasminoides.

Here is a close up of the Gardenias, the Gardenia jasminoides is in the center and the Florida Gardenias are on the sides. Some people call these Pinwheel Gardenias for obvious reasons.

Rounding out the posy in pink, Coral Vine, the foliage is from Culinary Fennel and Boston Fern. The cobalt blue vase was a Christmas gift from my brother and sister in law years ago.

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