As I sit on the Lanai, there is the most wonderful aroma that drifts to me on a gentle breeze.
It is hard to describe, but I know it is the beautiful blooms of my gardenia tree that sits just outside my courtyard.
The fragrance is hard to describe, but once you smell it…you will always remember it.
The waxy, gardenia blossom is a swirl of blinding white, and is at once pure and sensual.
It has been said that the gardenia plant sports a flower with the most intoxicating fragrance in the world.
Talk about swooning, this sweetness could easily bring on the vapors that southern women of years gone by may have had.
I have always been attracted to white flowers.
In fact, a couple years ago, I planted a Moonbeam garden, with flowers that only bloom their white brilliance at night.
Talk about fragrance!
One evening, as we sat in my Secret Garden, the Captain said to me…‘what is that beautiful fragrance’?
(Only I think he said ‘smell’) 🙂 and I said it was the night jasmine.
Sad to say, after the Hurricane, the only plant left in the Moonbeam garden is the night jasmine…but I will plant them again. 😉
If you look closely at the above pic, you will see the affects of Hurricane Irma on the gardenia tree.
Those gardenia branches are just now getting their leaves back.
It was so strange, the high winds did no damage to the pool screen over the courtyard, (which we had put in 3 weeks earlier)…. but the top east side of the gardenia tree looked like someone had sheared it. The tree used to look like a perfectly shaped dome…but it will come back again. 🙂
But I digress.
I have fond memories of the Midwest, of sweet fragranced purple and lavender Lilacs, and the bright yellow forsythia blooms that run the entire length of a reddish stem…
However, I can rejoice in the gardenias that grow so easily here in SW Florida…..
…..all you have to do is raise a bloom to your nose and you will be addicted too.
The gardenia is Intolerant of Northern winters, instead it saves its charms for the South….for prom girls’ corsages; blooms floating in birdbaths; and heaven-scented, lazy evenings spent chatting in my Secret Garden or on my Lanai.
The story goes, according to Wikipedia:
In 1758, a gentleman named John Ellis visited a garden outside London to inspect an evergreen shrub thought to be a jasmine, but the plant was blessed with powerfully scented double white flowers.
Ellis conferred with Carolus Linnaeus, the famous Swedish botanist. (Linnaeus had developed the genus-and-species system for scientifically naming and classifying plants.)
Ellis and Linnaeus doubted the plant was a true jasmine.
Ellis had a pen pal friend in Charleston, S.C., who was a Scottish physician and naturalist, whose name was Dr. Alexander Garden (I kid you not)
So after many conversations and studies, Ellis convinced Linnaeus to name the newly found plant, Gardenia jasminoides after his pen pal, Alexander Garden, in Charleston.
In 1762, the New World’s first gardenia was planted in Dr. Garden’s garden right here in the deep south.
Wow! What a story, huh?
This morning, as little Jesse James and I went out to get the morning paper…I couldn’t help but stop and smell the
roses.….oops, I mean the gardenias on my tree.
I picked off a few of the yellowing, faded flowers and they still had a strong fragrance.
How lucky we all are to have such beautiful blooms of all kinds of flowers available to us…no matter where we live.
I love the flowers of the high mountain deserts of New Mexico, which include the yucca, and the bright, red, Indian Paint Brush and Johnny Jump-ups.
The blue and pink hydrangeas and tulip fields of Washington State….and of course the pink and white flowering dogwoods and cherry blossoms of the Eastern Seaboard.
If you haven’t seen the fields of blue bonnets in Texas, you are missing a beautiful sight.
Just look outside your window and I am sure you will see beauty everywhere.
What are some of your favorites?
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Blessings Always, my readers.