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Thursday, July 31, 2014

The White Gardenia

What's that smell?  People always ask that as they climb the steps to our porch. Most people don't recognize the lovely fragrance of the Gardenia plant.

But it was the first plant I thought of when we bought our new house. There was a little niche by the stairs leading to the porch. And I just knew that this very attractive plant would help welcome visitors with its dark green leaves and beautiful, white, fragrant flowers.

It's become another Southern favorite because it does well in the Texas heat and can be easily pruned. These plants can grow from 2 to 8 feet, but I prune it every spring because I want to keep it as a little bush. It will bloom from early spring to late fall, and it's proven to be fairly hearty because it has survived every winter here in Texas with no problems at all.

When you make landscape and/or gardening decisions, you have to consider things like soil, sun, and weather. You have to know the soil in your yard and which types of plants can be supported and also the amount of sun certain plants need in order to be planted in optimal areas.

The area by the porch was perfect for a gardenia because the soil was rich in clay with lots of rock and was pretty acidic. Whatever was planted there would be in full sun for half the day and then in shade during the afternoon, but it would also be protected from the north wind by the porch. Overall, it was the perfect spot for a gardenia which has always been a favorite of mine.

The gardenia holds a special place in my heart as I remember my mother and her mother always had gardenia plants in their gardens. I remember thinking the scent of the gardenia was wild and exotic.

I don't find the smell so exotic these days, but there's just something about the gardenia that makes me smile each time I spy a new bloom.

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