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.



20 comments on “In A Vase on Monday – Jungle Gardenias

  1. FlowerAlley says:

    G.j. wins, hands down. I can’t even imagine a 10 ft tall Gardenia.
    We wouldn’t plant them in the church courtyard, because we did not want to knock folks over with the aroma.
    The fennel makes the arrangement for me. Good job Queen.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I wish I could grow gardenias…such a beautiful flower and how they shine in your black vase with the coral vine!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Cathy says:

    I have no experience of gardenias at all, or their smell, but it was intriguing to hear about yours. I guess the heat must bring out the fragrance of most things so does that contribute to the intenseness?


  4. I love the vase and the story of your flirtation with a signature fragrance. I love gardenias too, although they struggle here, especially now with the water restrictions. However, I remember that my mother had a huge gardenia shrub (not 10 feet tall but a good 6-7 feet) planted alongside the house in the miserably hot inland valley I grew up in. It must have had very deep roots to survive the summer heat, not to speak of my mother’s inattention, but I’ve not been able to duplicate her success in my own garden – my poor 1-foot tall gardenia is just barely hanging on.


    • Thank you, you may want to try one of the Florida Gardenias if you don’t get frost. This one is in an unirrigated area and I rarely think of watering it. The scent is not quite as strong as the Gj.


  5. Chloris says:

    Oh wonderful. I love the scent of gardenia. Here they are sold as pot plants and I have killed quite a few. I think they need high humidity and lose the will to live in my house. How wonderful to have them growing into large shrubs. I love your arrangement Amy, the gardenia looks wonderful with the Coral vine. The fern and fennel are are a nice touch too.


  6. Christina says:

    A beautiful vase; it must smell wonderful. Some perfumes are better at a distance; my Trachelospermum is like that – wonderful when it wafts on the breeze but overpowering close to. I’d love to grow Gardenias but I’m nervous it would be too cold in winter for them, perhaps I should try.


  7. I love gardenias. I don’t know what kind I have, but they can nicely scent the house when brought in.


  8. Hannah says:

    How funny, I remember Jungle Gardenia perfume! I love the fragrance of Gardenias and have been frustrated trying to grow them up here, Amelia. The last one I bought optimistically, Frost Proof, and tried to keep by my sink to enjoy the blooms during the winter, which I had done before, didn’t like the way I watered it or something and died before I could try to plant it outside. You were so fortunate to find the buried Florida gardenia as well as grow the other gardenia, they look lovely in the vase and must smell divine!


  9. Oh, to sigh for! What a pretty arrangement. Both pretty and elegant at the same time, Amy.


  10. cyndilenz says:

    I love this post. It made me think of my mom who loved Gardenias and the beautiful gardenia bush I had in Boca at my old house. I love that smell coming thru the windows.


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