When I was about four years old, I distinctly remember the magic of fragrant flowers. It was the face of a pansy flower's soft petals caressing my nose. One of my parents had planted a bunch of them in our front yard on the other side of the driveway. To this day, when I stick my nose in a pansy blossom, I'm that four year old once more.
|Circa 1964, My little brother Ronnie and me|
Fast forward six years and I'm in Hawaii, discovering good and bad things about life. The good things included fragrant flowers. I remember my mother taking us to visit one of her wealthy friends who lived in a beautiful house and garden on a hillside in Kailua, Kona. Included in the landscape was a ginormous, blossoming Gardenia bush.
Back in Oregon as an adult, my love of plants has never wavered and I continue to love a fragrant flower!
Years ago I bought a 'Kleim's Hardy' Gardenia, erroneously assuming that it would grow in Oregon since it was labeled "hardy." It didn't go well. I still longed for that Gardenia fragrance of my childhood and when Gardenia 'Frostproof' came on the scene I hesitated for fear of failure but in 2013, decided to go for it.
Of course, the following winter would be brutal with temperatures dipping low into the single digits. I tucked a blanket around my baby (one gallon) Gardenia and hoped for the best. And it lived!
The next year I was equally tentative of its survival and babied it with blankets during the coldest weather. But it survived and grew more!
|July 2015 |
|July 2016 |
Neither of us could be happier.
It usually starts blooming in July.
|July 2018 |
By the end of the month, it is full bloom and will continue until frost.
|July 25, 2018|
|July 2019 |
The flowers turn brown after a few days and it will improve the look of the plant if they are clipped off. I enjoy the task because of the yummy scent.
|August 4, 2019 |
Here we are, seven years later and the plant is happy as can be, with flowers popping open daily. It stands almost four feet tall and two and a half feet wide. I provide it a compost top dressing and ample water during the dry months to keep the soil moist. It gets morning sun and afternoon shade.
|July 2020 |
I will admit that during the winter months the plant can look a bit ragged. So much so that last year I bought another one gallon plant just in case my first one died. However, it appears that the warm weather of summer is the remedy. Here's my newbie (below), blooming and looking full of promise.
Granted, I live in a relatively warm-winter climate, Zone 8b with winter temps averaging about 38 degrees or so. When we do get a freeze it is generally over quickly. If you live in an area colder than Zone 7 (0 degrees Fahrenheit) you could grow Gardenia 'Frostproof' in a pot and bring it inside for the winter. It's definitely worth the effort.
Are you growing this plant? I hope you're enjoying your summer. Thank you for visiting.