When jBr moved into her new home last month, she instructed her husband and oldest son to dig up the dead plants standing amidst the rest of the lovely front garden beds. Not surprisingly other priorities, as well as soaring temperatures, prevented their unearthing the shovels and removing the offending dead branches. Much to jBr’s delight, their procrastination paid off.
On July 3rd, she spied out of her bedroom window a single gardenia bloom. That’s when she also noticed that the dead branches were being overtaken with bright green leaves. Had her boys complied with her instructions, jBr never would have known that these mature garden beds were harboring two tantalizingly aromatic treasures.
All Spring local flower lovers have been grumbling about the state of their gardenia bushes. The bitter late winter really did a number on everyone’s favorite shrub. Our Zone 7 location puts RVA just north of the gardenia-friendly border, and savvy gardeners understand that with one ill-timed storm Old Man Winter has the power to destroy one of the sweet-smelling triune of our Southern gardens.
Even when planted in a sunny yet protected location with prayers offered on bended knee, unsightly freeze-bite always remains a possibility. Fortunately, the gardenias that have been hybridized for colder climes over the last couple of decades do stand a chance of surviving what appears to be certain death when temperatures plummet. She may be taking her own sweet time, but Mother Nature’s ability to repair Old Man Winter’s destruction finally seems to be healing our gardenias this summer.
The moral of jBr’s story: don’t jump the gun when it comes to your gardenia bushes. They just might surprise you and overcome the harsh results of ice and bitter cold. The reward for patience (or in jBr’s case, procrastination) will be a delicious scent wafting in the garden breeze in late summer and into the fall.
July 9, 2015