Sunday, July 18, 2010

Gardenia pickin'

Gardenias love heat and humidity. 
With this summer's non-stop heat wave, they have been very happy. We harvested the blooms this afternoon to store for the wedding bouquets this week. Come on over and see!

This is the lineup of our tallest gardenia trees; they are about fourteen feet each. We have five trees that we over-winter in an unheated studio that never goes below 50 degrees- perfect for them to slow down their growth for four or five months.
They are hard to see here- look for the light gray trunks.

Again- these were hard to photograph, but you get the picture.

We have to stand on a ladder to reach the blooms. Fortunately, Pieter is 6'4", so his reach is much longer than mine! Pieter picks off the blooms and I transport them on a cookie sheet to the kitchen. Today, we harvested 71 blooms. To pick them, you snap the green base of the flower off of its stem. We pick almost fully open blooms and also those not quite open for boutonnieres. The less you touch the gardenia petals, the longer they will last and not turn brown.

They soak in the sink for fifteen minutes to be sure any little critters hiding in there are removed. Then we wrap them in wet paper towels and store them in plastic bags in the refrigerator and then the flower cooler at Pieter's studio.

I never tire of stepping outside and smelling their wonderful fragrance. 
Their waft of scent says summer!

Do you like the gardenia's scent? I suspect either you love it or you can't stand it; there does not seem to be much middle ground on this. I've never smelled a gardenia perfume that quite captured its true scent. 


  1. I can almost smell them! Lovely pics :)

  2. Oh, this smell always reminds me of childhood at my Grandma's in Sacramento. She had the best gardenia perfume (not an 'old lady' perfume - more of a 'fabulous woman' perfume). I wish I had asked her what the scent was so I could get nostalgic every day.

  3. I just bought two gardenia bushes about two weeks ago for our vacation home...they are just now blooming. I've been told I need to feed them food every two weeks...more maintenance than I'm used to with plants, but I want them to be beautiful so I'll take on the task! Lovely post!

  4. It might be a little crazy but I think I can smell them just by looking at 'em!! Such a beautiful scent!!


  5. I never knew you could store them like this. We have one huge plant that produced magnificient blossoms this year, but alas they don't last for long. This is a lovely post. xx's Marsha