Like most of you, Grumpy loves a gardenia. If there is a plant on Earth whose flowers emit a more powerfully sweet scent, I haven’t smelled it. Thus, I have a gardenia in my yard, my next-door neighbor does too, as does just about everybody else up and down the street.
From observing this, I have come to the following conclusion. There are many places to plant a gardenia, but the absolute worst is right in front of your house. The photo above shows the reason.
A gardenia bush typically opens its main flush of blooms over several weeks in late spring and early summer. Flowers unfurl alabaster white into perfectly shaped corsages. The problem is, blooms don’t stay white for long. After a week or so, the oldest blooms turn yellow and then brown and remain on the shrub even as new flowers open. The photo reflects the result. Is the gardenia half-alive or half-dead? It doesn’t really matter—it’s not an attractive sight and surely not one you want to occupy a featured spot in front of the house.
You could pick off the blooms as soon as they start to fade, but who really does that? A really bored person, that’s who. Thus, it behooves all of us to select a place for gardenia where we don’t have to do that—maybe the backyard, the side yard, or a courtyard. Any place but out front. That way, we get to enjoy the weeks of perfume without worrying that the neighbors think we don’t take pride.
WATCH: Grumpy Gardener's Guide to Gardenias
I’m sure many of you reading this already have gardenias planted out front. No need to feel ashamed and wear bags over your heads. You can always move the plants to a better spot this fall. Or don’t. But if you choose the latter, be prepared to field questions like this: “Why is your gardenia dying?”