Southern Gardening: Gardenias decorate, enhance gardens
One spring-blooming shrub that garners almost as much attention as the azalea is the gardenia. The fragrance of the gardenia flower is beyond description, as it is both heady and strong.
The gardenias for our landscapes are known botanically as Gardenia jasminoides. They were brought to the Southeastern United States in the late 1700s from their native range in Japan and China. Some home gardeners refer to these plants as Cape jasmine.
Gardenia is an evergreen with glossy, dark green leaves. The foliage is up to 4 inches long, and the shrub can grow to 6 feet tall and wide. Flowers emerge white and become yellow before fading to brown. There are both single- and double-flowered varieties to choose from.