Thursday, May 17, 2007

Goodbye Grif's Gardenia

I’ve made all sorts of stupid plant choices in the name of scent. I’ve bought and tried to coddle along demanding or marginally hardy species in the hopes of a singularly fragrant bloom. I think I should no longer visit the Fragrant Plants forum on Garden Web because it just sends me into another tailspin of wasted money, time, and effort. Garden catalogs are no better. For instance, I totally fell for Park’s Seed’s promise of a gardenia hardy to zone 6. Ha!

I purchased and planted two Gardenia augusta Grif’s Select in Fall of ’05. I dug a large hole for each plant and backfilled it with heavily amended soil, hoping that I had provided adequate drainage. The following spring, after a lengthy wait for signs of life, I yanked them from the ground and abandoned the plants in a corner. I later discovered that one of the gardenias had indeed survived, but just barely. I kept it watered over the summer and then planted it in a different spot in Fall of ’06. This spring, it was yanked again. Now, it is really dead.

I can’t say for sure whether it was our nasty clay soil (gardenias abhor clay) or the zone 6 winters that killed the gardenias. Global warming may make outdoor gardenias in Cincinnati a true possibility in the next few years, but I think I’ll just stick with the hothouse variety, kept in the sunroom during the winter and on the deck in the summer, for now. Upon reflection, I guess I haven’t learned much of a lesson at all. I still go through an extraordinary amount of effort for a novel scent.

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6 Comments:

Blogger Kate said...

I'm right with you on this one ... tempted to try plants that are really not meant to grow here ... but, but, I want one, I want to walk out in the morning and be greeted by scents of all manner.

Those garden catalogues are my downfall...

I'll mourn your Grif's Gardenia right alongside you!

11:59 AM  
Blogger Meg said...

I here in Florida and we lost one of our two gardenias, and the other nearly died. I'm not sure why... maybe too much sun? Too much heat? I don't know. I replanted the other one 5 feet away in a shadier spot and it's recovering.

3:24 PM  
Blogger fquinn said...

No wonder you got duped by the Gardenia....
http://www.virtualplanttags.com/vpt.asp?pID=34133&co=410087&cID=671&pr=1
This web page says Grif's Select is hardy to zone 5. Like most people, I like to think it will be different for me....I'll get that out of zone plant to survive....if by nothing else, my sheer willpower to will it to happen.

6:34 AM  
Blogger "Buddy" said...

Regarding your bad luck with your Gardenia's....

I had two gardenia's (August Beauty's) that were on life support. Actually....I think one of them was really "flatlined." In HORRIBLE SHAPE. Almost no leaves, skinny, almost dead.

Then....I discovered coffee grinds. Last year the plants were in the OR (operating room). This year....they were green, lush, and I probably got about 40 blooms per plant. And they grew A LOT. They are beutiful plants now.

Plants like Gardenia's and Azalya's like acidic soil. So....once a month.....I spread coffee grounds from my morning coffee onto the base of ONE of the plants. I have 6 total plants (2 gardenia's and 4 azalya's).....so one week a month is all that is needed (with one day to spare).

Again, just take the coffee grounds and spread them near the base of each plant.

My azalya's were in horrible shape as well (clay soil). They were BEAUTIFUL this year in their first blooming.......and they will likely be beautiful in the early fall when they bloom again.

1:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My advice to you all living in cold climates is to grow your Gardenia plants in pots... move them inside to shelter from the cold in winter and take them back outside in spring and summer... this is what I do and I always have masses of gorgeous blooms every summer on my Gardenia plants :)

5:26 PM  
Blogger Adi said...

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8:22 AM  

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