In Love with Gardenias

One Gardenia
These pure and beautiful white or pink-tinged flowers symbolize a budding ecstasy, usually the result of secret and newly blooming love. Sent solo or in a bouquet, they’re meant to tell the recipient “I think I’m in love with you.”  Source

In the very first corsage my father gave to my mother there was a gardenia. I wonder if he knew the secret meaning of this fragrant flower? It was their first date and they were going to a Greek dance in town. Mom told me she placed the corsage on her left shoulder so when she danced with my Dad, her parents (my grandparents) couldn’t see it. 🙂

Why? Because if you had strict immigrant parents, dating back then in the 50’s was a huge deal. More than one or two dances with a strange man and boy, you got asked the questions. And a corsage? Even bigger questions!

Fast forward all these years and my sisters and I are big fans of gardenias. For my mother’s eighty fifth birthday this month my sister Mary brought her a gardenia plant. It wasn’t long before it was sprouting buds and blooming. We have all been amazed because frankly, we haven’t had the best luck getting gardenia plants to bloom.

Two GardeniasIf you have ever smelled a gardenia, you know you are either a fan or not. Their strong fragrance turns some off, but I love it and the heady perfume is one I never tire of. When I was a small girl, my maternal grandparents had a large gardenia plant in their sun room. I didn’t know it but my mom tells me that my grandfather watered it faithfully with miracle gro. I do remember Papou (my grandfather) with a q-tip on occasion and I bet he was wiping off those pesky white mites that can be such a nuisance with flowering house plants.

I am completely in love with gardenias to the extent that I wanted a gardenia corsage on my wrist during my vow renewal with Jim for our twenty fifth anniversary a few years ago.

It is amazing how some flowers will evoke a strong response in us that we may not even be conscious of. It is such the case with gardenias. Their beauty and fragrance never fail to take me away to a place back in time. Mostly they remind me of my grandmother, who loved to pick a flower off her beautiful plant and place it behind her ear.

A read an interesting fictional novel recently called The Language of Flowers. If the secret meaning of flowers intrigues you, check it out.

Is there a flower that evokes a strong memory for you? Share it with me!

 

 

 

 

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20 thoughts on “In Love with Gardenias

  1. Cathy

    Beautiful story…I fell in love with them in California. They grow into large shrubs there…so you can imagine the fragrance when you walked by one in bloom or the wind blew and you knew there was one nearby.

    Reply
  2. Julie (aka Cookie)

    Oh Joanne, I too love gardenias—having had them in my bouquet when I got married 31 years ago 🙂
    I’ve tried planting several plants but they are not tolerant of cold, and usually perish after the winter–even here in the south, they can struggle—there is nothing more heavenly then their fragrant aroma in a yard!! or bouquet for that matter 🙂
    Thank you for sharing–
    Wedding count down is underway—much success to you and your upcoming “coordinating” –I’ll be thinking about you as I coordinated next Friday’s Rehearsal dinner 🙂
    Cheers and success!!
    Julie

    Reply
    1. Joanne Cain Post author

      Hi Julie! Glad you are a fellow gardenia fan too!
      Best wishes for next weekend- I am so excited and looking forward to this wedding!
      xo Joanne

      Reply
  3. Marianne

    Thank you for sharing that lovely story, scented with the fragrance of Gardenias…I could almost smell them as I read. We have lots of gardenia bushes here in eastern Texas. I don’t own one, but you don’t have to go too far to see one in someones yard.

    Have a lovely weekend, Joanne,
    Marianne xo

    Reply
    1. Joanne Cain Post author

      Marianne, here’s to your lovely weekend as well. I am off to spend time with some dear friends and have a bit of quiet time. My first wedding is next weekend so this is a good time to rest! xo Joanne

      Reply
  4. cindy

    Hi Joanne, what a lovely “scented” story! I could almost smell the beautiful fragrance of this beautiful flower as you shared your stories. Besides loving the flower itself, I have a special connection as my maiden name is Gardina (pronounced the same as Gardenia). My mom always tried to grow a gardenia plant in her sun porch. My mother’s name was Rose Gardina so she represented two flowers! Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    1. Joanne Cain Post author

      Cindy, how cool is that to have your middle name such a beautiful flower! Wow, so special!
      And Rose for your mother + Gardina just sounds like a song for a name. Love it!
      xo Joanne

      Reply
  5. Sunday's Child (trying to be full of grace).

    Hello friend,
    Your fragrant post left me feeling bathed in Grace.
    I loved the way you wove your life and celebrations around such a beautiful flower.
    I adore that we have become friends.
    Friends are the flowers in our garden of life.
    Now, every time I see a Gardenia, of course your smiling face will come to mind.
    Such a lovely, thoughtfully written post.
    I am so glad I stopped by today. Thanks for sharing your goodness.
    Hugs from the left coast.
    D

    Reply
  6. Marylin Warner

    Oh, yes, I am definitely a gardenia fan, Joanne. I love flowers with strong, full fragrances–peonies, lilacs, hyacinths–but gardenias are at the top of my list.
    The story about your parents’ first date is wonderful. I didn’t know the symbolism behind gardenias, so I really enjoyed reading your post.
    When I had to move my parents from their home into an assisted living apartment, I bought them a gardenia plant. My mom loved it and that night she moved it from the living room into their bedroom. She moved it back into the living room the next morning, and during the day I saw her frequently going over and breathing close to the blossoms, closing her eyes and smiling…

    Reply
    1. Joanne Cain Post author

      Marylin, sorry for the delay in responding to your comment! I had to tell you that I can picture your mom moving the gardenia from one room to another. How sweet!
      My mom is equally in love with her gardenia and loves to give me the daily “Bloom” number!
      Blessings to you, Joanne

      Reply
  7. Norma Thomas

    Hi Joanne, My Mother also loved Gardenias and her wedding band was made to look like Gardenias. I still love the beauty and fragrance of the gardenia and am in awe of the fact that in some places in Florida they grown them like we grow hedges here!

    Reply
    1. Joanne Cain Post author

      Well Hello NORMA! Thank you so much for sending me a comment. I would love to see a wedding band that was made to look like gardenias. That would be amazing!
      I believe I’ve seen gardenia hedges in southern states like Florida and I would absolutely love if we could do that here. xo Joanne

      Reply
  8. Gallivanta

    What lovely memories and stories. I am not able to tolerate the gardenia (or lilies) indoors but I love their fragrance outdoors, at a distance. And if I were able to, I would surely join your grandmother in placing a bloom behind my ear.

    Reply
    1. Joanne Cain Post author

      The gardenia flowers are definitely strong. I do love them but I know the smell is not for everyone.
      How’s the weather in your part of the world?

      Reply
  9. Obara Meji

    Nice post. Gardenia’s (most flowers in general, truly) have a lovely fragrance about them that calls in light and airy spirits. Flowers, I think, should be kept in all homes as it welcomes good spirits and energy into the home.

    Reply
  10. Obara Meji

    I love to have Gardenia’s placed on my spiritual altar because of the calm and peaceful spirits it attracts. It can also assist in your spiritual development because of the angelic beings who work with it. They’re very lovely!

    Reply

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