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Gardeners' delight

GREEN NOTES Velvety white petals and a fine fragrance



SUPERB SCENT: Gardenia is also called Cape Jasmine

ALSO CALLED Cape Jasmine, Gardenia belongs to the Rubiaceae family. A native of southern China, this fantastically fragrant flower is a true gardener's delight, with its delicate velvety-white well-formed petals, quite like the rose, glossy green leaves and superb scent.

Strong stems grow to about 10 feet, but the plant can easily be confined to a large pot and kept at a lower height. There is also a Gardenia variegata, with green and white leaves, further adding to the plant's attraction. These can be grown alternately with the green leaved ones to make a tall bushy border along a wall or fence.

The buds are large and take a while to mature into beautiful blooms. Plenty of water is needed to help the plant bloom. Or else the buds will yellow and fall off.

The flowers give off their lovely fragrance in the evenings and remain fresh for about two days on the plant.

Perfectly formed, the blooms have dark centres, setting off the white petals magnificently.

Quite pest-free, gardenia responds well to water, a rich soil that can be enhanced by both chemical or organic feed and an annual pruning.

RUPA GOPAL

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