Well, here's the thing: Last winter, knowing nothing about gardenias except that they smell nice, I bought my mother a gorgeous blooming gardenia from Whole Foods. Sadly, she did not have the window bed in the nursing home, so the gardenia turned brown after several weeks. Her roommate put the plant in the window to revive it, but someone knocked it over and whatever wasn't already dead fell out of the pot. I took it home and nursed it through the spring. It was just starting to look respectable when some of the leaves turned yellow.
What is wrong with my gardenia? I asked the Internets.
Then I laughed myself sick over this thread at Garden Web, "The Suicidal Gardenia
." Most of it is hilarious. Here are some choice snippets:
"i cannot tell you the number of gardenias i have coddled and cossetted and pampered and prayed over. every year i tell myself that i will NOT buy another gardenia - but every year i walk into White Rose and there they are - heavily budded, the odd bloom wafting a fragrance sent from heaven. and, of course, i am seduced once again. one year i succeeded in getting a gardenia to produce about a dozen blooms - the ladies of the horticultural club who were touring my garden were simply ga ga over it. it was the centre of attention and i was unabashedly proud. i thought i had discovered all the tricks and techniques. ha! t'was a fluke. the plant kakked within weeks. i did it again this year - bought another gardenia - misted and threw acid at it - even coffee grains. the fourteen beautiful buds that came with it never did open and every morning it looked a little less perky, a little more yellow. finally, yesterday, i had a talk with myself. "self", said i, "you have enough trouble with the husband and kid and mutt without taking all this grief from a plant" i tossed it on the compost heap."
"I'm fifteen, and my great grandmother who lived next to us for years grew a gardenia. She never did any thing for it and it bloomed every year like crazy. Even after she moved out and it doesn't even get watered anymore, it still blooms. "
"DEAR JOAN, ONLY AN IDIOT WOULD SPEND THAT MUCH TIME AND EFFORT FOR A SIMPLE PLANT! MY FRIENDS RECOMMENDED THAT I TAKE UP GARDENING TO RELAX AND ENJOY NATURE. OVER THE PAST SIX YEARS I BOUGHT EIGHT BEAUTIFUL AND FRAGANT GARDENIAS, MYSTERY, FIRST LOVE AND ETC AND AFTER SIX YEARS THESE SIMPLE PLANTS HAVE TAUGHT ME HOW TO RELAX. AFTER SIX YEARS I TAKE FOUR VALIUM AND A HALF A GALLON OF SCOTCH AND STAGGER OUT FOR MY NEXT TRY [...] AFTER 3000 HRS ON THE INTERNET, GARDENING BOOKS AND HELP FROM THREE HUNDRED PROFESSIONAL GROWERS AND FOUR GARDENING CDS, HERE WHAT I HAVE LEARNED. THEY LIKE WATER BUT YOU HAVE TO KEEP THE SEMI DRY.THEY LOVE SUN BUT YOU HAVE TO KEEP IN THE SHADE. YOU FEED THEM OFTEN, DESCRIBED AS SOMEWHERE BETWEEN TWO DAYS AND TWO YEARS ONLY ON SUNDAYS WITH A BLUE MOON RISING. THEY LOVE NORTHERN EXPOSURE IF YOU HAVE THEM ON THE SOUTHERN. THEY LOVE ACID AND IRON UNLESS YOU GIVE IT TO THEM. THEY LOVE TO GROW SPIDER MITES,WHICH YOU CANT SEE, AND APHIDS. I HAVE FOUND IF YOU BUY OLDER PLANTS THEY TAKE LONGER TO DIE.MY FRIEND SUGGESTED THAT WHEN ONE OF THE PLANTS WASNT DOING WELL TO MOVE TO THE NORTHERN SUN WHICH HELPED A LOT. IT DIED QUICKER. WELL I HAVE TO GO NOW MY FRIENDS IN THE WHITE JACKETS ARE COMING TO PULL ME AWAY FROM MY BELOVED GARDENIA. IT'S OKAY I HEAR THEY HAVE A SALE ON GARDENIA IN THE NOVELTY SHOP."
Labels: garden, house