Saturday, June 21, 2008

Perfume from the garden

I must confess that I am a great admirer of gardenias. In my eco-farm I have planted rows of them along the farm access road. But two varieties that I like best are the common gardenia ( Cape Jasmine or known botanically as Gardenia jasminoides) and another species that is variegated as shown here.

The flowers of this variegated species have petals like the rose. They turn slightly yellowish upon wilting. I chose two flowers this morning and had my dining area perfumed in an instant.

I made the gardenia as the focus of today's arrangement. To add a jazzy touch, I included the end tips of a young coconut frond, red leaves of the 'fire brand' ( Cordyline terminalis) , and young leaves of the wild banana. To upscale the mood, I added the golden yellow bracts of the heliconia lobster claw species.

It has been narrated that among the Tahitian islanders, if a man wears a 'tiare' ( Tahitian gardenia) on his left ears, it means he is 'quite content' romantically, If on the right ear, he' is looking' and if on both ears,'has someone and wants more'. In Sarawak however, the Malay girls like to collect the petals and broadcast it over the bed or under the pillow to enjoy its heavy fragrance.

There are about 200 known varieties in the world andhere in Malaysia the gardenias were initially introduced from China. For that matter the gardenia flower is sometimes called 'Bunga Cina', meaning'Chinese flower.'

Gardenias love semi shade. Be generous when watering them and will respond you in kind if you dress it in rich compost and fertiliser. These simple acts will be rewarded with abundant flowering.


Chahya said...

My frangipanis however rarely blooms. When it does, it's something to celebrate and admire for when the flowers wilt and fall, they take a long time to appear again. I must say you really have green fingers. Nice floral arrangements.


Thanks for dropping by. Frangipanis love the open sun and a well-drained soil.Probably you need to give the tree a good mulching of compost and regular fertilising.There again if they do not receive ample water or being watered inconsistently, the flowers will not get to full bloom or the buds may fall off. In such a case it is best to give it a thorough soaking twice a week, instead of daily spray of watering.