My mother loved the scent of gardenias so much that year after year my father tried to grow them for her in Chicago, where we can now confirm definitively they will never survive the winter. She made do with an annual Mother’s Day corsage, sniffing her wrist and warning us not to touch the delicate white petals lest they turn yellow.
How my mother would have loved the gardenias at my house last week—dozens of velvety flowers on stems long enough to make bouquets. Raised on a California farm, High Camp Supply’s gardenias were cut just before they were ready to bloom, packed in bubble wrap, nestled on top of ice packs, and shipped overnight. They made a dramatic entrance:
Photography by Mimi Giboin for Gardenista.Gardenias have the sort of intoxicating, Proustian fragrance that reminds everyone of something. For me, the memory is Mother’s Day circa 1968: The crabapple tree in the front yard is in bloom, my mother and my grandmothers have their white corsages, and we’re in the Buick, headed to a restaurant for brunch. I am wearing my black patent leather Mary Janes (as in every important memory from my childhood).
You can see why I jumped at the chance to field-test High Camp Supply’s gardenias.
N.B.: If you are thinking ahead to Mother’s Day (or a bridal bouquet), see more of our favorite fragrant flowers:
- Lily of the Valley: Rethinking a Springtime Posy.
- Nursery Visit: David Austin Roses in Shropshire.
- Gardening 101: Roses.
- Back to Africa: At Home in My Mother’s Garden.