You think you know your garden.  All the time you spend out there nurturing plants and enjoying each flower.  Then one day you go outside and you walk into a mystery.  My garden has a lot of pretty flowers, but this is the first white flower that has bloomed.

White flower emerges

I went out to my garden like so many times before.  I was looking at the flowers when out of the corner of my eye I see a white flower. Upon closer inspection, I see several white flowers on what I thought was a small green nondescript bush. It was a very pleasant surprise.  They also had a nice aroma.

Of course, I needed to get to the bottom of this mystery, so I put on my Sherlock Holmes cap and dashed over to Google.  Between searches and advice from my father, we discovered this plant was in the gardenia family.  I did struggle to find the exact one as they look very similar.  The one that kept coming up in searches was “frostproof” Cape Jasmine.  The confusing part is different pictures showed very different leaves on this one.  The flower does look similar, so I am going with that one.

gardenia white flower up close
gardenia bush

Inherited bush

This bush had been left by the previous homeowner and was near death.  It was getting a lot of sun so I moved it under the Japanese Maple. It didn’t do anything there, so I moved it to its current location figuring it might not make it.  Apparently, it likes partial sun with some protection.  So after 2 relocations and 4 years it finally bloomed, go figure.

The Cape Jasmine is said to like full sun to part shade.  That was not my experience with it. This one definitely wants partial sun.  I do live in Georgia and the sun is brutal here so that may be a factor. It can grow up to 4-6 feet and the flowers are around 2-3 inches and white.  They bloom in late spring or early summer, which is right when it bloomed. Hmm…that 4 feet is not going to work where it is currently.  I will have to watch it.

Well, this was a pleasant surprise.  I really had not thought a lot about that shrub as it was small and didn’t seem happy no matter where I put it.  It appears to like where it is now since it is flowering.  I am hoping that next year the blooms will be more spectacular and last a little longer.

Just when you think you have things figured out, Mother Nature gives you a surprise.  It is one I enjoyed.

Average Cost:

$12-19 for a 1-gallon plant

Where to buy:

Walmart, Home Depot, Pike or local nurseries.  You can also buy online from various sites including Amazon.

Savvy Tip:

You can buy seeds at a lower price, but it can take 2 years for them to bloom.  Take a cutting from a current plant, dip the end into root hormone and put them in pots with partial sun. They can root and actually bloom the first year.

There are always flowers for those that want to see them

– Henri Matisse