Weekend Waterview: Gardenias, Great Blue Heron and Glorious Sunset


Happy Weekend! After a week of being spoiled by lower humidity and cool morning temperatures, it’s hot and sultry here this weekend. You know it’s summer when it’s hot at night!


It’s perfect weather for gardenias! They don’t mind the hot and humid weather (unlike me ;) and are blooming. . .

I wish you could smell them. . .

Their fragrance wafted my way when I stepped out onto the porch alerting me to the fact that they were in bloom before I saw them.


“Sultry as a summer evening and as intoxicating as an exotic perfume, the scent of gardenias settles like a memory onto your soul. The blossoms are just as enticing.”


“Buds shaped like seashells unfurl into velvet soft flowers in the warmth and humidity of early evening. But it’s the fragrance that captivates.”

~Southern Living

Our gardenias are 15+ years old. They were here when we bought our house and have thrived since we put in irrigation about ten years ago.


Gardenias are subtropical plants that thrive in warm, humid weather. Most gardenias are hardy in zones 8-11, with a few varieties hardy to zone 7. We’re in zone 7b here in North Carolina.


We don’t do much pruning. They grow in a natural area and provide us with a living fence and privacy from the neighbors.

Gardenias can handle full sun as long as they have some protection from the afternoon sun. Ours get morning sun and the light shade of a River Birch tree in the afternoon. When we first moved here, I discovered by accident that they thrive with fertilizer for acid-loving plants when I fed the azaleas that were planted next to them.




Our resident Great Blue Heron has been fishing from our dock when he’s not sun bathing from the boat lift.

He’s a very patient fishermen and entertaining to watch!

I’ll leave with a glorious sunset. . .

Hope you’re enjoying some beautiful weather and sunsets where you are. ♥

Thank you for your visit!

Sharing with:
Gardens Galore @ Everyday Living
 Metamorphosis Monday,The ScoopWow Us WednesdaysFeathered Nest Friday

  42 comments for “Weekend Waterview: Gardenias, Great Blue Heron and Glorious Sunset

  1. June 10, 2018 at 7:46 am

    What a beautiful flower- I wish I could smell it! The pictures of the blue heron are fantastic. How fun to be able to observe it so closely. Have a beautiful Sunday!

  2. June 10, 2018 at 7:47 am

    I love gardenias and Great Blue Herons! Your photos brought a smile to my face this Sunday morning. I had about four gardenias for several years but they really weren’t in the right place and didn’t last very long. I loved to smell them when they were blooming. I just may have to go out and get some more!

  3. Marie in AZ
    June 10, 2018 at 8:02 am

    Beautiful! Believe it or not, we were able to grow gardenias at a former house of ours here in AZ…they were by the front entrance, and their fragrance greeted our guests at certain times of the year. At our current home, we planted a wall of jasmine, which smell so sweet you can actually get drunk with their heavy fragrance when walking by! Have a happy Sunday.

  4. Loryl
    June 10, 2018 at 8:13 am

    Your gardenias are beautiful! They would never survive outside here in the Midwest but a friend of ours that once owned a flower shop has a plant in the sunroom of his home. I had a dozen gardenias in my wedding bouquet, it was spectacular. Thank you for your wonderful photos!

  5. June 10, 2018 at 8:18 am

    Just beautiful! Been following you for many years and always refer back to your blog when I need gardening inspiration and your beautiful tablescapes are often an attempted duplication for a passion of “all things tablescapes” of mine. Just always so beautiful!!
    I’m in Raleigh and usually looking forward to fall by now 😳. Thanks for all the beautiful inspiration.

    • June 10, 2018 at 8:31 am

      Lol Janie! I can relate, our “spring” season seems to be about 2 weeks! Fall can’t get here quick enough for me. Thank you for your visits and sweet comment. Happy Sunday❣️🌺🌱🌺🍽🌞

  6. June 10, 2018 at 8:55 am

    I absolutely love the smell of,gardenias and they are blooming in my garden! What a beautiful sunset! Thank you Mary for your picture perfect views!

  7. Cherie
    June 10, 2018 at 9:08 am

    I love gardenias and your bush is beautiful. I have one small bush and I thought it was a goner. It had dead limbs and 1, yes 1, bud that never opened. I cut off the dead limbs, gave it a little fertilizer, and left it alone. Well this spring I have had at least 10 blooms with a few more buds. I think there is hope 😊

  8. Donna zoltanski
    June 10, 2018 at 9:14 am

    Absolutely gorgeous!

  9. Cyndi Raines
    June 10, 2018 at 9:33 am

    What a beautiful post! That gardenia bush is so full of lovely flowers and the quote from Southern Living so fitting. I wish I could smell them also! Love the pure whiteness of this large flower and yet it is so delicate looking. The buds being shaped like shells, puts it over the top! Have you given Mr. Heron a name? He would be fun to watch. Thank you for the beautiful sunset pictures. Please add these pictures to your line of greeting cards or a calendar. I’ll subscribe! 😃 Enjoy your “Day of Rest”, Happy Sunday!

  10. Anne
    June 10, 2018 at 9:35 am

    Mary your photographs just make my heart sing! Beautiful.

  11. Claire
    June 10, 2018 at 9:51 am

    Oh, Mary, what a beautiful post about beautiful flowers. Here in Western Maryland there is no way we can grow gardenias, but being from Charleston, SC ( this is home) they grew in every family members’ yards as did Carolina jasmine. I miss both and their beautiful smells. Your post both the scents of both to mind on an overcast and cool Sunday morning. Thanks as always for such a wonderful post.

  12. June 10, 2018 at 10:10 am

    Mary, the idea of walking out to the fragrance of gardinia makes me smile. I tried a gardinia in a pot, but was unsuccessful keeping it alive. I want to try them again in a new courtyard we are planning. They need more sun than my previous spot provided. It is definitely hot here. Some days are a bit better than outhers, but summer is definitely here. Stay cool and enjoy those lovely blooms.

  13. June 10, 2018 at 10:13 am

    I wish I could smell your gardenias, Mary! It must smell heavenly around your garden. Thank you for the beautiful sunset views as a parting gift. Happy Sunday to you. xo

  14. June 10, 2018 at 10:22 am

    Beautiful!! The southern states get to have some beautiful plants that we in the North would never be able to keep!! That’s what some people love about the South!! Thanks for sharing!, ❤️

  15. Alice
    June 10, 2018 at 10:34 am

    Growing up we lived out in the country in NC and there was a church across the road that we attended. In the Summer there would always be a revival that last a week. This was before there was air conditioning in the church. The revival was held at night and all the windows were open. There was a large gardenia bush on the lawn of the church and the smell would fill the church. Oh, there were no screens on the windows and the night bugs were everywhere. What memories!

  16. Camille morgan
    June 10, 2018 at 10:56 am

    I love your pictures and reading about your plants. You are very inspiring !
    How you come up with something different every time is amazing. Thank you!

  17. June 10, 2018 at 11:39 am

    Such gorgeous blooms Mary, I am sure the fragrance is enchanting…yes summer has arrived in the South, luckily it’s cooler on the coast than inland. We’ve had a perfect weekend for fishing and boating, but supposed to rain all next week. I could watch our resident blue heron, Freddy, for hours, he does some crazy stuff!!

  18. Martha Franks
    June 10, 2018 at 11:53 am

    Mary, we have a gardenia by the side of our deck and it is just so lovely to smell. It is right beside a step down into the yard and I brush against it each time I go there. Needless to say, I lean into it! Thanks for the great photography! Love your blue heron and your sunsets. Thanks for sharing with your fans!

  19. Virginia
    June 10, 2018 at 12:28 pm

    Oh Mary, how envious I am at the sight of your beautiful gardenias. This past winter was unusually brutal in NE North Carolina. When we moved in this house there was a well established gardenia which was always full of beautiful flowers in the spring. Even though the blooms are short lived I enjoyed sharing them with my neighbors. About five ago years ago I planted six dwarf gardenia. They were just so beautiful until now. The large gardenia and two of the dwarf ones died back to the ground and are just beginning to sprout new growth from the roots, the others suffered greatly. I have removed all the dead branches but now have an invasion of white flies. Early in the spring I fertilized them well with Holly Tone and phosphorous and yesterday dusted them with sevens. I am considering buying ladybugs. Do you have any other recommendation? Thank you for the beautiful photographs, your advice and awesome creative ideas.

    • June 10, 2018 at 12:51 pm

      Hi Virginia! I really don’t have any words of wisdom or a green thumb when it comes to gardenias. Ours is an old fashioned variety and it’s just dumb luck that they like their location and are protected from extra cold winters. Their proximity to the water from the lake provides some additional warmth in the dead of winter.

      I have an infestation of aphids on my guara and honeysuckle that was just starting to bloom. I was treating them with insecticidal soap but have been tempted to order ladybugs so they could feast! If you find a good online source for ladybugs let me know. 🌸🌱 🐞 🌞

  20. Virginia
    June 10, 2018 at 1:00 pm

    Thanks Mary, I have used neem oil in the past with moderate success because it is not very effective once the temperature rises. This year it seemed like we went straight from winter to summer. I am headed outside to get a little more gardening done before the next rain storm and will investigate ladybugs this evening. 🌻🌞🌺🌸🌼🌷

  21. June 10, 2018 at 2:11 pm

    What a treat this is! Gardenias may be my favorite, especially for their scent! I had a gardenia topiary plant that lasted about 3-4 years. I also had a gardenia that started as a little 4 in plant for the grocery and grew into a bush (in a LARGE pot) and then all of a sudden just died???? I will have to try again. I wish I could grow them outside, yours are spectacular! It is raining right now here, the 7th weekend of rain:( Hoping we have GOOD weather at OBX, we will be there 6/17- 6/24. Crossing my fingers!!!!

  22. June 10, 2018 at 2:43 pm

    I love everything about gardenias. I love they stay green in winter with pretty foliage and the beautiful fragrant blossoms. They hold up in arrangements and they root easily.I rooted three and did not put them back far enough in the bed. They have outgrown the spot and really need to be moved before they get any bigger but I can’t do it with back issues.
    Your heron pics are great and the sunset is glorious!
    I’ve been talking about and not acting upon ordering lady bugs also. Wish we lived closer and could share an order. I think they come in large batches.

  23. Linda L Hovgaard
    June 10, 2018 at 3:17 pm

    Swoon! Oh how I wish I could grow Gardenias here. Love the white against the dark green foliage with an amazing scent to boot. Love the photo with your white dovecote. Mr. Heron is pretty cool too. I am fortunate to have those at our coast house in Astoria on the Little John Day River. They are fun to watch. Your sunset photos are beautiful too. Thanks for sharing….

  24. Sandy Park
    June 10, 2018 at 3:30 pm

    OOOOOO I can smell the gardenias. I was given a gardenia plant several years ago and it has 2 buds on it. I’m impatiently waiting for them to open. Thanks for sharing your beautiful flowers.

  25. Rita C.
    June 10, 2018 at 3:57 pm

    Wonderful gardenias and sunset! I worked hard M, W and F in my garden this week, also enjoying cooler temps a couple days. Today was just 1hr wateing, otherwise staying indoors to escape the heat, humidity. A boat cruise with a breeze would be a good prescription against the heat.

  26. Paula
    June 10, 2018 at 4:35 pm


    What a beautiful flower , picture perfect !!
    Have a cool week !

  27. June 10, 2018 at 8:04 pm

    Looks like a spectacular weekend in NC Mary! We’ve had a rainy day here (kinda the norm now???) G-Mom-B had a gardenia in her house, I used to spritz it with water… Believe it or not, it would bloom, not as prolifically, but still nice for indoors-enjoy:@)

  28. Virginia
    June 10, 2018 at 9:45 pm

    Mary I found ladybugs for sale from Arbico Organics. We are going out of town Wednesday for our nephew’s graduation. I am going to order them to arrive after our return. Crossing fingers 🐞

    • June 11, 2018 at 6:35 am

      Thank you for the info Virginia! 🐞Safe travels to you❣️

  29. Alma
    June 10, 2018 at 11:47 pm

    Mary- Although I rarely have time to comment I do so enjoy your posts.

    Four years ago circumstances led me back to full time work and my blog went by the wayside. I only have the opportunity to tablescape occasionally and miss those days but time moves on.

    It’s wonderful to see you continue at your art. You are truly an artist.

    – Alma, The Tablescaper

    • June 11, 2018 at 6:33 am

      Thank you for your sweet comment Alma! I miss your beautiful tablescapes (and Seasonal Sundays link party) but still see them on Pinterest! ♥

  30. Granny 35 (France)
    June 11, 2018 at 2:57 am

    Encore une merveille de votre jardin ! Mais ne pleut-il jamais chez vous ? Ici, en Bretagne les orages du week-end ont saccagé beaucoup de fleurs.
    Je vous souhaite une excellente journée au milieu de vos si jolies fleurs.

  31. S Williams
    June 11, 2018 at 12:08 pm

    Mary, what a wonderful lakeside view with the blue heron, beautiful sunset & sweet smelling gardenias! They were all such relaxing sights to enjoy & I did so with a grateful heart for the beauty you share with us. Your description can transport someone to the beautiful place you are describing & for many that is a much needed respite after a long day of work, traveling, etc. You have a wonderful talent & thank you for sharing it with us! I am sure there are countless busy moms, older shut ins or infirmed individuals, & others that may never comment on your posts but enjoy them immensely. You bring great joy, serenity & perspective in your endeavors. Have a great day! Clara 🌻 😃

    • June 11, 2018 at 1:47 pm

      Thank you for your high praise and visits Clara! {insert *blush*} 🌺🌸🌞 Have a great week❣️

  32. June 11, 2018 at 3:36 pm

    Wild over gardenias, I planted several but no flowers yet, plus a few are turning bright yellow, I think I need iron to make them happy… I can smell your hot sultry garden from here, they permeate the area around them. Perfect place to sit, sniff and enjoy your beautiful sunsets!

  33. Nancy Townsend
    June 12, 2018 at 10:10 pm

    Love those gardenias and blue heron! Wish I could grow them in Phoenix, its just to hot. 109 degrees today and we have had 121 degrees a couple of years ago! It’s so fun to travel to your side of the country and enjoy your lake pictures, table settings, doggies and beautiful decorating ideas. Thank you!

  34. June 15, 2018 at 4:05 pm

    So wonderful to have great gardenias in your garden…I used to have beautiful shrubs of them in Florida … and a Heron too on the lake… My mom used to pour pickle juice on them and they did so well…so I had done the same and they seemed to like adding sour to their sweetness! My shrub did not survive the cold winter a few winters ago…will love to try my hand at them again in the next garden…

  35. June 25, 2018 at 8:29 am

    Mary, I ordered some ladybugs right after commenting on this post. So far I don’t see them active in the garden. I saw a few for a few days and then nothing. They do come in large batches. Did you order any?

  36. Pam Richardson
    June 25, 2018 at 11:54 pm

    Hi Mary, I do love gardenias…I still have a rogue bloom or two. Thanks you for your support of Gardens Galore!

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