A Scent-sational Duo: Magnolia and Gardenia

Southern Magnolia bloom | ©homeiswheretheboatis.net #garden #flowers #magnolia

Happy Friday!

I’m sharing some fragrant garden blooms, magnolia and gardenia!

Gardenias | ©homeiswheretheboatis.net #garden #flowers

 I’m always aware when the gardenias are in bloom before I even see them,

by the wonderful fragrance permeating the air. . .

Gardenia | ©homeiswheretheboatis.net #garden #flowers

Gardenias are native to southern China and Japan and were introduced to the western world

in the 18th century, arriving in Charleston, South Carolina.

As its flowers were scented like jasmine, it was known as “Cape Jasmine.”

Gardenia | ©homeiswheretheboatis.net #garden #flowers

They were later christened “gardenia” in honor of Dr. Alexander Garden,

an 18th-century botanist and physician from Charleston.

Gardenias | ©homeiswheretheboatis.net #garden #flowers

Gardenias thrive in warm, humid weather in moist, well-drained soil.

Most gardenias are hardy in USDA zones 8-11, with a few varieties hardy in zone 7. We’re in zone 7b here in North Carolina.

I discovered by accident when I was feeding the azaleas several years ago that they benefit from acid-based fertilizer.

Gardenias | ©homeiswheretheboatis.net #garden #flowers

Gardenias can handle full sun as long as they have protection from afternoon sun in higher growing zones.

Our gardenias receive morning sun and afternoon shade.

Deadheading your gardenia bush by removing fading flowers will encourage more blooms.

Southern Magnolia tree | ©homeiswheretheboatis.net #garden #flowers #magnolia

We have a Southern Magnolia tree, Magnolia grandiflora, in our yard. Southern Magnolia is known
for its thick, glossy leaves and big, fragrant white blooms.
Southern Magnolia typically grows to 60-80’ tall and spans 20-40′ wide so it needs plenty of space to grow.
Southern Magnolia is native to the southeastern United States, spanning from southeastern
North Carolina to central Florida, and west to East Texas.

Southern Magnolia bloom | ©homeiswheretheboatis.net #garden #flowers #magnolia

Our magnolia was already part of the landscape when we bought our house 20 years ago

so it’s probably 35 years old and is approximately 30 feet tall. My hubby always removes some of the lower branches

in the summer to help maintain the lawn, but ideally magnolia should be planted in a natural or mulched area

as it sheds some of its large leaves every. single. day.

The foliage is wonderful to have to decorate for the holidays and sprucing up the window boxes at Christmas

but the leathery leaves are hard to deal with due to their size and as they don’t break down or compost easily.

Southern Magnolia bud | ©homeiswheretheboatis.net #garden #flowers #magnolia

Our magnolia tree typically blooms from mid May to the end of June.

Once fully open, the individual blooms last about a day or two at the most,

but their size and fragrance will take your breath away!

Southern Magnolia bloom | ©homeiswheretheboatis.net #garden #flowers #magnolia

Normally the blooms are too high on the tree and beyond the zoom of my camera lens so I took advantage

of my hubby’s branch trimming to photograph them and arrange some greenery and blooms. . .

Magnolia and gardenia flower arrangement | ©homeiswheretheboatis.net #garden #flowers

A fragrant combination of white blooms and glossy green foliage. . .

Southern Magnolia tree | ©homeiswheretheboatis.net #garden #flowers #magnolia

I placed a ball of chicken wire in an urn for an organic and easy arrangement,

allowing the branches and blooms to ‘do their thing’. Admittedly impractical as far as longevity

for a flower arrangement, but a wonderful way to enjoy the pruned buds, blooms and foliage.

Magnolia and gardenia flower arrangement | ©homeiswheretheboatis.net #garden #flowers

I couldn’t resist mixing in some gardenia blooms with the magnolia. . .

Magnolia and gardenia flower arrangement | ©homeiswheretheboatis.net #garden #flowers

A fragrant pairing and scent-sational arrangement!

Magnolia and gardenia flower arrangement | ©homeiswheretheboatis.net #garden #flowers

Southern Magnolia | ©homeiswheretheboatis.net #garden #flowers #magnolia

Gardenias | ©homeiswheretheboatis.net #garden #flowers

“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

Magnolia and gardenia flower arrangement | ©homeiswheretheboatis.net #garden #flowers

The summer solstice officially arrives this Saturday, marking the first day of summer for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere. We’re on a warming trend with temperatures climbing back to the 90s after a very wet week and colder than normal temperatures.

Magnolia and gardenia flower arrangement | ©homeiswheretheboatis.net #garden #flowers

Happy Summer. ♥

Southern Magnolia bloom | ©homeiswheretheboatis.net #garden #flowers #magnolia

Thank you for your visit, sharing with:

 Between Naps on the Porch

  42 comments for “A Scent-sational Duo: Magnolia and Gardenia

  1. Ann Woleben
    June 19, 2020 at 6:12 am

    Lovely, as always~Thank you for sharing.

  2. Rita C.
    June 19, 2020 at 6:47 am

    What an intoxicating combo! Your arrangement is beautiful.

  3. Laurie
    June 19, 2020 at 6:49 am

    Great pictures!

  4. June 19, 2020 at 6:51 am

    Mary, your scent-sational arrangement is beautiful. We planted our magnolia 41 years ago, it was the first tree we planted after building our house. The fragrance is intoxicating as are gardenias. The two make a lovely pairing. Have a wonderful weekend! ♥️

  5. Kellee
    June 19, 2020 at 7:05 am

    Thank you for sharing the beauty of your blooms! We lost our Magnolias and most of our other very old trees during a tornado that hit our small town in Southwest Georgia March of 2019. This fall and into spring 2021 we will begin the planting of new trees and plants. Magnolias and Gardinias are at the top of our list! And I cannot forget your amazing Limelight Hydrangeas!

    • June 19, 2020 at 7:09 am

      Oh I’m so sorry to hear that Kellee. I hope your shrubs and trees will flourish once planted. ♥

  6. Linda Chapin
    June 19, 2020 at 7:17 am

    In stressful times like these, it really helps to start the day (or sometimes wait for an afternoon cup of tea) with beautiful, calming scenes like yours. We can always find a way to create some beauty in our lives with your example to help!

    • June 19, 2020 at 5:07 pm

      Thank you Linda❤️

  7. Ellen
    June 19, 2020 at 8:19 am

    I’m trying to inhale deeply so that I can smell those heavenly scents!! Next time send the scent in the blog please!! LOL!! 😉

  8. June 19, 2020 at 8:22 am

    I can just imagine the heavenly scent of your beautiful arrangement, Mary. My youngest son included some gardenias in the 140+ shrubs that he planted in his backyard. There are magnolias on my street and somehow those leaves live to end up in my yard!! Lol!! Happy weekend to you. ❤️

  9. Liz
    June 19, 2020 at 8:45 am

    Wow what a lovely combination! I had gardenia as my main flower in my wedding bouquet! I wish we could grow that kind of magnolia up here. I love their leathery leaves and the two tones they have. Beautiful arrangement!

  10. Susan Hudson
    June 19, 2020 at 9:01 am

    There is nothing lovelier than gardenias and magnolias! This southern girl can almost smell your blooms through the beautiful pictures you captured. My hubby fusses about the magnolia leaves- but what enjoyment we get from our tree! Happy Summer! Susan

  11. Linda Goodyear
    June 19, 2020 at 9:02 am

    Thank you for sharing two of my favorites!!

  12. June 19, 2020 at 9:03 am

    What a beautiful ode to gardenias and magnolias! I have gardenias growing in my patio beds and a big magnolia tree lining the driveway in Bham, oh how I am missing their fragrant blooms! Your arrangement using chicken wire is gorgeous! I loved the Southern Living quote…

  13. Clara
    June 19, 2020 at 9:24 am

    Your magnolia tree is beautifully shaped Mary. Love the arrangement. Enjoy your day. Clara♥️

  14. Kathy Menold
    June 19, 2020 at 9:43 am

    We found we had a Magnolia on our property when we moved to N.C. 8 yrs ago. I was delighted to have the leaves for holiday decorating and now it has doubled in size and is in bloom this month. Do the blooms last any longer if floated in bowl of water like Camillias and hellebore? I don’t have a gardenia but my white jasmine vine is blooming and has a similar scent. Haven’t tried cutting any for an inside arrangement but will give it a try.

  15. Kathy Menold
    June 19, 2020 at 9:52 am

    We have a beautiful Magnolia Grandeflora on our property and it is in full bloom this month. Do the blooms last longer if floated in a bowl of water like Hellebores and Camellias? I don’t have any Gardenias but do have Confederate Jasmine which has a similar scent. Haven’t tried using them in an arrangement yet but will give it a try. Thanks for a lovely post and have a celebratory Summer Soltice.

  16. Gail G Stephens
    June 19, 2020 at 9:57 am

    It may not be the right time of year but I always trim my magnolias(I have little gem) right after Thanksgiving and use them in my Christmas decor. I don’t have pine around but big glossy magnolia leaves are beautiful.

  17. Theresa R Keller
    June 19, 2020 at 10:33 am

    Both are favorites :) and have been beautiful this year. I think they like the good rain we have had and i fertilized my gardenia last year so it is very happy! yours are gorgeous

  18. June 19, 2020 at 11:09 am

    We have neither growing here in our garden, but magnolia trees are prevelent in our neighborhood. The fragrance is intoxicating! I often snip a bloom or two from neighbor’s trees with permission. Wish they lasted longer! I need to try gardenia again. I had success in containers for while. Love the fragrance and the look of these white beauties.

  19. mary
    June 19, 2020 at 11:23 am


  20. Linda Erickson
    June 19, 2020 at 11:47 am

    I wish your posts came with fragrances! I learned a lot by reading about these lovely plants! Thanks, Mary!

  21. Deb
    June 19, 2020 at 12:10 pm

    I love to bring them indoors and float them in water or in a small arrangement. I can wake in the morning and smell that lovely scent. Brightens my day! I do the same with Jasmine.

  22. June 19, 2020 at 2:15 pm

    Well that was fun! I planted two ground cover gardenias in my kitchen garden, I can’t wait for them to bloom and scent the area! Never knew the magnolia was fragrant, I have the deciduous ones and love them, yours is too large for my liking, but had I known fragrant… I’m in the midst of a two week plus heat wave too, high 90s to 100 plus, I hit the garden at 6am and retire by noon, feels odd being a lady of leisure indoors 😱!

    Fun magnolia and gardenia snippets, the latter is truly a favorite scent and flower and your pics capture them perfectly and I swear the scent is hovering just inches away 😊

  23. Debbie
    June 19, 2020 at 2:19 pm

    Gorgeous…I am so envious.

  24. June 19, 2020 at 2:29 pm

    I am enthralled by your constant inspiration keep up the good work and by the way I love your dogs!

  25. June 19, 2020 at 2:39 pm

    Love your gardenias Mary! I’ve mentioned to you before, never knew they were outdoor plants… I’ve misted G-Mom-B’s in the house many times-good memories:@)

  26. Sue
    June 19, 2020 at 4:57 pm

    Your photos are gorgeous!!! thank you so much for sharing.

  27. June 19, 2020 at 7:30 pm

    I love magnolias and gardenias! They don’t grow here. But I have memories of them both from when we lived in Virginia for a year when I was growing up. I’m tempted to move just to be able to enjoy the blooms from both of them!

  28. June 19, 2020 at 8:10 pm

    Oh Gardenias!!! They’re gorgeous with your magnolia! Thanks for this fabulous combination Mary!

  29. Cyndi Raines
    June 20, 2020 at 1:04 am

    So beautiful Mary! Wish the fragrances could come through my tablet. I’m sure it is intoxicating. I know how much I enjoy my tulip tree each spring, but these are stunning. While gazing at each picture, I thought, they look like white velvet and was pleased when I read the quote by Southern Living which ageed with me. Great minds think alike! Lol

  30. Shirley Graham
    June 20, 2020 at 10:56 am

    They do look like velvet & while I love to look at both, the magnolia is a favorite. Like the gardenia to look at & to have outside. Not something I want inside but then I have allergies!!! The pictures are so beautiful & Thank you so much!!!

  31. Sheran
    June 20, 2020 at 10:57 am

    Love the wonderful scents of the garden!
    Quick note: last year In July, you posted instructions on how to make soap. We are facing a heat wave here in the Central Valley of CA so I needed an indoor project. Your soap making instructions are excellent! I’m going going to give them to the nurses at our cancer center as a small thank you for all that they do. Soap gifts during this virus mess seem to be greatly appreciated.
    THANK YOU! 🌹🌸🌺

    • June 20, 2020 at 11:04 am

      Hi Sheran, Thank you for your visits and letting me know you enjoyed the soap tutorial. I’m sure your gifts and thoughtfulness will be appreciated. ♥

  32. June 20, 2020 at 11:49 am

    You do live at “heaven on earth:” with all your plants and gorgeous landscaping. Certainly some fabulous photos, and I loved working with faux magnolias when I was a designer…because we can’t have them in zone 5 here in Illinois…but oh, so gorgeous, especially the leaves! Fun post, thanks, Sandi

  33. June 20, 2020 at 2:14 pm

    And another thing I find fascinating about the magnolia is the underside color of the leaves. What a lovely contrast in the arrangement you made.

  34. James J. Crudup
    June 20, 2020 at 2:40 pm

    Regarding your excellent posting about gardenias, I must share my childhood experience when we lived in Dania, Florida, between Hollywood and Ft. Lauderdale. In those days we had no air conditioning and just a wee bit of heat for the occasional winter morning, so we had a very close communion with nature. There was a hedge of gardenias that bloomed profusely along one side of the house. My parents would open the windows to the bedroom I shared with my older brother and then turn on the attic fan at bedtime. Each night, weather permitting, we went to sleep in the intoxicating sweetness of those gardenia blooms. What a wonderful memory!

    Thank you for your delightful narratives and photos.

  35. Robin
    June 21, 2020 at 9:07 am

    Southern magnolias are also found in abundance in Houston, TX. In NJ we have teacup magnolias – a tree that has a broad lower canopy with pink & white blooms the size of a teacup. However, in my town there is a giant southern magnolia! Boy was I surprised!. Another magnolia variety has been hybridized for this region that grows shorter and stockier like a bush. The fragrance of all are wonderful. I can only smell the intoxicating gardenia scent at the Philly Flower Show, though.

  36. PatinCal
    June 22, 2020 at 4:19 pm

    Gorgeous photos.

    We shred the leaves from our 50+-year-old M. g.”Majestic Beauty” and use them for long-term mulch.

  37. June 23, 2020 at 9:56 pm

    We planted 3 Magnolia trees (Little Gems) and a few gardenia bushes. When there are more blooms on my trees I will then snip a few and enjoy them in an arrangement as you have so beautifully presented to us.

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