Summer is here for certain. I know not because of my calendar, but because my gardenia hedge is blooming.
I planted the hedge in 2005 from very small plants. They’re now about 6 feet tall and wide, getting morning sun beneath large oak trees. I mulch them with shredded leaves in the fall, and lay down a light feeding of slow-release organic source of nitrogen (like blood meal) in the spring. Cutting back the spent blooms in July often yields another flush of blooms in August or September. Other than that, I don’t do much to tend them.
My soil is naturally acidic, so I don’t have to adjust the pH. I’ve never seen the gardenias bothered by pests or diseases, although I know it’s possible for them to be affected by a variety of fungal diseases and problems of a cosmetic nature. The worst that’s happened to mine so far is the annual shedding of older leaves–they turn solid yellow and drop, making way for fresh green growth. I rake them up and compost them.
As evergreen hedges go, it’s hard to beat this one. If you can grow gardenias (Zones 7 and warmer), there’s no excuse not to.
I wish you could smell them. Heavenly.