|Gardenia by Lucy Raubertas|
The touchstone is of course the flower itself. Potted plants are obtainable, but they are care intensive in a climate such as Brooklyn's, where I live, and even as an interior plant they need great attention and ingrained green-thumb talents.
So I took the easy way out and went to see them in bloom in the tropical greenhouse of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Opening that door to the tropics area brings up a wet earth fragrance, mixed with the blooming flowers and running water. The gardenia was one of the most prominent. The waxy white petals stand out as luminescent against the dark green of the surroundings.
We all know and appreciate the beauty of this flower as a decoration for black hair, as Billy Holiday's signature, the contrast with the silky dark skin emphasizes both the textural quality of the flower and the skin.
As with rose, there are many perfumes that use gardenia as a main element, and we would all do well by our bodies and souls to find out our favorites and keep a couple on hand for those deep summer moments we want to amplify with experience of this ultimately rich summer scent.
Above photo, by me, at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden conservatory.
They have conservatory rooms of the desert, the tropics, and the temperate zone.
The fragrances hit you as soon as you open the door.
Copyright 2006, Lucy Raubertas, All Rights Reserved.