Southern Way

Southern Way

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Jungle Gardenia and the French Revolution

It is time for spring, well at least the calendar says so. I found some lovely gardenia bushes for sale yesterday. Next to magnolias I'm not sure if gardenias are not my favorite southern plant. Little can be compared to the thick scent of a gardenia blossom that lingers heavy in the summer evening air.

My daddy was quite the gardener and we had three gardenia bushes, each on a corner of our house. Unlike roses that one sometimes needs to lean over to enjoy the lovely aroma, a gardenia spreads its fragrance far and wide. Smells bring back so many memories for me and this blossom is rich in those memories.

One of my Mama's favorite perfumes was Jungle Gardenia, a fragrance that dates back to 1933. Daddy carried it in his drug store for her. I can remember the square bottle with the picture of the white gardenia blossom with its deep green leaves on the label.


Funny, I cannot remember much about the French Revolution, even though my brain was much more developed when I studied that in a college European history course. Yet, the fragrance of this blossom reminds me of the exact location of the bushes in our yard 45 years ago and what was on the label of my Mama's favorite perfume bottle that sat on her dresser when I was a child. 

Say what they will, a southern girl must have her priorities in line. Marie Antoinette would have never made it down here. After all, we would never just say "Let them eat cake." (See where that got her.) We would at least ask them in, offer them a piece of cake and a glass of tea and suggest they sit a spell. 

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