The most popular cultivated species is the Cape Jasmine, native to China. Gardenia plants are prized for the strong sweet scent and it is a favourite flower for corsage due to its heady fragrance. In England during the 19th century, men often wore the blooms on their lapels of their formal evening wear. It was believed to be good luck to give a gardenia to a man. Jazz singer Billie Holiday considered gardenias to be her signature flower and wore them in her hair whenever she performed.
The language of flowers, known as floriography, helped Victorian men and women skirt around the strict rules of courting. In an era when etiquette and propriety were of utmost importance, flowers often conveyed a message that the sender dared not speak in words. In the language of flowers, gardenia came to symbolize secret love.
Penhaligon’s Gardenia is a translucent watercolour in soft washes of tuberose, jasmine, gardenia, ylang-ylang, spice and vanilla. A radiant magnolia-tinted portrait of one of nature’s most sensual blooms. Gardenia was originally created in 1976 and was resurrected as part of the 2009 Anthology Collection.
We’ve told you what Gardenia means in the language of flowers but can you decode this bouquet below? Leave a comment below telling us what you think it is and one lucky winner will be picked at random to win a 100ml bottle of Gardenia Eau de Toilette.