In early summer, this classic evergreen shrub bursts into flower with thick, white and waxy blossoms that release an intoxicating aroma that can perfume an entire garden. The gardenia was named for physician and botanist Alexander Garden, a resident of Charleston, S.C. [source: Thigpen]. This sophisticated white flower has inspired several perfumes, including Chanel's Gardenia and Marc Jacobs Eau de Perfume.
Gardenias reach 6 to 8 feet (1.8 to 2.4 meters) tall and 4 to 5 feet (1.2 to 1.5 meters) wide. They like rich soil, light shade and frequent watering, and are susceptible to aphids, mealybugs, mites and whiteflies. Gardenias may require a little work to keep them healthy and insect free, but the rich, sweet aroma is worth the effort!