The first time I remember smelling gardenias was sitting in a bar long after dark in Oaxaca, when the vendor ladies came around with baskets of modest little bunches of the white flowers and their deep green foliage. Their target audience was the gentlemen trying to impress their lady-friends. I thought the dense, heavy aroma was terrific at cutting the cigarette smoke. Indeed, I now realize I’m missing sitting in the Bar Jardín through the evening, eating toasted garlic peanuts and sipping Dos Equis Oscura, and awaiting the arrival of the gardenia ladies.
Our front yard is now bathed in gardenia fragrance, as the bushes there are just coming into full bloom, replacing the gorgeous but scent-silent azaleas that have been gone for a while.