Heirloom Bulbs & Garden History  •  So Much More Than New
Jan
19
2017

Colette’s Gardenia:
“I Bow Down Before the Tuberose”

Although little known today, Colette (1873-1954) was the highly regarded French author of some 50 novels, many of them considered scandalously sensual at the time.

Colette’s Gardenia: “I Bow Down Before the Tuberose” – www.OldHouseGardens.com

Her 1948 book For an Herbarium focused on the sensual delights of flowers. In the chapter titled “The Gardenia’s Monologue,” that famously fragrant flower scorns jasmine, nicotiana, magnolia, and other scented rivals before finally making this confession:

“I put up with all of these humbler bearers of nocturnal balms, certain that I have no rivals, save one, I confess . . . before whom at times I do worse than confess: I abdicate.

Colette’s Gardenia: “I Bow Down Before the Tuberose” – www.OldHouseGardens.com

“On certain meridional nights heavy with the promise of rain, certain afternoons rumbling with casual thunder, then my ineffable rival need only show herself, and for all the gardenia in me, I weaken, I bow down before the tuberose.”

To savor the sublime fragrance that inspired Colette, order your single or double tuberoses now for April delivery.

(And thanks to Toni Russo of Solon, Iowa, for sharing this wonderful essay with us!)

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