Have you heard? Pearls are making a comeback in 2017.
In the 1980s a string of pearls was a girl’s perfect 21st birthday gift and I was one of those girls. They went out of fashion, and now they are back.
Gardenias were another favourite in the 1980’s and in some ways pearls and gardenias have many similarities.
As pearls age, they are prone to dry out and the lustre of white pearls often turns a shade of cream over the years.
Just like the pearl, the gardenia’s flowers are a pristine white at first, but over a few days they also dry out and turn a deep cream.
The gardenia is a small, lush bush with glossy leaves which produce heavily perfumed blooms from spring through to summer. This photo is a specimen in my garden.
Both gardenias and pearls need a little TLC.
Let’s begin with pearls. They are not as robust as other jewels, and chemicals can damage pearls so absolutely no contact with hair spray, cosmetics and perfumes. Because of this, pearls should be the last thing on when dressing and the first thing you remove in the evening. Store them separately in a soft pouch to prevent scratching and damaging the delicate iridescent coating.
Now let’s consider the special care gardenias require.
They prefer acid soil with some shade; protect them from harsh afternoon sunlight. Gardenias do not tolerate frosts, so look for a cosy corner in your garden to plant them. They do very well in pots.
Regularly feed gardenias during the growing period, from spring through to late summer, because without this extra nutrition the leaves will turn yellow.
In the past, yellow leaves were thought to be lack of magnesium, so diluted Epsom salts were applied to the plant. Now it is thought a good multipurpose fertilizer is all that is required to prevent leaves yellowing.
The blooms can be cut, but just like pearls, they are very delicate and the flowers may bruise so be careful.
I’m rather looking forward to seeing more pearls about, although I must confess I never really stopped wearing mine.
Remember, look after your pearls as well as your gardenias and they will both give you years of joy.