A: You are seeing the empty calyces where immature flower buds fell off. A little botany: A calyx (plural = calyces) is the green leaflike part of a bloom that protects the flower petals. A calyx opens up to let the flower emerge. Calyces are usually leaflike but there are variations. On this particular plant, the calyces are composed of long, narrow sepals. Evidently, the small flower bud fell off when the calyces opened. That’s why you didn’t see any flowers. Gardenia buds can drop off prematurely for several reasons: Too dry, too wet, high temperatures, and strong winds can cause it. The calyces, with their long, narrow sepals, continued to open, and that’s what you are seeing. The gardenia might try to bloom again this season. Keep a sharp eye out and let me know if you see flowers. For now, prune your gardenia calyces off if you don’t like them or keep for a conversation piece.
Q: I have several hummingbird feeders that are visited a lot but I have to be out of town for seven days. What can I put in the feeders that will prevent them from getting moldy? Renee Williams, Bartow County