Why wont my gardenia tree grow or flower?

I have had my gardenia tree for 17 years now. About 5 years or more ago it got black suet on the leaves. it was all over them. I tried a variety of things including home remedies to get rid of it. It would go away a little bit but then where it didn't get rid of it will then spread again. this happened over and over. I had no clue what to do so I cut it way back. I'm a total idiot when it comes to all plants and trees. I didn't take much interest in that even until like 2 years ago. now I'm trying my best but I'm not succeeding very well! I kill everything. I'm actually doing good with my dessert roses and my booganvelia tree. (please excuse my spelling,,,lol) Since I cut the tree back 5 years ago it just isn't growing back. I asked at the local plant places and I was surprised that they really didn't know, someone did say to give #35 a try (whatever the heck that is) and so I did and it did help a little. I actually got a couple tiny flowers. they didn't last and were very small but hey, I got somethin'! lol I used to get really big, fresh looking, beautiful flowers from it. I haven't seen those in probably 8 years now. I loved my tree and I want it back! please tell me what to use on it and how often, ohhhhh,,,,and how do I keep those little gnatty looking ants out of the flowers!? thank you so much for helping me...well if u take my note that is,,,,lol

q why wont my gardenia tree grow or flower
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