Showing posts with label Star Jasmine. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Star Jasmine. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Fragrant Garden: My Top 10

The longer I do this gardening thing, the more I realize that as far as my aspirations to my "perfect garden," the smell of my garden is right up there with what it looks like.  I truly am trying to achieve a garden where you would recognize exactly where you were by scent alone if you were blindfolded, bound and gagged and brought to my house by kidnappers.  Of course, I would call the police if I wasn't kidnapped myself (or unless I had lost my mind and was the perpetrator!), but you, thanks to the smell, would be able to tell them exactly where they were hiding us once you wriggled one hand free enough to dial 911 on your cell.

But seriously, I want it to be year 'round.  I want my nose to sing with "verdant and alive" wafting through the air.

Now I have found that you need to time "layer" the scent makers, because many only bloom once a year.  Here's what I've found so far to be the most magnificent in the megawatt smell per square inch of plant, as well as the bloom time in my garden (z9a).  I'm talking wafting knock your socks off scent when you step out in the humid dusky air:

10) Oriental Lilies (May-June): These are common, we've all seen them, but I'm eagerly awaiting this guy pictured below to bloom none the less...will be any day now.

9) Pittosporum (March): A nice, almost non-descript large dense bush or small tree, it is often used for hedges.  Once a year in March usually, all of the sudden it is literally covered head to toe in tiny fragrant blooms which may be my favorite scent of the lot here.  They are called mock-orange, and though its sort of similar, it's really not.  They have a to-die-for fragrance.  Unfortunately, at least here, some years a heat wave will come in an make the blooms very short lived.  Even at their best they don't last more the 2-3 weeks.  But when they are out...

8) Wisteria (Late Feb-early March): I don't grow this myself, but it has practically eaten the south, so its everywhere.  It's what we hide our broken down vehicles and dilapidated roadside houses with.  It is the earliest seriously scented bloomer on the scene.

7) Honeysuckle (May-Sept): The scent of my childhood.  The dirt road our house was on was literally lined with these tangled in the bushes and its just such a sweet wonderful smell.  I know its invasive in some climates (like probably where I grew up come to think about it), but here it stays pretty much in check, at least compared to some of our other invasives.

6) Ligustrum (April): The bush we love to hate, it does have a redeeming quality and that it is a profuse bloomer with knock your socks off scent for nearly a month during the year.  It blooms here at the same time as another super fragrant flower too, so the month of April in my garden is almost overwhelming day and night.

5) Gardenia (May): I take it back on the pittosporum, the gardenia scent is probably my absolute favorite.  They don't waft quite as much though which takes it down a few notches, however still enough to smell it as you approach a bush without leaning down.

4) Brugmansia (June-Sept): This potentially deadly small tree is one of those that tries to attract pollinators at night, so it nearly bowls you over should you step outside after dark.  Its a cloying heady smell, very pleasant to me, but I have caught myself thinking that its the kind of scent that reminds you of an evil temptress.

3) Moon Vine (June-Sept): A true night bloomer, and a relative of the morning glory, I have smelled them in others gardens but this will be its first year in mine.

2) Confederate Jasmine (Late March-April): Until I planted #1, this was by far and away the most megawatt smelling dude in my garden.  I often hear people say that jasmine smells like gardenia and I honestly can't see how or why they would think that?  Jasmine to me has a peppery heavy sweetness, whereas gardenia is lighter and fruiter...well just not in the same nasal ballpark.  Anyhow, this variety is a ever-green vining plant which looks great in or out of bloom.  Non-invasive, which is a plus though they can grow extremely large, as mine has in 2.5 years.

1) Night Blooming Jasmine (May-Aug): This thing is ridiculous.  You need to plant it at least 30 feet from your house to be able to not get drunk on the scent.  It blooms on and off through the summer, and you can smell it down the block. I'm not kidding. Its nothing much to look at, a loose medium sized sprawly bush, but thats not the point.

There are so many others that can come tripping off my tongue that don't readily grow here so I didn't include them: Lilacs, Lavender, Hyacinths to name but a few.  Another one of my favorite of all garden smells comes from leaves, not flowers: the English Boxwood.  It just smells so, boxwoody to me.  I love it and it reminds me, every time I smell it, of the boxwood maze behind the old library in the small town where I grew up.

Also, there are all kinds of jasmine out there that can fight amongst themselves for the most fragrant plant ever.  I am considering getting the pink kind (Winter Jasmine), because it blooms in early March, before the others, but it is on the invasive list, and so far every time I've planted something invasive in this climate, it has, um, invaded.

You notice I didn't include the roses!  While many do have a lovely fragrance, they are not massive wafters on the whole.  Not a single rose I have compares with any of the above as far as megatwattage of scent making capacity, though I do obviously prefer those roses that smell.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Bumper Crop in Pictures

I missed GBBD, per usual, but its a bumper year for the Showy Evening Primrose (is there ever a year when it isn't a bumper year for those?) and the Star Jasmine.

So lets start with the Jasmine.  Last summer I decided to let the jasmine climb the tree on the corner of the fence.  This is what happens when you do this:

This is one star jasmine plant.  It is probably 30+ feet wide by 15 feet high.  And remember how happy we all were last year that this same plant survived a fungus that made it drop all of its leaves?  And remember me saying that it was looking rather pitiful, even though you all thought it looked fine?  Well, it has recovered.  Actually it still has the fungal disease but is slowly beating it.  Only about 25% of the leaves fell off this year.  And just to jog your memory, here's a picture of the same vine in May of last year, before massive climbing of tree.

And that same corner today:

Back to good health.  And behind the statue has filled in nicely too!

I know, its absurd the size of this thing in one year, and you can probably imagine the intensity of the scent around my house currently.  Okay, moving on to a true invasive, Oenothera speciosa, Showy Evening Primrose or Mexican Primrose.  I pull out about 90% of this each year.  I'm seriously considering putting in edging around it like you do bamboo.  Its sort of like that really pretty girl with the black heart in high school.  Its horrible and attractive all at the same time.  It will wrap its roots around other plants roots.  So they don't get any water at all.  Like it is evil.  Don't be fooled by these pictures.  You really really don't want this plant. 

In this next picture it is joined by a few of the plants I don't have cultivar names for.  That purple salvia is super cool...the stems are actually the exact same purple as the flower.  And those slightly peachy flowers are those of the "lowes nameless" miniature rose I bought last year.   The roses in the background for the most part are late bloomers and are about 2 weeks from full flush, and the foxgloves are out, and still standing this year, thanks to lack of wind and hail storms this spring.   The gaura is also a week or so from full flush, and of course, the hydrangeas who I loved dearly, kill me this time of year because they are so late to leaf compared to everything else.  Oh except for the echinacea, hands down the slowest thing out of the ground each year.  I swear its dead every year, but it never is.

But back to the point here: what I do love about it (the Oenothera), is that it sprawls so prettily... so few plants do this with any grace.

A few other shots from around the garden to round out the lot.  First the 'classic' (haw haw) red knockout rose with my cat, deet can and sluggo looking on:

And the remains of the first flush of the MAC rose.  This rose definitely suffered from both thrips and iron deficiency earlier in the year so isn't the prettiest its been, but still I'm not complaining.


Monday, April 18, 2011

Garden Pics From My Actual Garden!

Things have finally filled in to the point that I can get a good couple of shots without a dead looking hydrangea in the frame.  April 2011 is weeks ahead of last year. The star jasmine is out in its full glory, and the first flush of roses beat out nearly everything in the garden.   Cleome is up and blooming, though significantly shorter than normal for bloom time. The salvias are looking like its mid June.    The coneflowers, beebalm, and garden phlox are totally ignoring all this and are all about 4 inches high, wondering what the heck all the rush is for.

The jasmine, as you see, is definitely blooming, so obviously the disease from March didn't kill it, however, it did lose most of its leaves.  New leaves have come up, but it is looking about as wimpy leaved as any jasmine I've ever seen!!!  Still, its not dead, and no longer losing any leaves.  Hopefully I can keep it clear for a year so it can recover can get a little less tragic looking.


Finally, a close-up of the Showy Evening Primrose, so you can see why I didn't rip it entirely out this year.  It is so invasive but so pretty.  I have to pull some out every week to keep it in check.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Out, Out Damned Spot!

Well, it has finally happened... after a full year of fooling around in the garden with little a care or bother in the world, never covering our mouths when we coughed, touching plants left and right without handwashing, leaving weeds all over the place and other general misbehavior.

Yes thats right, The Children of the Corm garden is... diseased.  Under quarantine.  Fungus coming out of our ears.

It all started on a brilliant warm muggy day last week when I went to my car like I do every day, and passed by the large jasmine vine (Trachelospermum jasminoides) I have growing over a 15 foot section of fencing.  Hmm, I said to self, why are those few leaves bright orange?  Eh, I'm in a hurry, I said to self.

The following day, also bloomed bright and humid and I looked at the ground outside the fence and noticed that the now pretty orange leaves were on the ground.   Hmmm, I said to self, must look into this when get chance.

Zoom by a week, because time flies, as they say, when you are not paying attention to your plants well-being, and there are now many many many orange leaves, even more on the ground, and every single other green leaf now has big spots.

The nursery confirmed that I had a major case of fungal leaf spot, and get this... the jasmine is going to lose ALL of its leaves.  Distressing under any circumstance, but considering this lovely (or formerly lovely) plant is supposed to be blooming in just over a month, this just sucks.

Decisive action has now been taken, (after a week of sloth, but lets not remind me).  The jasmine will undergo three separate 10 day apart drownings in fungicide... so will all plants near it.   So did the other jasmine on the other part of the fence just in case he even thinks about fraternizing.  I have bagged up the diseased leaves and will continue to do so.

Hopefully that will rid my garden of the pestilence.   Secondary action was also taken.  The nursery has instructed me to fertilize the plant like a maniac, every week until bloomtime in hopes of pushing up some new healthy greenery on what will shortly be a bunch of strappy twigs running all over the fence.

sniff.  He was sooo pretty last year, see?  now look.  I took a walk around town today noting that nobody else's jasmine seems to be a mess.   I passed dozens.  All of them green and leathery healthy as can be.  grrr.

Not only that but I'm back on the claritin.  The only thing I like about cold weather is it equals no claritin. Acho.  Meh.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Star Jasmine With Or Without You

Great Griefous, I have been working like a maniac.  It's out of control.  I've checked on the garden each day for about 2.4 seconds, and fortunately it seems to be growing just fine without me.

My kitty, Siggy, who has decided that she'd rather run away then never see me if I was going to be at work all the time, took off one night this week out into the streets of Charleston, and after a full 10 hour day of work, half a second to eat something and 2.5 hours of trying to find her and finally succeeding, I have had enough for one week.

She really really wants to be a garden cat.

During the week without me, the star jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides) went from half bloomed to fully bloomed, with the heavenly smell so strong that I can smell it inside when the doors and windows are closed.  This might potentially be because my house has the R-value of a pasta strainer.  It IS the most smelliferous at night though really all the time its just pretty fabulous.    The night bugs also came out this week.  Yay, night bugs.   You can tell they are still a little trigger shy, like "Oh crap? Am I the only one out here? chirrrrrrrp. Dang. This would suck." But they are starting up bit by bit.

Last fall I planted a small stick of star jasmine by the gate not realizing that the anemic looking vine on the other part of the fence, with most its leaves fallen off due to scale, was also a star jasmine.  A few treatments last fall, and a good dose of neem oil in February and what do you know, healthy and happy and blooming back wall.  And the real treat is over on the other side where my parking area is.  (ignore trashbin area please).  

They are also blooming everywhere in town.  I'm not sure how this can be because I feel like the banksia roses are also everywhere, like there could not possibly be enough fences in the city to support such populations.  When one fades the next seems to take over the city.  I wonder what will be on those (same fences?) come July?

PS. for those of you considering this plant, its hardy to about 40F (5C),  but seemed to handle a few below 30 nights we had this past year.  The ground never freezes here, so thats probably a consideration.  Also, mine blooms in both shade and sun.  Its says its a sun plant, and certainly its more bountiful on the sun side, but it has plenty of blooms in what I would call a full light shade situation.  Evergreen too, if you don't have scale all over it!