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!


  1. Aw, Siggy, tiny runaway. All kitties would rather be garden kitties, but sometimes it just isn't safe.

    This is such a lovely vine, although I admit that for years I was sort of not as fond of it as I could be because it was introduced to me as "Confederate Star Jasmine." So glad the other version of the name has taken hold. Its fragrance is luscious.

    Our night bugs came out last night for the first time, and I laughed when I read your description, especially because I can hear them outside the window doing exactly what you described! Awesome. :)

  2. Our little fur child tried the garden escape last year - her real house was a second floor apartment so there were a couple of minuses on the old nine lives slate. She soon discovered the outside world was inhabited by scary monsters and after what was probably the longest day in her life she couldn't jump into our arms quickly enough when we found her.

  3. Kitties and gardens left to their own devices do some interesting things.

    Which do you have, Confederate Jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides) or
    Asian Star Jasmine (Trachelospermum asiaticum)? Both are native to Asia. Common names are so confusing. Star Jasmine has a yellow star at the center.

    Meredith could grow Star Jasmine with a happy heart.

  4. Awww, I love the photo Siggy, you can just sense her longing to be out of doors.

    I've never planted this jasmine, even though I know it does very well here, as it seems to be everywhere. Glad you managed to get your scale problem under control, the plants look great!

  5. Meredith - it is also alternately referred to as confederate jasmine, but most often people around here call it star jasmine. And if you type in picture star jasmine into google, the pictures that come up are of this plant: so I'm thinking its winning on the common name front!

    Flo - the scary part about Siggy is, if she could do it again she'd do it in a heartbeat. sigh.

    NellJean - Yes, I'm generally a common name user (I can't help myself!) but I do try to include the scientific on plants where I know areas call it different stuff. Mine is the Trachelospermum jasminoides, which I did have in the post :) but nobody around here calls it confederate jasmine, it is nearly always referred to as star jasmine. It might be that Meredith is right, people are slowly moving away from the confederate name.

    CSV - Its an easy grower, I'd say! The scale is probably not 100% gone, but it did work wonders (I'll have to look and see if I have a before shot!). The scale on the camellia out front though.... that I am losing the war with. That has more scale than plant on it.

  6. I love your writing style - "smelliferous" - one of my new favorite words, thank you! I sure do wish I could grow jasmine up here in the north. Everyone is blogging about how wonderful it smells right now. I guess I'll have to buy a bottle of jasmine scent and spray it around my house :(

  7. Bonnie - well thank you! What a great compliment, one of the best you can have as a blog writer! You know, you can grow various jasmines inside, with a very sunny room, though I would imagine even a small plant might have an overwhelming aroma indoors. I wonder if these plants might be near the top of the list for most megawattage of smell per bloom.

  8. Siggy is adorable. As much trouble as they are, where would we be without them?
    Your Chinese Star Jasmine is exquisite along that white picket fence. Its one of my favourite plants but mine is taking what seems like *forever* to grow to any noticable size Perhaps I should be showing more love ...

  9. This is the time of year where it really is almost toooooo much downtown Charleston. A little goes a long way. You should try Cestrum nocturnum in your garden for a late summer and fall evening fragrance if you are into the Confederate Jasmine. But be warned, one is all you will need.

  10. Cats sometimes like to wonder off but it is amazing how they usually know how to find the way home. I like the scent of jasmines. Here, jasmines are strung into garlands to adorn altars, in floral bath rituals and also to perfume toiletries and potpourris.

  11. Jess, the other night I had a dream that my indoor-only cat jumped through a hole in the screen door just to be outside with me. A bit narcissistic maybe. I'm glad you were able to rescue Siggy. A close call!

    This species of star jasmine does fine here in my Zone 8 garden. As a matter of fact, it sailed through our longer than normal duration of below freezing temps in December. I can attest to the fact that it is hardy to at least 25 degrees. Maybe lower. However it won't be in bloom until July-ish.

    I'm glad the scale is gone. Your plants are just lovely climbing the pickets. I can imagine the wonderful fragrance.

  12. Little Ziggy is so sweet. I have two older cats we adopted from the Humane Society a few years ago. Both had the front claws removed, not something I would have done, but since then I have let them outside under my watchful eye. They love to lay in the grass, neither had been outdoors before. It was like watching two aliens land on earth for the first time and feeling grass and soil. Paws were stepping very high for a long time! A kitty does belong in a garden. I know how you feel.

  13. "R-value of a pasta strainer. "

    Happy splutter. This is really good. :)