Sunday, August 16, 2009

Sweet Jasmine

For many, August may signal the Ekka and westerly winds, but for me, August is the scent of Jasmine.

Pink Jasmine smells like heaven. Better than chocolate cake, better than Calvin Klein’s Obsession. Pick the flowers before they have opened and fill your house with sweetness.

Jasmine is tropical and sub-tropical plant and well suited to our sub-tropical Queensland. There are several varieties of Jasmine, coming from different parts of the world. They can be deciduous or evergreen shrubs or climbing plants. They produce yellow or white flowers, whose best quality is their fragrance.

Commonly seen in South East Queensland are the Pink Jasmine and the Star Jasmine.

The Pink Jasmine, also sometimes known as White Jasmine, is native to China. It is a fast growing evergreen, needing a strong trellis or fence to ramble over. It is called Pink Jasmine because of the colour of the buds that open to star shaped white flowers.

For South East Queensland, it is a low care plant. Once established it does not need excessive water, and only needs a good trim after flowering. In cold areas it will flower much longer, and it has become invasive in southern parts of Australia. It also causes allergies in some people.

Star Jasmine, on the other hand, it a woodier plant, with (I believe) less sweet flowers. Technically it is not a Jasmine, but we won’t get technical here!

This plant grows more slowly and can be shaped as topiary or against a wall. Unlike the Pink Jasmine it will cover the whole of a fence or wall, rather than just growing along the top. It can also be used as a ground cover, even in the shade (but don’t expect too many flowers). It requires more pruning to keep it shaped. Flowers will only form on new growth.

Both of these plants can be grown from cuttings. Grow, smell and enjoy.

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