Friday, July 13, 2012

A scented entrance

It's good to come home after a period away from the garden, especially when the time away was unexpected and rather sad.  I wasn't away for too long but long enough to miss my own space.  Add to that the not unnatural eagerness to see what has developed in my absence and it's not surprising that I was outside within a very short time of getting home. 

It was drizzling.  Not unexpected in Plymouth generally, and especially this water soaked summer.  But even so the perfume from the Trachelospermum jasminoides I've got planted by my rear garden entrance filled the air.  It was only just starting when I left, coming up to full bloom when I returned, and wafting out its sweetness into a fairly warm and humid evening.  Heavenly - and very relaxing.

Trachelospermum jasminoides - flowr detail
I've grown the plant in a previous garden and in my - now destroyed - greenhouse in this garden but needed to restock last year after losing my original specimen.  Decent sized plants are normally quite expensive so I was delighted when I visited a local garden centre to find a rather battered, underpotted, neglected but quite large specimen at a knock down price.  I snapped it up and somehow managed to get it into our small car for the trip home.  I then had the problem of what to do with it.  (I often buy plants on impulse and then work out where to plant them.)

I have a stretch of house wall by the rear garden entrance that drops straight onto concrete paving.  It was the ideal place but I'd have to grow the star jasmine in a large pot and up a suitable framework.  No problem.  A bit of construction work with bamboo canes cut from my Chusquea coloeu and I had a suitable framework to carefully twine the stems around.

Trachelospermum jasminoides  - after planting in June 2011
A bit threadbare at this stage but it started to bulk out with the after flowering growth flush and further again this spring with the latest flush.

Trachelospermum jasminoides - July 2012
Once the main flowering flush is over - mid August with me - this attractive evergreen will continue to produce a few flowers but puts most of its energy into new foliage growth.  In my cooler climate it's red tinged, a colour it retains over the winter to produce a very attractive coverage. 

Trachelospermum jasminoides - new and winter foliage colour
It's often described as self clinging.  Mine has obviously not reached that stage, showing no sign of developing any type of adhesive support.  So I'm still having to train it in to the bamboo framework against my warm, south facing wall where it gets full sun for most of the day.  Unless we have another seriously harsh winter it should be capable of tolerating the dips to -7C we get most winters and go on to delight for many a long year.

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