Monday, April 23, 2012

Spring perfume on the porch

Trachelospermum jasminoides 'Madison' (Confederate jasmine) blooms on my porch - 13 April 2012

Today's post is jointly hosted on my other blog, WilliamsWrite.

It's semi-evergreen, makes a great groundcover for difficult-to-mow areas, offers hundreds of gorgeously-scented flowers every spring, and needs little care. Trachelospermum jasminoides may not be a real jasmine, but that's okay with me.

This cultivar's full name is Trachelospermum jasminoides 'Madison.' It's native to southeast Asia, but this variety (so the story goes) got its name when a botanist traveling with General Sherman's army discovered the plant growing beside one of Madison, Georgia's, famously beautiful old homes. 

Don't be afraid to prune T. jasminoides if it gets out of line. It's a woody vine and responds well to pruning. When it decided to grow into my native azaleas, I grabbed the gardening shears and gave it a nice trim. It didn't seem to notice, or care, and went right on growing.

A mulch around the roots does help in the heat of summer, though. You may want to give it a little extra moisture by way of a once-weekly soaker hose treatment when the weather is especially hot and dry. T. jasminoides grows best in Zones 8-10, so if your winter low temps regularly fall below 20 degrees, it probably won't do well. Here in LaGrange, Georgia, on the border between Zones 7-B and 8, I have to protect it from occasional cold snaps and ice storms. The fragrant spring blooms are well worth the trouble, though.

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