mercredi 2 mars 2011

Winter Jasmine

We inherited a very sturdy yellow winter jasmine which is climbing an old trellis.  It is very virulent and, if left unchecked, it will droop down to the floor and becomes quite unruly.  I trim it back hard every summer and it really pays back my hard work.

Although it peeks out from a tiny hole in a concrete drive, the plant is huge and was the only bright spot of colour on what was a grey dull wall.  We painted the wall off white and now the light reflects off it and the pretty vibrant yellow flowers look even more beautiful, especially during a long, dark winter.  It is such an amazing plant coming from such a tiny hole, sometimes people stop and comment when it's in full bloom.  It has given me much cheer on difficult days as I look out onto a rainy or snowy scene.

The flowers have all but gone now but now we can look forward to the bright green leaves that will develop.

If you have a wall that needs cheering up, you could do well to choose a winter jasmine to give your garden some winter colour and interest with foilage in the summer.

There are 200 or more species of Jasminum.  Climbing jasmines will twine themselves over any suitable support - trellis, fence, arch or even over a large shrub or into a tree.  In cool areas, jasmines should be grown in a sheltered position.  Jasmines are fully hardy to frost tender, ours does not seem to be affected by frost at all.  Jasmines need well drained soil in full sun or partial shade (ours has partial shade in a position that receives sunshine until 11h every day and is in a sheltered position out of the wind).

If your neigbour has a jasmine, you could ask nicely for a cutting in summer, pop it in a loam based potting compost in bright light (but keep it out of full sunshine).  Plant in the Autumn or spring.

Our jasmine is jasminum nudiflorum (Winter Jasmine).  It's described as a deciduous shrub because it loses its leaves in Autum, ready to bear flowers in winter and the leaves are produced in spring on the site of the fallen flowers.  Here's a close up of our glorious jasmine.

For successful winter jasmines, it's better to plant on a wall that doesn't get too much sunshine as the sun can damage the flowers after a frost - preferably a north facing wall - wow a plant that likes this exposure - that's a treat for those with a north facing wall.

Never plant a winter jasmine on an east facing wall because the morning sun will defrost the flowers too quickly, leading to damage.

One should prune a winter jasmine at the end of winter and the goal of pruning should be to open up the plant mass by cutting back the old branches that are stopping the young ones from pushing through.  Also, the branches that flowered in the winter should be cut back. 

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