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A plant for family memories
A plant for family memories

The old saying, "to grow it is to know it," certainly holds true for me at my new home.

For several weeks now I have found myself under the spell of the smell of the confederate jasmine, known as star jasmine.

I'll admit I have longed considered the tropical night blooming jasmine, Cestrum nocturnum to be the ultimate in fragrance but now I am wavering as I am experiencing this old-fashioned plant that originally comes from China.

Botanically speaking the confederate jasmine is Trachelospermum jasminoides. It is closely related to the ground cover Asian jasmine T. asiaticum, a plant often considered a scourge in the plant world, because of its aggressive nature. This isn't to say the confederate jasmine isn't packed with its own vigour.

The confederate jasmine has pretty much remained a staple of warm zones but the variety Madison has the gardening world abuzz. This one, thanks to leaves that are finely hairy on the undersides, offers cold hardiness.

In addition to the intensely fragrant star-shaped blossoms, the vine - which was discovered in Madison, Georgia - also offers a unique bronze autumn leaf colour.

Your vine will perform best given at least six hours of sunlight a day and fertile well-drained soil. You do not want it sitting in winter-soggy clay.

The next obvious consideration is to provide a good structure for support. The vine does not climb by itself but is easily trained.

As you contemplate this plant, keep in mind it has the ability to help lower utility bills. Trained correctly it can reduce absorption of heat along brick walls.

Obviously though, this is a plant in which memories can be made as your children or grandchildren will always think back to the glorious warm days as school was ending and fragrance permeated the air around their home.

With that in mind, front or back porch columns, lattice fences and patios where guests are entertained are all great locations for consideration.

The vine blooms on old wood and after blooming is the ideal time to prune; in fact, after the bloom you'll notice the vine putting on vigorous new growth so pruning will help keep it confined to its allotted space. Keep in mind it can reach 6-12m with ease. Watch your fertiliser, not much is needed, and refrain from being too luxuriant with water.

In addition to providing a great vertical element in the landscape and enticing fragrance, you will find it to be environmentally friendly from the standpoint there are no pest or disease pressures.

Talk to your nursery's staff about Madison and other varieties of this incredibly fragrant vine.