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Garden Ramblings, Issue #003
November 11, 2004
Monthly musings on the garden scene

*********************************************************** If you prefer, you can view this month's issue online where you can also subscribe if this copy has been forwarded to you by a friend. ***********************************************************

In this issue:

- Letter from the Editor
- Plant of the month
- From the papers
- Pick of the scented blooms
- Special offers
- Useful resources




Welcome to the November issue of Garden Ramblings your monthly window on what's going on in the world of gardening.

The "Plant of the Month" is the Winter Jasmine whose bright yellow flowers light up those dark November days.

For the scented blooms section I am featuring shrubs. Since there are too many to cover in one issue, I am dealing with one section at a time. Part 1 reviews those shrubs that flower during the winter.

Because of the time of year there are not many special offers this month, but I have found a few to mention.

Just two items in the resources section but I think that you will find them both useful.

Enjoy the issue.



Plant of the Month

Name: Winter Jasmine (jasmine nudiflorum).

Description: A hardy deciduous shrub that grows up to ten feet tall but needs support so is best grown against a wall. Bright yellow flowers up to one inch across are produced from November to April in suitable locations.

Origin: Winter jasmine is a native of China.

Cultivation: The shrub is easy to grow and hardy in zones 6-9. It thrives in almost any soil type and position, even on a sunless north wall. Plant from October to April. Where the stems are not supported they root where they touch the ground making propagation simple. After flowering has finished prune to keep in shape or cut back to within 2-3 inches of the ground to encourage new shoots.

Pests and diseases: Generally trouble free. If plants become infested with spider mites, cut them to the ground after blooming and discard the infested plant material.

Folklore: The jasmine of folklore is the sweet scented summer flowering jasmine officinalis. There are traditions in Persia, India and China. The old name of jasmine was Jessamine which was derived from the Persian "Yasmin" and Chinese "Yeh-Lsi-Ming" The flowers are associated with love, sweetness and beauty. Oil from the plant went into love potions and was also used for making perfumes. Burning incense made from the plant was said to induce prophetic dreams. To dream of jasmine itself was believed to foretell good fortune and an early marriage.


From the papers

"GIVE YOUR POTS A WINTER WOW FACTOR" says Hannah Stephenson. "While winter pansies and violas can brighten up a pot or window box, along with pretty primroses and polyanthus, winter flowering bedding rarely has the same impact as vibrant summer bedding, so you need to choose some stunning foliage plants to enhance the finished product." Read more...

Let Sarah Robertson take you on a sentimental journey down memory lane. "Pull into our driveway on a crisp autumn afternoon and you'll hear the surprisingly satisfying "pop" of crunchy gravel mixed with dry leaves and ripe walnut shells. It's a very distinctive sound, reminding everyone in our part of the neighborhood that autumn is slowly slip-sliding into its final weeks." Read more...

Winter can be a really fun time of year for home gardeners,” said Al Stubblefield, designer and owner of the GardenHere Website. “Many of our members in the North root plant cuttings in kitchen glasses to offer in exchange for postage or other plants they would like to acquire. Some members offer to trade flower seeds they harvested earlier in the year." Read more

"It was a pretty good year in the garden" reckons D.L. Hertzler. "Not a perfect year. There is never a perfect year in the garden. Through a combination of soil and weather and whatever else affects them, some crops will always do better than others. And the critters seem poised to move in upon us." Read more...

Here's an item that caught my eye. Learn how to create a firebreak without making the landscape resemble a moonscape. Marta Murvosh tells you how foliage acts as a shield. Read more...

Finally here is Hannah Stephenson again with some Black Magic. "Many gardeners who are planning a new border for next year may be thinking in terms of conventional pinks, yellows and oranges. But if you want something completely different, which can be both bold and dramatic, you could choose a more unlikely hue – black." Read more...



Fragrant Shrubs - Part 1.

Chimonanthus praecox, common name Wintersweet, is a deciduous shrub of bushy habit which can grow up to ten feet high and a similar spread. It bears cup-shaped flowers with yellow outer petals and purple innner ones up to one inch across. The flowers appear from December to February and have a heavy spicy scent.

Corylopsis spicata is a native of Japan which grows to a height and spread of 5-6 feet. The flowers are pale yellow, bell-shaped, and are carried in hanging clusters. The scent is often compared with that of the cowslip. This is the latest flowering shrub of the group which blooms in March and April.

Daphne. There are two varieties which flower during the winter. Daphne mezereum with flowers in shades of purple-pink to violet-red blooms from February to April. Daphne odora produces pale purple flowers from January to April. Both are strongly scented.

Hamamelis mollis, common name Chinese witch hazel, grows to a height and spread of 6-8 feet. The flowers are one inch wide with broad, flat petals of a rich golden yellow, flushed red at the base. They are sweetly scented and thickly clustered along the twigs in January or earlier.

Lonicera fragrantissima is the winter-flowering honeysuckle. This is a shrub variety with a height and spread of six feet rather than the more common climber. The small cream-white flowers are strongly fragrant and are produced from December to March.

Viburnum. There are three varieties which between them flower from November to April with a heady perfume reminiscent of hawthorn. Viburnum fragrans grows to a height and spread of 9-12 feet and bears white flowers with a pink tinge from November to February. Viburnum grandiflorum grows up to ten feet tall with flowers that are slightly larger and more flushed with pink borne from December to April. Viburnum bodnantense is a hybrid between the two and bears white flushed rose flowers from December to February.

In Part 2 I will describe some spring and summer-flowering varieties.


Special Offers

Since there are now only six weeks left before Christmas bargains are in short supply. I have found that the best way to keep on top of any offers is to subscribe to the newsletters of firms like Brecks, Direct Gardening, Dutch Gardens, Gardeners Supply Co, Krupps and Yardiac. Last time I checked none of these merchants had any real bargains although some were extending their bulb offers for a week at a time.

There are some significant reductions on books and posters from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Allposters. You can find discounts of up to 80% on some books but only on a limited selection. Allposters have reductions of up to 50% on 3070 items.


Useful Resources

The Gardening Launch Pad is a portal site that boasts "5019 gardening links, 95% of these links are content links not commerical links..Links are added every month".

Garden Web hosts some 90 forums covering almost any topic related to gardening that you can imagine. The site also has a plant and seed exchange, plant database, mystery plant contest, directory of gardens and organisations, calendar of events and more.

Although these two sites may overlap to a certain extent, there is a wealth of useful information making them well worth a place on your favorites list.


Please feel free to pass on this newsletter to your gardening friends. Do let me have your feedback and suggestions to [email protected]

That's all until next month but in the meantime you can always look at my Blog.

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