Stars in the Garden

    • Dress up for the Fourth! Red, white and blue petunias, verbena or combinations of these with lobelia, geraniums, impatiens and salvia will make a nice display for the Fourth of July.
    • Plant fresh herbs from young plants. Basil, rosemary, thymes, mints and sages are just a few ideas.
    • It’s time to set out Brussels sprouts for fall harvest. Plant lettuce every two weeks for fresh heads all summer.
    • Check young trees and fruit trees for suckers and water sprouts. Rub suckers off as they appear and cut water sprouts off apple and pear trees.
    • Roses are in their glory now. Choose a new rose bush or climber to add to your flower garden or brighten up a wire fence.

Plant a star in your garden

One of the most popular landscape plants in California is known as star jasmine. Actually there are two star jasmines. The commonly planted one is Trachelospermum jasminoides, and the other is the Asian star jasmine, T. asiaticum.

Star jasmine has long been prized for its wonderful fragrance. It normally blooms through June and July with scattered flowers on through the summer. The flowers are about an inch across and are borne in clusters at the ends of the branches. The glossy, dark green leaves make an attractive contrast.

Star jasmine is a plant that can be trained to do almost anything you want. It will climb a trellis, spill over walls, climb fences and drape from hanging baskets. It is also a very graceful ground cover forming a thick cover about 18 to 24 inches tall.

Since it is slower growing than most vines, it is far more suitable for the small private garden or backyard. It can be grown in a large container for many years. Let it grow up a trellis to make a screen for the patio.

To cover a fence or wall, set the plants about 3 feet apart and start them in the direction you want them to grow. They climb by twining, but you may have to tie them to a trellis to start them growing up. As the plants mature, they grow faster, and can be trimmed lightly to keep them from becoming woody.

Asian star jasmine sends out long trailers on young plants and can be trained right away. It is more hardy to cold, but the flowers are a little smaller and more cream-colored than its cousin.

If you want to plant star jasmine as a ground cover, set the plants two feet apart. Use a diamond-shaped planting plan to assure good coverage as soon as possible. Any shoots that seem to grow straight up should be removed so that growth can go into the trailing shoots.

It is best to plant star jasmine where it receives afternoon shade. Hot sun can burn the leaves. Keep them well watered and weeded. A program of feeding every spring and late summer will help them grow and cover as soon as possible. It is slow to take off growing so if you want to cover an area quickly, you might want to start with a larger plant.

Both star jasmines are good-looking all year, and make a nice backdrop for other flowering plants. Use star jasmine near an entry or along a walk so you can enjoy the wonderful fragrance of their star-like flowers.

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