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David Beaulieu

Stop to Smell the Jasmine Flowers!

By January 3, 2013

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"Filling the air with a sweet smell like orange blossoms, orange jasmine is a welcome addition to any garden," writes Vanessa Richins, About.com's Trees and Shrubs Guide. Orange jasmine (zones 9-11) and similar plants aren't hardy where I live, but jasmine is sometimes treated as an annual in the North, so that we, too, may enjoy the citrusy aroma of these fragrant plants.

Vanessa's article on orange jasmine reminds me of an experience I had traveling this past summer. Staying at a motel in South Carolina, I noticed some jasmine plants being used in the motel's landscaping, as I strolled one morning from my room over to the motel office for coffee. The plants were blooming profusely. But being the maniac I am in the morning about having my coffee before doing anything else, I didn't stop to smell the jasmine flowers, figuring they'd still be there later.

I hate to miss out on any plant photo ops when traveling, so, after coffee, I went back to my room to retrieve my camera. Upon returning to the jasmine plants that I wished to photograph, however, I realized that something was different: Many of the blooms I had witnessed earlier were gone. "What gives?" I wondered....

But out of the corner of my eye, I saw an Indian woman with a pan, which was filled with water. On closer inspection, I saw jasmine flowers floating in her pan! She had picked the flowers before I had a chance to photograph the plants (at their peak). In India, according to the Garden Guides website, "Jasmine flowers of all varieties often go into teas or are strung together to make fragrant garlands." Oh well, I'll have to rise earlier next time if I want to smell the jasmine flowers -- or get a great shot of a jasmine plant in bloom!

Related resource: Winter Jasmine

A Look Ahead: Common Lawn Weeds

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