|Carolina jessamine (Gelsemium sempervirens)|
Florida gardeners,do you remember the winter of 2010? It was bad. It was cold. We are quite spoiled by our mild winters so by Florida's standards it was out of the ordinary. So many freezes/frosts in a row that most of our gardens suffered some serious damage. I know mine did. I had thoughts that year that I would never plant another tropical plant in my garden. E.V.E.R. An idea that I couldn't possibly abide, but it seemed so rational at the time.
|A single Carolina jessamine has crawled two stories up a Natchez Crepe|
There was some good that came from that winter though. It gave Florida gardeners a chance to look around and make note of the survivors, the hardy warrior plants that didn't falter during those bleak few weeks.
I felt just a tiny bit ahead of the game even with the brown,wilted foliage we were left with after that season. I had already made it my goal to add a greater number of native plants and to create a garden with sustainable winter structure.
|A closer look at how the jessamine fills up the barren branches of Crepe Myrtle during winter/spring.|
So that's the backstory of why I planted a single Carolina jessamine (Gelsemium sempervirens) at the feet of one of my largest/oldest Natchez Crepe Myrtle trees. I thought the tree would make a perfect trellis. The deciduous Crepe loses its leaves in late fall and the jessamine flowers follow in winter. The Florida native, Carolina jessamine, is cold hardy here. It typically peaks in flowering beauty towards the close of winter and into the first few weeks of spring.
I never planned for it to travel the height of the Crepe. Carolina jessamine will stay bushy when grown in sunny conditions. My problem is that I can't reach it to prune it AND during growing season it is shaded by the fullness of the Crepe. The lack of direct sunlight urges it to travel even higher.
Other than that, this jessamine is drought resistant surviving only on rainfall here and it is completely ignored by me until I notice the pretty yellow flowers. The stems are wiry. It is considered to be a well behaved vine. I suppose mine would *behave* better if it had just a tad bit of training. :-)
Happy gardening y'all, Meems
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