Spring is for Jasmine

Star jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides) frequently takes the place of a classic hedge here in Southeast Texas. Our brilliant summer sun is often too much for the more traditional temperate hedges like boxwood. Fortunately, jasmine not only grows in any direction and bushes thickly but when the weather first begins to warm it blooms so profusely that you could almost believe you were in a well tended botanical garden while standing in an abandoned lot. Many homes around the island have fences of bushy but well trimmed jasmine surrounding their properties.

Jasmine is a versatile and forgiving plant in our region (zone 9). It can grow in full sun, partial shade or full shade. The main plant can be trained to trellises, fences or any other object since it will grow up, out and sideways as long as there is something for it to grab onto. As an evergreen, jasmine is attractive in the yard all year long. Most often it is propagated from cuttings which are relatively easy to start indoors.

One of the rental houses in our neighborhood had an untended jasmine growing up over the top of its second story roof. Since the owner is a friend, we offered to tidy it up for them. The first trimmings proved to be perfect for loose weave basketry. This particular plant had been cut back hard every spring by the last occupant so we did the same and harvested the runners for garden projects of our own. We plan to continue with the basketry experiments, add a few wreaths for fun and possibly even an organic trellis to hide the hideous but necessary AC unit in our yard. More posts on these projects as they happen.

*When trimming jasmine be aware that it has a milky sap which gets on just about everything that comes near it. There is some debate about how toxic this sap is but it is best to wear gloves when handling fresh cut vines (especially if you have sensitive skin) and to keep the sap away from your face at all times.

Large quick bound bundles of jasmine vine
Small wreaths of jasmine vine with leaves stripped for weaving
Simple loose woven basket of jasmine

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