Friday, May 18, 2012

Trachelospermum jasminoides.......Star Jasmine

 I stepped out of the house early one calm May morning a few days ago before the sun had shown itself above the high hill behind us to be greeted by the sweetest smell ever. 

It was the Star Jasmine which had, over just a day or so, changed from its usual dark green appearance and covered itself with beautiful white star like flowers with a truly amazing fragrance.

Now,  I well remember growing this lovely  climber on a warm, west facing wall in my English cottage garden which was fortunate enough to be accepted by the ‘yellow book’ and opened for charity one lovely English summer’s day, many years ago now but……never did it perform so well as it does here in the garden at Cortijo Azahar.
 It relishes the warmth that the Spanish winter sun gives us and is much happier that it doesn’t have to suffer the winter chills and freezing winds however sheltered an outdoor place it is given in England.

The Trachelospermum jasminoides variegatum is also flowering elsewhere in the garden on a boundary fence but pretty as it is, it doesn't have the flower power  or the perfume punch of its evergreen relative.

 Trachelospermum jasminoides is a species of flowering vine in the milkweed family, Apocynaceae, that is native to eastern and southeastern Asia, into Japan, Korea, southern China, and Vietnam.

 It is widely planted in California, and also particularly in the Southeastern United States where its hardiness, confined to USDA Zones 8-10, the area of the Confederate States of America, gives it the name "Confederate jasmine". 
It gets another of its common names, "Trader's Compass" from an old Uzbekistan saying that it pointed traders in the right direction— if they were of good character.

Authentic Thai Jasmine rice is made by steeping 20 flowers in a litre of water overnight and then using the strained water to cook long grain rice.