News Article for January 30, 2012:
The warmer spring-like weather continues for us and nature is responding accordingly. Each new day I see more plants bringing forward their floral displays.
I was talking with a gardener recently who had two characteristics which guided plant selection; color and fragrance. There was a desire to have something blooming all throughout the year and to keep the landscape fragrant.
While a lot of people want to see flowers in the landscape year round it is not a prerequisite to having an attractive garden. It is possible, however the hardest times to accomplish that objective is in the winter.
When considering your winter blooming choices the easiest thing to do is look around right now. See what plants are in bloom in landscapes within your community. Also go to the nurseries and see what is in bloom there.
Choices can come from some of the most traditional plants of the old gardens of the south such as Camellia japonica and Camellia sasanqua. The Cameillia japonica has the larger flower which will bloom in the winter and early spring whereas the Camelllia sasanqua is more of a late fall to early winter flowering plant with a smaller flower. Both plants have numerous varieties that will vary in color, flower size and time of blooming. The peak for camellia flowering here is usually the third week in February but it looks to be about three weeks early this year. Both plants are acid loving plants that like the morning sun.
Tulip Magnolia or Japanese Magnolia is a winter blooming small tree that is adorned in purple flowers right now. I am also seeing striking pink blooms of the Taiwan Flowering Cherry which is another small tree that blooms in the late winter.
Oddly enough in this warm winter I am seeing a lot of Sweet Olive blooming now. The added bonus to Sweet Olive is that it is one of the most fragrant woody ornamentals that you can grow in the landscape.
Other fragrant choices to include in your plan would be another old standard of the southern garden, Gardenia, which some of you know as Cape Jasmine. The older varieties have one big blooming cycle in the summer. Try the newer Super Plant selection, Frostproof, which will bloom in May and again in August and needs much less space to grow.
Magnolia fascata, also known as Banana Shrub, is another popular old plant that gives the whole neighborhood a great sweet fragrance when it blooms in the spring.
If you have a shady spot to fill consider planting a group of the very fragrant Butterfly Ginger. This ginger will fill the air with a powerful sweet aroma.
Of course any gardener can have both flowers and fragrance with the addition of roses. You will probably find that the most fragrant are some of the older rose types and varieties so smell before purchasing.
As you update your landscape do not forget about the traditional plants that still have a place. Plants can be like old friends; many times the oldest are the best.
For more information on these or related topics contact Kenny at 225-686-3020 or visit our website at www.lsuagcenter.com/livingston.