Sunday, May 22, 2011

A look at the Carolina Jessamine

Carolina jessamineImage by Vicki's Nature via Flickr

One trip to South Carolina during the late months of December through April, and you will notice a delicate yellow flower on a very vigorous vine, the sweet smelling wild Jessamine, South Carolina's own state flower. Whether it is clinging to a pine tree in the forest, or completely covering an old fence post, one thing is obvious, this plant is a symbol of perseverance.

Adopted officially as the South Carolina state flower by the General Assembly in 1924, the yellow Jessamine was found a deserving representative of the South Carolina landscape.
The vine sap, and nectar of this beautiful wild growing vine has toxins similar in molecular structure to strychnine related alkaloids and no part of the plant should be consumed. In spite of that, it is harvested for its perfume, which is quite difficult to reproduce otherwise, and some herbalists use the plant for ailments of varying descriptions.

Mocking birds love the heavily intertwined nature of the stems from this vine and set up nests in them regularly. It is a popular flower in gardens in the south east and make excellent fence covers, it will readily climb trellis's, arbors and walls. It can be an effective means for deterring deer as they will not consume the plant. When planted around fencing it will discourage deer from coming onto the property to consume vegetables and fruit.

A note from the author: I grew up picking, smelling and giving bouquets of these lovely flowers to my mother from out of the woods behind our home. Not once did I ever get any skin irritations, or suffer any ill effects from this plant. Therefore, I would not worry greatly about having this lovely sweet smelling plant in my own yard. With a little caution and common sense this can be a lovely addition to many landscapes.

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Saturday, May 7, 2011

Create a “Memory garden” for Mother's Day

Container garden on front porchImage via Wikipedia

Mothers rarely expect expensive gifts on Mother's Day. Most mothers really just want some of your time. However with Spring in full bloom in South Carolina, adding lovely things to your mom's garden might be a wonderful gesture, a constant reminder of your love. Planting and gardening together may be a great way to start a lovely tradition that the whole family can participate in and enjoy.
Starting a “memory garden” for your mom that the whole family can contribute to every year is a fun and warm way to spend time with mom. You can even improve on a garden mom already has established. Whether it is Mother's day, mom's birthday, Christmas or any other occasion or anniversary, your mom will love seeing the “memory garden” you and your family create over the years. Be sure to use low maintenance plants, so it will be easy for mom to maintain and make sure to stop by occasionally and help tend to it.
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There are plenty of wonderful shops that specialize in wonderful gardening items in South Carolina. For a full list of wonderful nurseries from all over South Carolina, see : The Helpful Gardener. For a list of wonderful ways to make mom's garden beautiful check out these suggestions:

    Amber Flush rose - Bagatelle Rose Garden (Pari...Image via Wikipedia
  1. Jackson and Perkins gift certificates- Mom will love being able to use her gift  certificate to purchase some of the beautiful roses, flowers, and garden accents from Jackson and Perkins. Jackson and Perkins is world renowned for their spectacular roses and if you visit Edisto Memorial Gardens during the month of May, you will be able to see Jackson and Perkins roses growing in one of their many official test gardens.
  2. Spring Hill Nurseries- One great source of giving a living gift to your mom and making a memory garden is by visiting Spring Hill Nurseries online and taking a look at the customer rated flowering trees. Flowering trees are beautiful to look at and mom will enjoy your contribution to her memory garden. Spring Hill has great prices and tons of information, and delivery available so you can give your mom a great gift any time of year.A trellis for plantsImage via Wikipedia
  3. Herbs in a pot- If your mom has limited space consider a container garden that will be easy to maintain and can be replenished regularly. There's nothing like a home cooked meal flavored with herbs cut fresh from your garden. The best part is that you don’t need to cultivate an entire backyard plot to grow enough herbs to use in meals – a simple container on a deck or patio can provide herbs all season, as you need them. Here’s how to create an herb container garden. Read more here: Herbs in a Pot
    Brookgreen Gardens - sculpture gardenImage via Wikipedia For more gardening suggestions and inspiration, see: The Southern Garden.
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