YELLOW JASMINE, Jasminum revolutu
ALTHOUGH somewhat common, this is not an old plant, for it flowered for the first time in this country in the garden of the Right Hon. Charles Long, at Bromley, in Kent, in the year 1814. The flowers then produced served for the first figure of it published, forming No. 1,731 of the Botanical Magazine, issued in the year 1815. The tree is a native of Northern India, but in general characters comes near to the European J. fruticans and J. humile, which are useful border shrubs, producing yellow flowers.
In former notes on species of Jasminum we have spoken of the fragrant white jasmine, the favourite of the family, and the winter-flowering species from China that has of late years proved quite hardy near London, though for some years it was grown in the greenhouse, as too tender for the open ground. This winter-flowering plant, Jasminum nudiflorum--so called because the flowers appear without any accompanying leaves--began to flower at Kew on the 1st of November, 1885, and continued flowering until the end of March, 1886. No one particular tree was in flower during the whole of these five months, but some trees flowered early, some at mid-winter, and some in the dawn of spring, the aspect and degree of shelter being the chief determining causes of the difference. The fact appears worthy of record, because frost and snow were not unknown in the winter when the facts were noted.
The yellow jasmine reminds us of the great wealth of our gardens in flowering trees and shrubs. When we say "our gardens," we are not unmindful of the poverty of many gardens, wherein the lilac and the laburnum divide between them all the honours that may be due to flowering trees. We have not a word of disparagement to say of either of these cheerful friends. They are hardy enough to manage their own affairs, and in return for the little space they occupy--occasioning absolutely no trouble at all--they make return in harvests of delightful flowers. But there are other good things at command for the lovers of gardens who will be liberal in planting. As companions to the jasmine we have several species of ornamental currants and gooseberries, such as Ribes aureum, with yellow flowers; R. speciosum, with crimson flowers, like miniature fuchsias; and R. nivcum, with white flowers. At another turn we come upon the weigela or diervilla; and if only one of this fine group can be accommodated, it should be the old Weigela rosea, which makes a grand bouquet of rosy flowers, sweetly shaded with white and crimson in the "merry month of May." It is not a violent transition to pass from this gay thing to the grander and more glorious Pyrus japonica--which it is the fashion now to class as a Cydonia--a tree that is worth having for its bright leafage, but is almost terrific in its splendour of crimson flowers when spring bursts upon us suddenly, and they all come out at once. But this good friend is everywhere so badly grown, being systematically crippled with the pruning-knife, that not many people know it in proper character. There is, however, one perfect specimen, in the garden of the Royal Horticultural Society at Chiswick. It is a mountain of green, lighted with a thousand crimson flames in the month of April; and one reason of its exceeding massiveness and splendour is that it is never pruned at all.
Mention of the laburnum should remind us that it belongs to the great family of papilionaceous plants, for in that family we find two magnificent garden trees, the rose acacia (Robinia hispida) and the Judas tree (Cercis siliquastrum). The first produces a profuse leafage, and large racemes of handsome purplish-rosy flowers. The second has peculiar roundish leaves, and in early summer it is quite richly dotted with small flowers of an intensely rich crimson or carmine-tinted rose colour. These flowers appear on the young wood and the old wood alike; and sometimes we see them on the rough stem of the tree, as though fixed there by some eccentric genius to deceive us. But it is Nature's doing; the eccentricities of man are as nothing to her infinite resources when in a whimsical humour.
Of syringas and spiraeas we have discoursed; but the flowering shrubs and trees are so many that one does not soon reach the end of them. We have, for example, a group of brambles of the most delightful character, if regarded only as ornamental plants. The trailing Rubus arcticus is a gem for the rockery; the upright-growing Rubus odoratus is a stout bush, producing large flowers, like single purple roses; the daisy-flowered bramble, Rubus bellidiflorus, covers itself in high summer with myriads of rosy daisies, for its flowers are just of the pattern of double daisies of the most delicate character. And again, there is a grand but somewhat quaint bramble, with stems perfectly white, as though it had with its terrible thorns lacerated a princess of fairyland, and had been whitewashed by the lawyers of the same province to redeem it from disgrace. It is appropriately named Rubus leucodermis.
Title: YELLOW JASMINE, Jasminum revolutu Copyright 2002 by PageWise, Inc.
Copyright 2002 by PageWise, Inc.
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