September 10, 2011

Big White Bloomers

White butterfly ginger. September 2011
Huge blossoms of white butterfly ginger, hedychium coronarium, fill the air with fragrance each September. My gardenia 'August Beauty' and my osmanthus fragrans are also in bloom and highly fragrant. It's tough competition among the white bloomers!

For zones 8a-11, I have a mass planting of ginger against the east side of my house. The ginger was a passalong plant from a friend, just after we finished building this house on Labor Day 2005. In spring, I divide the ginger into eight inch sections to transplant around the garden.

Because of being up against the house, the ginger likes to lean out toward the sun. This spring, I decided to cut it back after it was just over one foot high. This worked well, so I won't hesitate to reduce the height using this method for 2012. Uncut, the ginger easily grows to six feet in height.

The ginger likes moist soil and it is situated beneath one of our outdoor faucets where it catches whatever drips fall when the garden hose is in use. I've not intentionally watered the ginger at all this summer. It does just fine as you can see in the photo of the mass planting.

Part-shade works best, but I also grow this out in other areas of the garden in full sun, including planted directly into our water feature. The leaves can get wilted and scorched in the hottest areas of the garden, so you'll have to keep an eye on it during the summer. Heavily composted, rich soil is super for this ginger.

No critters eat the ginger—the deer, rabbits and voles haven't touched it.

White butterfly ginger is a great companion plant for a fragrance-and-white themed garden. I also grow star jasmine (trachelospermum jasminoides) and sweet bay magnolia (magnolia virginiana) in the same garden, and those bloomed in the spring. The gardenia bloomed in spring and is repeating now. The osmanthus blooms in spring and fall, too.

I plan to sow seeds for the white, honey fragranced, sweet alyssum for next year. The annual alyssum blooms all summer unless the temperatures are too hot. It is now blooming again.

All of these fragrance plants—perennial, vine, shrub, tree and annual—are wonderful performers. I'm happy to recommend these white bloomers!

Better give ginger lots of space! September 2011.

Alyssum 'Carpet of Snow'

Words and photos by Freda Cameron, Defining Your Home, Garden and Travel. Deer and rabbit resistance varies based upon the animal population and availability of food. All company or product or patented names mentioned are registered trademarks, copyrights, or patents owned by those respective companies or persons.
Freelance travel writer. My current fiction writing projects include a completed manuscript and several works in progress.

By the way, my name is pronounced fred-ah, not freed-ah. Thank you.

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