September 26, 2009

Fragrance Fills the Fall Air

Fall is a fragrant time of year in my garden. Ginger, gardenia and osmanthus are in bloom at the same time, yet the fragrances are complimentary.

The white butterfly ginger has been blooming non-stop since early August. Rated for zones 8a-11, I grow mine in a protected spot against the east side of the house. The ginger spreads by rhizomes and can be divided in the spring into 8 inch sections. It grows 4-6 feet high, so it is great for filling up a moist location in part sun.

Gardenia 'August Beauty' is also blooming right now. This fragrant, evergreen shrub is rated for zones 8b-11 in partial shade and grows 4-6 feet high and wide. Since I am in zone 7b, I am really pushing the zone on this one! The gardenia is located in the fragrance garden with the "mother" ginger and a large osmanthus. Other fragrant plants in this section bloom at different times. Those are Confederate Jasmine and Sweet Bay Magnolia. The Winter Daphne died this summer after blooming gloriously for several years in the middle of winter.

The sweet scent of osmanthus fragrans is everywhere in my garden as these shrubs are located on all sides of the house. Osmanthus blooms in the spring and again in the fall. This evergreen shrub is rated for zones 7b to 10b, so it is marginal for my zone. That said, I've been growing this shrub for years here in this garden and at a previous house with no problems. It has proven to be quite tough with no pest problems and can handle a variety of sun to partial shade conditions. This one grows 8-10 feet high but I've seen them even larger in other gardens.

All three of these fragrant plants are deer resistant in my garden.

Words and photos by Freda Cameron; Location: home garden; All photos taken September 26, 2009
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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