Jasminum nudiflorim

Some plants are ubiquitous, but so satisfactory that they never look stale. Winter jasmine is one. A deciduous, extremely hardy shrub from China smothered in small, starry, yellow flowers on bare stems which illumine dark corners of the garden for most of the winter months. It thrives in any aspect or soil, in country or the murkiest town, and I find it does better on a north-facing wall than on a south-facing one.

Usually grown as a climber – it will grow up to 12 feet (3.6 m) – it is far from self-supporting, its nature being to spray downhill, so that unless you can plant it at the top of a wall or bank and let it tumble down, you must attach it to your house wall with nails, wires, trellis or whatever supportmg system you prefer. Leave the tops of the stems unpruned to droop gracefully. When the flowers are faded, pairs of very small trifoliate leaves will clothe the stems in a new dress, so that 1 the plant has no dull moment throughout the year. At this stage it is advisable to shorten the stems which have flowered with secateurs, but not to cut them over closely with shears, as is sometimes done, for the plant will lose its trailing character. Winter jasmine cuts well for the house, and needs a few stems of some evergreen plant to show off the yellow stars. I like it with sprigs of skimmia, or a small-leaved ivy.

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