I think the true gardener is a lover of his flowers, not a critic of them.
I think the true gardener is the reverent servant of Nature, not her truculent, wife-beating master.
I think the true gardener, the older he grows, should more and more develop a humble, grateful and uncertain spirit.
Reginald Farrer, In a Yorkshire Garden, 1909

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Jasmine (Kemuning)

The 5-petal white flower
I bought this plant at an annual floral fest slightly more than a year ago and it has grown tall since then. When I bought it, I think it was about 3 or 4 feet tall but then it was heavily attacked by scales and so I had to trim and cut it down to control the spread. Now, its over 7 feet tall but not as robust because its not getting full direct sunlight. Although scientifically called 'murraya paniculata', over here, its locally known as jasmine or bunga kemuning (in Malay).

Growing high and nice
Some calls it 'bunga sedap malam' because of the sweet smell it gives out at night. Actually, the smell is all day long. Its not really strong, so unless the whole tree blooms with the white flowers, you need to get very close to the flowers to enjoy the smell. The smell unfortunately do not last long, perhaps a day or so, when the petals will start dropping. I normally picks them up and drop it into the pot as compost. Its a plant worth having around to sweeten the air and brighten up the place :)

Since I bought this plant for its distinctive smell, I wasn't aware of its other uses. I have read somewhere that it is also considered as a herb with medicinal values. If it is, it would be an added bonus. Do you know which part of the tree and for what medical purposes its used for?

A helpful bug
In this upclose pic, you can see the leaves had turned yellowish at the edges and in the middle thanks to scales. And you can also see, what looks like, a black bug and I actually witnessed it attacking and eating the scales. I know that ladybugs are predatory insects but this doesn't look like a ladybug. Well, as long as it attacks scales, its not a pest and therefore worth having it around. But I only found one and its not enough to get rid of the many scales still found on the plant. I will need to choose one day and start removing them manually. Scales are exceptionally stubborn. Its very difficult to totally remove them but must be kept in check or it will take over the whole plant/tree in a short time.

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