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flowers a-z: j is for jasmine

by SarahB

Hello, again! You may have noticed here at Flowers A–Z that I have some proclivities. For example, I have a genuine soft spot for fragrant florals. Also, I’ve never met a delicate, garden-y bloom I didn’t like. So if you present me with a feminine vine that smells amazing, I’m SOLD. That’s why for today’s post, “j” is for “jasmine.”

The name “jasmine” (derived from the Arabic “yasmin,” meaning “gift from God”) characterizes a wide range of fragrant bushes and vines in the olive family. Jasmine is grown all over the world in basically all temperate and tropical climates. Throughout Asia, India and the Middle East, jasmine is cultivated for tea, essential oils and syrup. Since jasmine is “night-blooming,” the process of plucking the blossoms at just the right time to extract their essence is something of an art form.

There are countless cultural and religious roles for jasmine. In India, jasmine is placed on altars, used in garlands and worn in women’s hair. Perhaps best of all, jasmine can be grown indoors as a house plant, provided the soil stays moist. The bathroom can be an ideal spot for potted jasmine, particularly if it stays cool at night.

Follow me after the jump, where I’ll offer some tips for working with jasmine and highlight a few other gorgeous fleurs. Today’s design focus will be simple — a pretty, “girly” arrangement where the jasmine vine is free to drape casually. — Sarah

CLICK HERE for the rest of the post after the jump!

As I often do, I am saving my featured flower for the last added element of the arrangement. I have selected some fluffy, round blooms to pair with the jasmine. When working with a vine, I like to create a plane of texture and color from which the vine can appear to “spring forth.” I am drawn to the idea of the jasmine being the “wild” factor with the rest of the flowers tucked neatly underneath.

I began with incredible hot pink Darcey garden roses. Any chunky blossom will do here. I have also chosen a trumpet vase with soft lines. The bell shape of this vase makes designing much easier — as you place each flower in the container, it will fall nicely above the neck of the vase. As you add each successive bloom, the smaller base will cinch the stems tight and assist with construction.

And what is spring without ranunculus? Ranunculus fits all my categories here — feminine and round with an interesting texture. I like to let some ranunculus hang lower in the arrangement and others can sit higher “at attention.” Because we are aiming for a loose look, the structure of the arrangement is less important; it can be carefree, so experiment with flower placement. Do you like the look of grouping the blooms or alternating them?

Feeling the love of the season, I added some trick dianthus “grass,” which just happens to be fluffy and round, as well. And what a great shot of bright color to break up the pinks!

Now the star of the show — the jasmine. I added jasmine clusters to the center of the arrangement and tucked them into the sides. Because it is such a willowy vine, you can move the tendrils to drape over the top of the arrangement or down on the table. Although I always recommend cleaning the stems of flowers that sit below the water line, with jasmine you can get a bit lazy and leave the shoots and leaves in the vase. They don’t contribute much to the decay in the water, and I don’t find seeing them in the water particularly offensive.

I love the languid look of this arrangement.

The texture of the jasmine is wonderful — even the closed buds add something special to this arrangement.

Breathe deep and enjoy the next few days as the jasmine warms in your home — the sweet and lovely fragrance will linger! Meet me back here in two weeks when “k” will be for . . .

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  • Gosh, I love all of the flowers a-z posts, but this is a definite favorite.
    There’s something so romantic about jasmine– so soft and sleepy and sweet. I love your suggestion of putting some in a bathroom; the perfect balance of earthy and glamorous.

  • Jasmine is my signature scent..i always mix a few drops of the essential oil with my moisturiser and believe me nothing smells better than that..love it mixed up with those gorgeous roses..adds a little whimsy to the arrangement…i never would have thought of this combination..beautiful!! xx meenal

  • For all the time I’ve spent getting jasmine to grow across my front porch, it has never once occurred to me to bring it inside! I love sitting on the porch swing when it’s in bloom; can’t wait to have it in the house as well.

  • I love your use of Jasmine in the bouquet! I can smell the fragrance through my computer. Really love this post. I photograph flowers in the garden and have yet to learn all the names, so I’ll be keeping a close eye on your A- Z’s. Great posts.

  • LOVE jasmines!! Of course, I guess I am biased as I am from India. They look so pretty and I love the smell so much, I have 4-5 different lotions with jasmine as the main scent.

    The arrangement looks very pretty with the roses and ranunculus. Never thought of paring them together.

  • My sister and I were both given middle names after flowers: mine is “Rose” and hers is “Jasmine”- can’t wait to share this article with her!

  • Thanks so much, everyone! In the studio today working with jasmine for a photoshoot and it cheers me like nothing else. See you two weeks!

  • Beautiful images~ and I can smell the jasmine in my head. Reminds me of summer bike rides as a kid, passing by our neighbor’s fence that gushed over with these.

  • Indoors jasmine!!! I thought that was impossible! Thanks for the tip, you made my day!

    Hope the plant likes my londoner studio! ;D

  • Not all jasmine is night-blooming. I have a 12 ft. by 8 ft. trellis thickly covered with jasmine vines that provide shade and a privacy screen for our porch, and they bloom during the day – and night. Sitting on the porch in late April-early May is pure heaven. Then my Miami giant gardenias bloom. Awesome scents! Truly awesome!

  • Thank you so much for walking us through the whole thing, explaining your reasoning for each choice. I am trying to teach myself to do this, and this is so illuminating!

  • I love jasmine as well. When ours come into bloom my daughter calls it the ice cream tree – I’e wound it up around a huge cone so it really does almost look like ice cream, but smells so heavenly! Fantastic in a bouquet.

  • My jasmine grew right through the bedroom window, and while there was snow and it was bare outside, in my room it blossomed! Who wouldn’t love a flower like this?