Thursday, February 26, 2009

Hedychium flavescens, Cream Ginger

Hedychium flavescens 
 Cream Ginger

Ornamental Gingers have become quite popular in recent years and as they are native to mountainous regions in the tropics (this one is from east India) they are adaptable to more temperate climates and are frost hardy.Some such as Hedychium gardnerianum, the yellow ginger, like it a little too well here and can act like a garden thug spreading by thick rhizomes and difficult to dig out once established. It has even become a bushland weed especially in cool moist gullies where clumps can spread for a couple of metres across and are just as tall. It is clearly visible locally in such a spot if driving the Bulli Pass road.
It is the perfume of gingers which is the real attraction,as all have a strong sweet scent with lemon and gardenia overtones.The flowers are good for picking. sitting atop tall stems of large tropical leaves ,they make for dramatic arrangements.The perfume will fill the room on a late summer evening. In the garden ,old flower stems need to be removed once flowering has finished . Sometimes borer attack the stems and are noticed by the small holes at the base of the stem and the withered growth of the top. Otherwise they are fairly hardy but perform best in semi-shade with reasonably moist fertile soil.

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