When, in early June, my three mock oranges are in bloom, I ponder them with the greatest appreciation. These deciduous shrubs were not planted by me, but by another thoughtful gardener decades ago, who must have cherished the sparkling white flowers and delicious, jasmine-like fragrance. I shall pass these plants on to other hands some day too, for mock orange (Philadelphus) is a perennial in the truest sense of the word.
All of my mock oranges are the same variety. But what that variety is called, I haven’t a clue. Perhaps someone who specializes in Philadelphus will let me know. The shrubs are 6-8 feet in height, about the same in width. Flowers are single, with bright gold stamens.
In the house, mock orange makes a delightful cut flower. The twiggy stems, in fact, are indispensible for holding up an arrangement of English roses that would otherwise fall out of a bowl or vase. Placed in a blue and white china bowl, stems of mock orange, perennial blue salvia and a few colorful roses make an exquisite, and very fragrant, bouquet for dining table or mantelpiece.
Culture: New plants fare best in good, loose soil, to which plenty of leaf mold or composted cow manure has been incorporated. Additional fertilizer is not required. Water deeply once each week during the first season of growth. Philadelphus will adapt itself to full sun, partial sun and even dense shade. Once established, it requires no care whatsoever, beyond a light springtime pruning immediately after the flowers have faded. Shrubs are hardy in zones 4-8.
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