Growing the Wonderful Philadelphus
Botanical Name: Philadelphus. Common Name: Mock Orange .
The common name gives away its secret. It has a powerful fragrance similar to orange blossom. Imagine the smell of cutting into the peel of an orange. In full sunshine when the tree is in full flower the scent can be detected from many metres away.
It is a very ordinary shrub – in winter it has bare branches and in summer its leaves are a very plain green colour, but during the month of July it becomes an amazing sight. It is covered with white, tinged pink blossom, which have a fragrance that isn’t found in other shrubs. I would therefore leave it at the back of the border where it will not be too conspicuous during the rest of the year, and will still be noticeable during its flowering period.
Buying and planting guide.
The shrub can be found for sale in garden centres all the year round but it is an easy shrub to propagate yourself. Over the next two months cut a few twigs from a friend’s bush, and plant it in good quality soil or compost in a shaded space or a cold frame. They should take root before the onset of winter. When you see new growth on your bare twigs next spring, you will know that you have cracked the trick of propagating new plants, saving you the cost of buying new plants. After a month or two, dig it out with as much soil as possible and replant it in its permanent position in your garden. In its second year it should already be flowering. It grows quite quickly and can reach 2-3 metres , so make sure you prune it well, especially during the first few years to make sure it retains a bushy form.
Philadelphus needs very little care, neither the problem bugs nor diseases seem to like it, just cut it back after flowering and you have a shrub for life. When in flower there is an abundance of long flowering stems to spice up your home with their scent. Keep changing them every few days. No need for citrus air freshener this week!