May 21, 2012

Plant of the month:
Mock Orange

My neck aches. This is not surprising, as I noticed during the weekend that the Mock Orange is starting to bloom—from the top down. In my excitement, I spent a little time with my head tilted back and my neck craned to get a few shots of the blooms catching the sun’s rays.


And the buds preparing to bloom.


Mock Orange (Philadelphus) is an easy-care shrub. I honestly don’t do much with mine except enjoy it. But year after year it graces its space with cascading boughs of fluffy, white blooms. It’s drought-tolerant, according to bhg.com, which isn’t surprising since I rarely water it. It sits atop a stone wall and creates a pleasant, light privacy hedge.



The scent of Mock Orange is described by various sources as citrusy or Jasmine-like. I also note a hint of Rose, but it’s a very subtle, not overpowering, scent.

Apparently Mock Orange boughs are commonly used by florists in bridal bouquets—you can find a few examples on Pinterest. I have used it in floral arrangements, and it drapes nicely over the edge of a vase. And the dragonflies like it, too.


Other factoids of interest:
• Grows well in zones 4-7;
• Prefers sun or part sun (mine is in a spot that gets ample morning and some afternoon sun);
• Grows 3-15 feet tall, and up to 6 feet wide; and
• Has a long, easy-care lifespan.

I honestly don’t know which variety of Philadelphus the previous owners planted here, but I’d guess it’s either lewisii or coronarius.

If you need an easy-care, tall hedge/bush with pleasant-scented, cascading blooms, Mock Orange is a great option.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

One other reason my neck is sore is from looking up at a similar angle to the jumbotron at my son’s graduation from UW-Madison on Saturday. I can’t believe my little boy is a college graduate and on his way to an exciting engineering career!


I apologize for being out of the blogging loop, but it has been a crazy week. I can’t wait to visit my favorite bloggers!

27 comments:

  1. I love this shrub and had one in too small a garden....so I moved it and it did not like that...so it died...will have to look for another and find a nice spot...I actually think I have the right spot...now I need the shrub...congrats proud mama

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    1. Thanks, Donna. :) I almost wish I'd waited until now for this post, because the blooms are taking over the branches now--and it's so pretty. The scent is amazing, too!

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  2. Such a great shrub and I love the fragrance. Old fashioned by most standards, the shrub is way underused as far as I am concerned. Wish you could have made the Fling. It would have been wonderful to meet.

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    1. I know--I hope we can meet sometime, too! The Mock Orange is definitely a winner in my book. It's hitting its peak about now. Sweet!

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  3. Saying Philadelphus is being transported in grandmother's garden... Love all of them!
    Congrats for your little boy!

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    1. Thank you, Dona. Mock Orange is a good choice--for any garden in the right zone.

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  4. Congratulations to the grad!

    Mine is P. inodorata -- no fragrance but still beautiful.

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    1. I'll have to look it up. A great portion of the benefit of Mock Orange is its visual appeal, so you are fortunate, too!

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  5. I planted my first Philadelphus last winter, after wanting one for years (they're not at all common here). Can't wait for spring!

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    1. Oh, yes! I'll look forward to seeing your posts about it when it's springtime by you and autumn by me. Hurrah!

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  6. Mock Orange was one of my mother's favorites and we had this growing at home ... so love the memories and haunting fragrance! And hugs to you and your son ... a huge accomplishment ... they grow up so fast, don't they? A lovely post that touched my heart.

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    1. Thank you, Joey. It has been an emotional time lately. The joy of some of my favorite plants keeps me smiling. Your mother sounds like a woman of good taste. :)

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  7. I was given a 4" cutting of mock orange which I have grown on and last year pinched out, sacrificing blooms in the hopes of a nice full bush. I'm hoping to be rewarded with flowers this year!

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    1. Hi Karen: Excellent choice! I can't wait to see/hear about your results. Starting from a 4" cutting is admirable. Good luck!

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  8. You are in, and I've quoted your description of the scent. Congratulations to your son!

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    1. Thanks, Diana. I sure appreciate it! I love to read about gardener's favorite plants, so your meme is wonderful!

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  9. Congrats on your son's graduation. You must be a proud Mom:) I never went to Madison because I was afraid that I'd drop out from too much partying. So many good memories there however:) Instead I went to Stevens Point and hugged trees:) The plant you mention grows well in Two Rivers, my hometown, and I love the smell:) It's a great plant to have in the landscape....very reliable to have around. Hope you have a great Thursday!

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    1. Thanks! Yeah, I think you have to find the right crowds at Madison. I love UW-Stevens Point! That must have been a great experience. I grew up in Shawano, so I'm very familiar with Two Rivers. The Mock Orange is in full bloom now, so I'm really enjoying it!

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  10. I've never grown mock orange but after seeing your photos, I want to!! Congrats on your son's graduation. I'm always encouraging my students to become engineers. :o)

    My massive Blatyk clematis is a vigorous vine that is really happy in its spot. Clematis love very rich, moist soil that doesn't dry out, but is never soggy. The farther south you live, the more afternoon shade they need. I give mine lots of compost as well as some Plant Tone. Also, there are two plants in that spot.

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    1. Good to know, re: engineers. I think he's pretty excited. Thanks for all the tips on Clematis. I think it's not exactly the best spot in my shady yard. Plus, it will seem like it's doing great and then the bugs will get to it, or the baby bunnies will eat it. I'll keep trying, though, because it was absolutely beautiful when we first moved here -- until I pruned it too much. :(

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  11. Congratulations to your son! I know you must be a proud mama, as you deserve to be.

    I just saw a mock orange growing in a friend's garden in Indiana. Everything else in her garden was suffering from a lack of rain this spring, but the mock orange was blooming like crazy and smelled heavenly.

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    1. Thanks, yes I am proud. :) The Mock Orange was even prettier today, with the sun out again. But the blooms are fading fast in the heat.

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  12. Congratulations to your son, and best wishes for a successful career!

    I am glad you craned your neck and took the pictures, I enjoyed them very much. I love the fragrance of mock orange.

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    1. Thanks, Masha. I wasn't sure if the sore neck was from the jumbotron or the photos, or maybe both. ;-) I agree about the scent of Mock Orange. I got a good whiff today, and it was very pleasant.

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  13. See, I don't always beat you to a plant posting, and in this case it's because the blasted dwarf mock oranges we planted are unruly, floppy things that refuse to flower. Color them toast. Ah, such nice pictures, but no scratch and sniff.

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    1. You usually do by way of geography. ;-) But it's encouraging to know my garden has some of the same plants yours does, since you're a plant expert. I can't take much credit for the Mock Orange, since the previous owners planted it and established it. But I sure do enjoy it!

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  14. My mock orange didn't bloom for years and years..I kept hauling around as I moved and finally, in a small town in Eastern Oregon, it decided to grow and bloom! It is so lovely, but when I cut branches to bring inside, they droop in little time and I have to toss them out. Is it the woody stems? My lilacs do the same thing.

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