Flowering Bushes · Garden Design

Sweet Mock Orange – Add Beautiful Jasmin Aroma to Your Late Spring Garden. Suitable For Colder Climate.

Flowering Mock Orange in its full beauty blooming in our garden in the second half of June, 2016.
Flowering Mock Orange in its full beauty blooming in our garden in the second half of June, 2016.

Today I would like to feature one of my favorite flowering shrubs – aromatic Mock Orange Seringa – Philadelphus coronarius, wich to me smells like white Jasmin I remember from my youth.

The variety I have has double, very full looking flowers and really smells wonderful. In pretty cold climate – zone 5b where we live, it usually flowers in June. In our garden, it grows facing West, so it only receives direct light in the afternoon, but still blooms very abundantly.

This is the third year we have this plant in in our garden. I have purchased in when it was still pretty small, but already flowering. Its smell and look reminds me of other very popular shrub I remember from the time when I was still living in Poland. We called it there “Jasmin”, but I belive it was also Mock Orange variety native to the so called “Old World”. The other “Jasmin” smelled just like this one, but had much more simple, not as full-looking flowers. This kind of shrub was and still is very popular in Poland and it blooms there in late spring.

Aromatic Mock Orange shrub blooming in our garden, June 2016.
Aromatic Mock Orange shrub blooming in our garden, June 2016.

I was looking for a while for a similar smelling Jasmin-like plant in Canada, which could be grown in our climate. I have found this beauty, which I think looks even more amazing that the familiar to me variety since its flowers look much fuller and they seem to last a bit longer.

The Mock Orange we have in our garden can bloom for a few weeks. I wish it could bloom longer, or repeat bloom, but it’s not the case. Nevertheless, I think even if it blooms for only pretty short period, because of its delicate beauty and wonderful aroma, it is worth keeping in the garden.

Mock Orange shrub blooming in our garden along Hosta and pink Astible, June 2016. Delphinium is getting ready to bloom.
Mock Orange shrub blooming in our garden along Hosta and pink Astible, June 2016. Delphinium is getting ready to bloom.

For now this plant remains still pretty small and I think this year will be probably smaller then last year because it was severely damaged by frost. I should have protected it better from winter. Since it was its second year in our garden, I though it will survive pretty well without much winter protection because it is hardy in our zone. I have just put some cedar mulch around its roots. We didn’t have very strong winter this year, but the temperatures were changing often and we had some freezing rain. All these sudden temperature variations and frost must have damaged this still quite tender young plant.

Our Mock Orange shrub growing beside Hostas, Astible, Delphinium, variegated Periwinkle and other plants. June, 2016.
Our Mock Orange shrub growing beside Hostas, Astible, Delphinium, variegated Periwinkle and other plants. June, 2016.

When I looked at it in early spring, I though it might be death since I didn’t see any signs of life. Fortunately slowly some leaves started to appear on lower branches. The main, tallest branch is still lifeless and I am afraid it is just a dead wood that I need to cut.  I am glad this plant is still alive and I hope it will fully recover, grow bigger and have many flowers.

Mock Orange in our garden growing along Hosta, Delphinium and Periwinkle. June, 2016.
Mock Orange in our garden growing along Hosta, Delphinium and Periwinkle. June, 2016.

In its first year in our garden I have not only added some mulch to protect its roots, but also wrapped the bush in burlap. It helped to protect this little shrub and I should do it in the future, at least for a while, till it will get bigger and better established.

More Information About Mock Orange Shrub.

The species we have in our garden is Philadelphus coronarius, commonly known as “Sweet Mock Orange” because  of its beautiful fragrance. Personally its fragrance is not reminding me of oranges at all, but maybe it is how orange trees’ blossoms  smell. I am not sure since we are not growing oranges in our climate. Other name for this plant is also “English dogwood”, but please do not confuse it with true flowering dogwoods.

Philadelphus coronarius belongs to the family Hydrangaceae, and is native to Southeastern Europe and Southwestern Asia. It is a deciduous shrub and because is stays pretty small, only up to 3 m (10 ft) tall by 2.5 m (8 ft) wide, it can work well even in smaller gardens.

When buying Mock Orange bush, it is best to buy it when in is is already flowering to make sure it really has beautiful, strong aroma. Some varieties don’t have strong fragrance.

White blooming Mock Orange in our garden beside Hostas and Delphinium, which is getting ready for blooming. June, 2016.
White blooming Mock Orange in our garden beside Hostas and Delphinium, which is getting ready for blooming. June, 2016.

It is best to plant Mock Orange in full sun to partial shade and provide well-drained, loamy soil. They might bloom better in full sun, but as you can see, in my garden this plant blooms quite well in semi-shade.  They are considered to be pretty drought-tolerant once established.

It is supposed to be hardy from USDA plant hardiness zones 4-8. From my experience, this is sometimes not the case, and it is better to protect it from extreme cold, especially when it is still young and pretty small.

If you want lots of blooms, you should remember that this shrub blooms on previous year’s growth, so if you need to trim it down, do it just after is stops flowering. Otherwise when cutting it at the end of the season or in spring before it blooms, you might prevent it from blooming.

When your Mock Orange finally matures, you might need to cut it back some more to keep the size compact. In this case, it is best, like with lilacs, when you do your yearly pruning,  use the one-third rule by cutting down the oldest one-third of branches to the ground level. It takes about 3 years to rejuvenate the shrub in this way and you will still enjoy blooms each year. When the bush is healthy, but very overgrown you can also drastically cut it down, but in this case, do it in early spring. You will have no blooms this year, but plant will be rejuvenated and should bloom again next year.

Companion Plants for Mock Orange Shrub.

I think Hostas make a perfect companion for this delicate shrub. In hour garden there are 2 Hostas growing beside it. Astible with their feathery flowers also look good beside Mock Orange. We have purple ever-green Periwincle with dark variegated leaves and some other little flowers growing in front and on the sides of Mock Orange as well.  Earlier in the season, when this plant is not in bloom yet, it is circled bey crocuses, Hiacynts, and later by tulip and other spring flowers.

Pink Astible blooming planted close-by to our Mock Orange, June, 2016.
Pink Astible blooming planted close-by to our Mock Orange, June, 2016.

Later in season, when Mock Orange has almost stopped flowering, I had dark purple Delphinium blooming close by, which I think was looking great beside this plant, as well as pink and purple Calla lilies. You can see how it all looked in the pictures I am attaching to this article.

Do you grow this plant yourself? Do you have any tips you would like to share with me and readers of this blog? I look forward to your comments.

 

A look on this flowering border from another side in the beginning of second week in July, 2016. As you can see, our orange Daylilies are already blooming, as well as pink Guara. Dark Purple Delpinium is in full bloom, but Mock Orange's flowers, at the end of the border, are almost gone and drying up.
A look on this flowering border from another side in the beginning of second week in July, 2016. As you can see, our orange Daylilies are already blooming, as well as pink Guara. Dark Purple Delpinium is in full bloom, but Mock Orange’s flowers, at the end of the border, are almost gone and drying up.

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Dark purple Delphinium in our garden in full bloom, the beginning of July, 2016. Hostas also started flowering, but Mock Orange's flowers are almost gone.
Dark purple Delphinium in our garden in full bloom, the beginning of July, 2016. Hostas also started flowering, but Mock Orange’s flowers are almost gone.

The Copyright.

All photographs and this article are copyrighted by me, Renata Ratajczyk. I you would like to use any of them in your publications or on your website, please contact me.

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