Philadelphus – Popular Shrubs for the Garden
These are the well-loved Mock Oranges, known to most gardeners for the scent of their early summer, although not all of them have the piercingly sweet ‘orange-blossom’ fragrance of the old-fashioned, commonly grown Philadelphus coronarius with its creamy-white flowers. This may grow to 10 feet tall, producing annually a mass of young shoots, either springing from the base or from the older wood, and it is on this young growth that the Mock Oranges produce most of their flowers, which gives the clue to . This consists in thinning out some of the oldest stems each year, after the flowers have faded, thus giving the younger growth a better chance to ripen. These young growths are always paler in colour so that it is an easy matter to differentiate when pruning.
There is a particularly beautiful variety of Philadelphus coronarius, known as aureus, with golden-yellow leaves which, after midsummer, turn greenish-yellow. In spring it is an out-standing sight.
The Mock Oranges are easy plants to grow but prefer a y sunny position. The old vernacular name ‘Syringa’ still persists, although the true syringas are the lilacs.
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