Home of the Practically Perfect Pink Phlox and other native plants for pollinators

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Wildflower Wednesday: Scentless Mock-Orange




The Scentless Mock Orange caught me by surprise, I hadn't noticed it was blooming. It's lovely white flowers were draped over the garden gate and waving at me to pay attention. Small bees buzzed around the  4 petaled flowers. It lit up the shady spot behind the patio gate. But, even out of bloom, it has a lot to recommend it. William Cullina says this about them: "In a favorable spot, the whole plant is wreathed in white and it is quite lovely in a loose and delicate way"

They were here when we bought this house nearly 28 years ago. They are not the straight species but are most likely Philadelphus inodorus 'Grandiflora'. They are so attractive and so nearly like the species that I believe they are worth sharing. Perhaps, hearing about Scentless Mock-Orange will spark your interest/desire to locate the species for your garden.

There are four species of Philladelphus in Tennessee,  P. hirsutus, P inodorus, P pubescens var intectus and P pubescens var. pubescens. Although, each are found growing in my home county, I've never seen them in the local woodlands. I suspect that they are rare and possibly endangered in the wild. After studying the photos of the flowers and foliage at the University of Tennessee Herbarium website it is clear that the flowers of 'Grandiflora' are twice the size of the species, but, everything else seems the same.
Like the species, my Philadelphus shrubs have a very fine upright shape, arching stems, exfoliating bark and when in bloom, lovely white flowers that have no scent.
Scentless Mock-Orange has clusters of small flowers with 60 to 90 stamens in each flower. The 2 - 4" long ovate shaped leaves are simple and opposite and the entire plant can reach a height of 10'. The mature bark is often gray, but can become more of a mahogany color over time. It is more floriferous in full sun, but grows well in part shade with at least four hours of sun. It prefers calcareous or neutral soils (my garden) and can be found in nature from Canada to Florida and weest to Missouri, Arkansas and Louisiana. (source)

It's a beautiful flowering shrub that's not only easy to grow, but, takes very little maintenance....I never water it. Trust me here, it has survived in the Garden of Benign Neglect for almost 30 years.

I love this plant and want it to step out of the shadows of the woodlands and from the corners of old gardens into the spotlight. Even if you haven't the space in your garden for a shrub this large, you can spread the word and encourage native plant enthusiasts to think about adding Scentless Mock-Orange to their gardens. It would be a wonderful shrub for the back of the border or at the edge of the woods. It would be a good basic hedge/screen, a specimen in a large border or in a cottage garden.

Lest I forget, it's attractive to native bees, too.



xoxogail

Welcome to Clay and Limestone's Wildflower Wednesday celebration. WW is about sharing and celebrating wildflowers from all over this great big, beautiful world. Join us on the fourth Wednesday of each month. Remember, it doesn't matter if they are in bloom or not; and, it doesn't matter if we all share the same plants. It's all about celebrating wildflowers. Please leave a comment when you add your url to Mr Linky.



Gail Eichelberger is a gardener and therapist in Middle Tennessee. She loves wildflowers and native plants and thoroughly enjoys writing about the ones she grows at Clay and Limestone. She reminds all that the words and images are the property of the author and cannot be used without written permission.

33 comments:

  1. Mockorange is a shrub from my childhood, although I don't know which one it was, but it did seem to be fragrant in my memories. That could be true, or not, but it is a fine shrub and beautifully presented here, dear Gail. Thanks for raising our awareness about the wildflowers!
    xoxoxo
    Frances

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  2. I love this shrub and grew one until it died....I am attempting to grow one again.... this one is just gorgeous although I had not heard of a scentless one before.

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  3. Gail, I have this shrub although probably not 'Grandiflora' since my blooms are smaller. I don't do a thing to it. It gets mostly shade but still manages to bloom. And it's gotten a LOT bigger than the tag said!

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  4. We have a couple of Mock Orange shrubs here, although they are the sweet-scented ones. I posted about the shrub as a plant of the month last year at this time, but this year, it's not blooming yet. Your scentless ones do indeed have large flowers! They are great cut flowers by the way. Thanks for hosting Wildflower Wednesday.

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  5. I have the scented version at my house, and it it one of my favorites! It does tolerate shade, and still blooms fairly well. The only thing I have done is thin it out, and that is only after about 20 years of growing free :)

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  6. Gail - I'm one of the few who cannot stand the smell of Philadelphus - who knew there was that perfect woody plant out there just waiting for me to discover it? Now, I wonder just how hardy it might be. Not listed as a native in my Shrubs of Ontario - however, is in the USDA database and is shown growing in Ontario up to Hudson's Bay, which is probably a bit of a stretch. Haven't grown any little shrubs in a while, maybe it's time to look for this one. Thanks again for hosting this fun day.
    B.

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  7. Mock orange is one of the shrubs I've been looking for for my garden.
    absolutely love these. I must confess though that Im looking for one with scent!

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  8. I love mock orange and have a mature one, but for some reason it does not bloom well for me, every year is the same thing. I suspect my sandy soil is not it's favorite. I do love the scent of the blooms though, very sweet just like orange blossoms.

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  9. Looks like a great native shrub with beautiful flowers. I have a western native mock-orange called Philadelphus lewisii, which does have a typical mock-orange scent, but mine isn't flowering yet. It has lots of buds though, so maybe by next month I will feature it in my WW post. Typically for me, I planted it in the wrong spot, close to the front of the bed, where it has gotten enormous, with no help from me.

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    1. What's the scent like Alison? Truthfully I've never sniffed a Mock Orange! xo

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  10. I've seen these growing and blooming around here (west Tennessee) more this year than usual. I don't have the space, but enjoy spotting them elsewhere. Your pictures are great. Thanks for sponsoring Wildflower Wednesday!

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  11. We have the species (Philadelphus inordorus) that was planted on the farm when we moved here. Love your version - flowers are huge. May have to sneek a cutting. I love your Wildflower Wednesday post.

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    Replies
    1. You can have cuttings! Thank you always for your friendship and kind support. xo

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  12. I had a couple of mockoranges, but they were mostly sacrificed for the garden redesign. One small piece of one is still out there somewhere. I should check to see if it is blooming.

    In the meantime, I posted about Baptisia today for Wildflower Wednesday. Thanks for coming up with this fun meme.

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  13. I wrote about trilliums for Wildflower Wednesday. I have 5 different kinds. I hope you'll come visit and see them all.

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  14. What a beautiful shrub and flowers!! I will be late with my post... a day or so??

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  15. Your Mock-Orange flowers are very abundant and showy, beautiful! I have just a 5' shrub, P. dwarf Snowflake, and it hasn't started to bloom yet this year. The white flowers do smell indeed like orange blossoms, I love the fragrance. It's much stronger than the other "mock orange" flowers, Choisya ternata. There used to be a large Mock-Orange tree in my woods but I haven't seen it for years, so I don't know what happened. This month I am featuring Orange Honeysuckle and the tiny Nemophila parviflora.

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  16. That sure is lovely! I had a mock orange of some kind at a different place we lived, and I didn't know much about shrubs, so I kept trying to keep it trimmed into a shape I thought it should have, but all it wanted to do was look gangly. I'm thinking I got brave and planted one in my garden across the street last year. The 3 different bushes I planted have grown well, and I don't remember if I've tried pruning any of them. I'll have to look to see if I can find out what kind it is.

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  17. Lovely flowers on a striking plant. I didn't know there was a scentless mock orange.

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  18. It is a lovely plant. Makes me think of white Trillium grandiflorum would be like as a small shrub.

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  19. I have a beautiful mock orange in my garden. I don't know which one it is but it smells great. I also have a double flowering one. It smells good but it isn't as pretty of a shrub. Happy WW.

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  20. Beautiful shrub! I think the Mock Orange I remember from years ago was scented, but not sure. Thanks for hosting Wildflower Wednesday!
    Lea
    Lea's Menagerie

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  21. Such lovely flowers! And anything that can survive on its own for 30 years is a winner for me! Happy Wildflower Wednesday, Gail; I hope to join in as soon as I can get a post up. There are so many plants sitting on my patio waiting to get planted before the next round of rain hits that I feel guilty sitting at the computer:)

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  22. How lovely! I saw this plant for sale at the NC Botanical Garden and I don't know why I didn't get one. Will have to remedy that! :)

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  23. It's a lovely shrub. I used to have one but gave it away. I just saw a beautiful shrub of a specimen so might have to rethink it.

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  24. Forgot to say my camera is a point and shoot Nikon P500 Coolpix. Love it! I wish I could've had my American Columbo post up by this month but it won't be until next week. It is blooming and is amazing. Now of course it will die but there are many more. Anyhow, enjoy this lovely day!

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  25. my post went up early, but I've updated from your April to May link. I began with the almost colours, but the in your face ones couldn't be ignored!

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  26. PS beware, you're getting some friendly spam. It's friendly, but it's spam all the same!

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    Replies
    1. Sneaky aren't they! I was in the garden all day and missed it. Thank you.

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  27. Lovely photos, everyone!
    I just started my own Wildflower Wednesday category on my blog this month to share the quick pix I was taking while walking the pups.
    How fun to see that other folks are also posting pix of their local wildflowers. It really lets you see the variety of blossoms around the country.

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  28. It is indeed a very lovely flowers, but I want mockorange to smell like mockorange.

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  29. I have these in East Texas and they grow like weeds! We have to rip up the plantlets so they don't take over. They are affected by drought - they look awful when all wilted down, but a little rain brings them right back.

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Let us be grateful to people who make us happy;
they are the charming gardeners
who make our souls blossom.


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