As I’m writing this article it’s a cold, wet day in early May, right now flaming June seems a long way off but 21st June is the longest day of the year and the extra light and warmth will encourage all plants to put on an extra burst of growth, including weeds. Here at P&R Garden Supplies we’re full of bedding plants ready for planting out now, and now the risk of frost has passed we can all stop watching the weather so intently! In June, wherever you look in the garden colour can be seen in abundance. But there are a group of plants that are grown for their spectacular heady scent – Philadelphus, or Mock Orange. Philadelphus makes a great addition to any garden as it requires very little maintenance. It will grow almost anywhere in sun or shade, and in a wide variety of soil conditions, and will even cope with exposed conditions. Philadelphus are part of the family Hydrangeaceae, which includes hydrangeas and deutzia. The genera are characterised by leaves in opposite pairs, and regular, bisexual flowers with 4 petals.
Philadelphus is a deciduous shrub (looses its leaves in winter) which grows vigorously, although varieties range in growth from 4ft to 10ft. The plant will benefit from pruning, but it is not essential to prune every year. If the shrub is getting too large, has developed some spindly branches, or you notice it is flowering less, prune to promote more growth and vigour. The best time to prune Philadelphus is after flowering. Cut back to good bud and /or remove about a quarter of the old growth. Like all shrubs regular pruning of the older growth with promote new growth and better flowering. Mock orange is easy to propagate, take softwood cuttings in summer or hardwood cuttings in autumn or winter.
Seven of the best varieties to try: Philadelphus 'Aureus': an upright, medium-sized shrub with bright yellow leaves when young Philadelphus ‘Virginal’: very fragrant, large double white flowers, a large shrub Philadelphus ‘Belle Etoile’: very hardy, arching growth habit, fragrant single flowers Philadelphus ‘Lemoinei’: extremely fragrant, single white flowers with lemon-yellow stamens Philadelphus ‘Manteau d’Hermine’: compact, intense fragrance, double creamy-white flowers Philadelphus ‘Snowstorm’: very hardy, scented white double flowers, vigorous grower Philadelphus ‘Mont Blanc’: white single flowers, intense fragrance, very hardy
Whatever June brings I hope you get a chance to step out into the sunshine and enjoy the season as you tackle this months gardening jobs. Rachel Sobiechowski BSc (Hons) P&R Garden Supplies, Fengate Drove, Brandon 01842 814800 www.p-rgardensupplies.co.uk