My favorite flowering shrub is mock orange. Its botanical name is Philadelphus coronarius, with several species and hybrids. Its scent is sweet and enticing, and fills the air on a humid day. It reminds me of hot, childhood summers running through the lawn edged in a hedge of mock orange. A multi-stemmed shrub that can be pruned to keep it in bounds, or shaped for a more formal design. Some species are about ten feet tall while others have been tamed with breeding to be dwarfed. All have a wonderful clean, white flowers with four petals and yellow stamens, blooming late May to early June. The bark is exfoliating, turning a reddish-brown in winter providing interest once the leaves drop.
The older, single flowered varieties are more fragrant than the new crosses and hybrids. A favorite dwarf of mine is ‘Miniature Snowflake’ that combines both a dense habit, shorter four-foot height and very good fragrance. The white flowers are double and foliage a dark green.
All species do well in full sun or light shade. They are pH and soil adaptable, but like moist, well-drained soil high in organic matter. All respond well to pruning by producing new growth with lots of flowers. Mock oranges are not bothered by any pests severely, tolerating the common aphid invasions and once in a while, leaf miners. Basically, reliable old-fashioned shrub with great scent.