Thursday, June 12, 2008

Mock orange

Why is mock orange associated with weddings? Is it because these blooms appear at the same time as do June brides? The plant's evocative scientific name, Philadelphus virginalis? The sweetly demure scent of the flower? Perhaps it's because every photograph of mock orange, like every bride, is by definition beautiful.

Here, pairs of individual flowers, like bridesmaids in broad-brimmed hats, process along a bough.

Along our property line, my neighbor and I share two mock orange bushes. When properly pruned--which this one should be after it finishes flowering--their arched branches form a loose fountain of white flowers. Every year after the blooms have passed, a third of the older wood should be cut out at the base. Between all the other late spring pruning demanded byother shrubs around here, I'm happy if I can tend to a third of that third.

If only there were more of them! What I like least about mock orange is the brevity of their bloom period: only two or so weeks. A short-lived honeymoon, for sure.

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