Wednesday 27 June 2012

Philadelphus - not dead after all

A few weeks ago I thought my Philadelphus tree was a goner. The (numerous) local pigeon population suddenly decided that Philadelphus leaves are the greatest delicacy on earth, and they stripped the tree bare of all its fresh young leaves. Perverse creatures, these pigeons, because they have ignored all the brassica plants in my garden, which pigeons usually can't resist.

Well, anyway, much to my relief (not to mention surprise) the poor tree has still managed to produce some flowers. Not as many as normal, but at least some, so they are best looked at in close-up rather than from a distance.

Notice the raindrops adorning them...

My tree seems to be a bit of an unusual one, in that its flowers are semi-double ones. When they are just opening they look single

Single flowers?

But when they are fully open they look double

Or Double flowers?

I suppose I do also have to show you what the tree looks like from a distance, since I have committed to displaying both successes and failures in my garden... It's a bit sparse, isn't it?

This is what it looked like last year at the same time - and I thought then that it had done so badly that I would probably cut it down!

Well, I think this time I really will have to do something drastic. I plan to prune the tree VERY severely once the flowers have faded, in the hope of persuading it to produce a mass of new branches in time for next year. Most of the flowers appear on the soft new growth at the tips of the branches and not on the old wood anyway, so I think this must be the right thing to do.

Obviously I can't demonstrate how nice these blossoms smell, but let me just remind you that the Philadelphus is also know as the Mock Orange, because its scent is similar to that of Orange blossom - and very nice it is too!


  1. The perfume is lovely isn't it. Pruning philadelphus hard immediately after flowering is supposed to be a good thing. WE have a double variety but it often is plagued by blackfly.

  2. That`s a sad looking tree that the pigeons have stripped, I must count myself lucky they haven`t found mine yet.

  3. I have such fond memories of " mock orange". My parents had one in their garden and the fragrance was amazing, I always loved that bush. I am amazed at how large yours is, theirs was never more than about 1.5m. Do the hard prune but please don't remove it, you will surely miss that smell.

  4. What a beautiful tree! I enjoy looking at your pictures, I feel a breeze coming my way from the green foliage and rain drops.

  5. Gorgeous flowers on that tree. I like the photo with the water drops.

  6. I have never seen or smelled one of these but I have heard about them. I do like a flowering tree that smells good.

  7. I think we have one of these but it never flowers... I need to bring it back to life!... by the way our braod beans are ripening up nicely now we've had a bit of sunshine and warm weather!

  8. The flowers do look pretty and its always nice to have scented flowers so i hope the pruning works well.

  9. Mine is just starting to flower and has been left alone by pigeons - those in your area are obviously lunatics. Definitely needs a good prune Mark.

  10. So pleased it's not dead! As you say it's hard to describe the smell but it looks lovely. Very delicate. I am yet to take to anything with the pruning shears.

  11. Beautiful blossoms! Sad tree. It'll be interestig to see how it responds to harsh treatment.

  12. Beautiful flowers. We have a tiny plant raised from a cutting, it will be a year or two before it flowers for us.
    The RHS advises pruning straight after flowering I believe Philadelphus can take quite drastic renovation work - keep us posted!


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