Philadelphus, otherwise known as “The Mock Orange” are well known for their heady scent, especially on an early summer morning or evening. There are many different varieties but one of the most useful has to be Belle Etoile. If you love scented flowers, there’s just no good reason to be without this shrub. It’s a great medium sized plant that can be squeezed into any style of garden or planting scheme providing waves of delicious scent for a few weeks during early to mid-summer. If you’re a connoisseur of scent, you’d say it smells a lot like citrus flowers, which helps to explain the common name.
Belonging to the Hydrangeaceae family, the genus consists of about 60 different species that vary in height from 1m to 6m tall and are native to North and Central America, Asia and south-east Europe. Philadelphus are tough little shrubs and can thrive in any soil type, however they perform at their best in full sunshine. Once established they will cope with some shade and quite a bit of drought, however you may forfeit some of its magnificence during the flowering season.
Philadlephus Belle Etoile is an unassuming little plant which send its branches out in an arching habit. You don’t really have to make room for it in your garden. It’s one of those things you can plant in an out-of-the-way corner and once established you should be rewarded with little white flowers, full of fragrance, covering the entirety of the plant. Some varieties have a tendency to become leggy and the old wood should be pruned after the flowering season. New shoots should be left to provide next year’s flowers. Correct pruning is essential. If you prune too early you will lose the flower buds for the current year, prune too late and the shrub will not have enough time in the growing season to provide flowering stems for the following year.
I haven’t used Philadelphus Belle Etoile for a while in my planting schemes and to be honest there is no reason why not. It’s a great medium sized shrub filler that can be fitted in to just about any scheme. I like to use it as a specimen amongst summer flowering perennials like Salvia carradonna, Geranium rozanne and Penstemon. It can also look great mixed with an understory of smaller ornamental grasses like penisetum orientale. Wherever you decide its final home should be, make sure you can get easy access to its flowers so you can cut the odd stem or two to bung in a vase indoors. Writing about this plant has reminded me what a fabulous little shrub Belle Etoile is, we should all have one!
motilium no prescription