Thursday, May 16, 2013

Sweet Mock Orange

May seems to bring more white flowers than other months.
Lilies of the valley, gardenias, magnolia blossoms, hydrangea, 
and mountain laurel all hold white blooms 
that reflect glints of sunshine by day 
and moonbeams by night.

white hydrangea,

And May is also when the sweet mock orange blooms.
Alice M. Coats, in her book Garden Shrubs and their Histories,
says the mock orange shrub was first introduced to Europe from Turkey
in the early 1560s, the same time as the lilac.
The flowers of the mock orange have an open habit
that reminds me of wild roses.
And a bonus of the sweet mock orange is its deep perfume.

Mock orange blossoms also provide a good source of nectar
for bees and butterflies:

Coats also says the hollow wood of the mock orange stem
was sometimes used to make pipe stems,
one reason the shrub is sometimes called a white pipe tree.
Another thing the mock orange is used for: perfume, tea flavoring,
and for giving summer drinks a refreshing cucumber-like taste.

That's one of the best things about flowering shrubs,
they can be beneficial in--or out--of the garden.

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