Sunday, 9 March 2008

Shrubs: MEXICAN ORANGE BLOSSOM

CHOISYA TERNATA 'SUNDANCE'

I first came across this lovely evergreen shrub in my friends' garden in Yorkshire, England (top photo). I was attracted by its beautiful, glossy foliage and its dense structure. It caught my eye instantly. I have never seen it before in real life, so I asked them: What on Earth is that charming little shrub? Nobody knew. I spent a while trying to find out what it was but no luck.
Anyway, a year later, I spotted one in the garden center and it made my heart sing. It bore the name of Choisya ternata (cultivar : Sundance) and has been gracing my garden for two years now.


Mexican Orange Blossom is the common and very suitable name for Choisya ternata; in May heavenly fragrance from the flowers enriches the air and the shiny green leaves are also aromatic when crushed (reminds me of basil). What a lovely scent! Leaves comprise three leaflets, thus the species name ternata, which means grouped in threes. In mild and sheltered gardens, it will grow to 2m in height and spread. While tolerant of some shade, it is best grown in full sun. Any well drained garden soil suits it, but it grows best in rich, slightly acidic, well drained soil, and pruning involves no more than the removal of frost-damaged shoots in March (not in my case, I always get carried away with plants that need little or no pruning). It is frost hardy, but it can suffer die back in extreme winters and if not sheltered from strong winds, however will grow back. New shoots are freely produced from the base when plants are cut back. Thanks to its bright yellow foliage, the 'Sundance' cultivar really stands out in the garden.




4 komentari:

Anna said...

I need that color and it's a hard one to find. Thanks for sharing.

lintys said...

It's a beautiful little shrub. The leaf color is excellent.

Melanie said...

The foliage on that shrub is so wonderful. Wish it would grow here in our zone but I'm pretty sure our winters are too long and cold.

Viooltje said...

It truly is a wonderful shrub and I find it to be quite hardy for what I have experienced so far, I read that it is fully hard to zone 7 in USA, and even if the foliage gets some bad winter damage it will grow back. It's gone through one lengthy cold winter here once(to -12C for a few weeks and then weeks of more cold weather and bad winds)and had no damage at all. It is protected by a nearby south wall, but I have another young one growing in the area exposed to malicious north winds and it had little or almost no damage.
Dear Melanie, I'd surely give it a try, it needs so little care and it rewards you with a spectacle of beautiful, almost yellow glossy foliage, wonderful scent, and an attractive dome shape. It's a wonder all year round.

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