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We bought our house & neglected garden 1.5 years ago. Last spring a somewhat scraggy shrub surprised us with a few white flowers on two or three branches that had a very strong lemony, jasmine scent.

After some judicious, yet heavy-handed pruning and a generous dose of feeding, we were rewarded with a full bloom this spring.

Some details: The flowers appear before the leaves start to emerge (bloom is almost over now and the leaves are pushing trough). This year bloom started in mid-March, last spring at the end of February, but we had an exceptionally mild (or none at all) winter of 2013/2014.

  • The flowers are slightly waxy and a bit translucent, around 2cm (3/4 in) in size. The scent is strong, like a mixture of jasmine and lemon.

  • It's deciduous, but a few leaves remain on lower, protected branches, see last picture.

  • The bark on older branches turns grey and tends to peel a bit, younger branches are golden brown, see first picture.

  • The average height is 1.5m (5ft) with a few individual branches up to 2m (6.5ft).

  • It's growth is rather "loose", even in summer with full foliage one can somewhat "see through" it.

But as it remains yet unidentified and hence unnamed, I trust in your expertise...

close-up with bark

Second close-up

last year's leaves

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It's Lonicera fragrantissima, one of the shrub type honeysuckles. Flowers best against a protecting wall or fence. Best time to prune is immediately after flowering has finished - remove a third of the flowered shoots and reshape the rest as required. Benefits from an organic mulch (well rotted garden compost/manure) applied after pruning. Ultimate height and spread around 2 metres x 3 metres.

  • Well, it looked scraggy, so I'm not surprised you gave it some serious attention - but yes, at exactly the right time! – Bamboo Apr 12 '15 at 17:58
  • In addition, these shrubs are leaners, so planting next to a fence is a great idea. – Escoce Apr 13 '15 at 14:57

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