Twilight Perfumers

Published on August 15th 2018
We've finally had some rain, but in a summer as hot as this one sometimes the only moment to really savour your garden is in the evening. This is when the gaudy blooms of daytime step back and welcome to the stage the redolent, haunting blooms of their evening-scented companions. I adore the extra dimension of scent some plants offer and as night falls our senses heighten. The plants below are those I’ve grown time and time again which never fail to fill the air with delicious scent.
Angel’s trumpet heralds the arrival of dusk with broad flowers dripping with fragrance. The plants are toxic, so beware, but the scent is so rich it’s hard to resist growing them. ‘Evening Fragrance’ and D.meteloides are outstanding. A close relative is the tobacco plant, Nicotiana. Grow ‘Fragrant Cloud’ for the sheer potency of scent or N. sylvestris for architectural shape.
Night-scented stock and night phlox (Matthiola & Zaluzianskya) have such potent scent for their diminutive size. Both are unremarkable by day, in fact, night-scented stock looks downright straggly, so tuck it away in an unsuspecting corner and wait till twilight.
Looking for life in technicolour? Then go for the marvel of Peru, Mirabilis jalapa. It’s the Jackson Pollock of flowers with vibrant splashes of colour and even differently coloured blooms on the same plant. The fragrance isn’t quite as strong as the others listed, but its pageantry makes up for it.
Remember, it isn’t too late to add a dash of scent. Keep an eye out at garden centres now for these fragrant delights.

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