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Friday, 22 July 2016

Plant these 5 evening scented white flowers for fragrant summer nights in the garden

If you have a bit of your garden which faces west, it will make a great place to sit and watch the sun go down. If it's a patio then it will catch the late afternoon sun, and on a balmy summer night, the stones will absorb the summer heat and slowly release it after sunset, keeping you pleasantly warm late into the evening.
 

To enhance this evening atmosphere even further, you can fill a pot, bed or border with scented plants that release their fragrance  in the evening.
Plats that smell more in the evening do so because they are pollinated by moths or other nocturnal insects, and have adapted to release their scent at night to attract them.


As the garden slowly gets darker at twilight, white flowers really start to shine out across the garden, and silver or grey foliage does too, giving an almost ghostly effect at certain times after the sun has gone down, so a border full of white or silver foliage and flowers makes a striking feature. There is a great example of this colour scheme at Hestercombe in Somerset, where Gertrude Jekyll created a silver and grey border along one side of "The Great Plait" .
 
For silver and grey foliage you can plant "cushions" of Santolina (which also smells fantastic when you run your fingers through it, and also Cineraria maritima "Silverdust", and Artemisia "Powis Castle".
 
Here are my favourite white evening scented flowers:

Night Phlox "Midnight Candy"

1. Night Phlox "Midnight Candy" (Zaluzianskya capensis) has the best scent of all. It has a fragrance that reminds me of those fizzy children's sweets. It doesn't smell at all during the day but in the evening is just fantastic! It's a small plant, ideal in a pot.

2. Jasmine is a vigorous climber which also produces a heady scent in the evening, reminiscent of the Mediterranean or the East. I prefer the common Jasmine officianalis, but there are a number of good varieties with variations of colour and smell. Jasmine will easily cover a large area of fence or wall within two years.

3. Regal Lily "White Triumph" has the trumpet like flowers on the left of the picture at the top of this post. Planted as bulbs, they will return year after year and have a powerful scent like most lilies. Apart from lily beetles, they are pretty low maintenance.

GREEN FINGERS TIP
When your lilies start to grow, check the underside of the leaves regularly for the bright red beetles that like to eat them. If holes start appearing in your lily leaves, it will be them. When you spot them, pick them off and squish them. Gross maybe, but the adults breed and leave their young to overwinter in the soil, so if you get rid of the adults this year, you are less likely to have to deal with them next year.

4. Sweet Pea "White Supreme" can be seen on the left of the picture below. Sweet peas are easy to grow from seed and this variety grows really tall so you will need good high canes for support. Protect the young plants from slugs and snails and you will be rewarded with a very strong fragrance. Sweet peas are also a good cut flower so you can snip them off and take them back inside the house with you.

5. Nicotiana Sylvestris. There are many varieties of Nicotiana, in several colours, but sylvestris has the strongest scent. They are usually available as seeds. Sow them on a windowsill and plant them out in summer.
 
 

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