In the Garden:
Pacific Northwest
March, 2012
Regional Report

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White flowers are most apparent at dusk, but even if you couldn't see this lily, its powerfully sweet fragrance would certainly attract your attention.

Create a Twilight Garden

Work and after school activities often keep us away from home during the day, leaving us with little time to enjoy our gardens during daylight hours. If this sounds familiar, why not plan a garden area specifically for savoring flowers at twilight? Plants that bloom in colors of white, yellow, pink, and lavender, which stay bright after dusk, are some of the best choices for a twilight garden.

Don't Forget Fragrance
Scent in the evening is more noticeable and somehow carries further than in the daytime. For this reason I like to line paths with trumpet lilies, alyssum, and white impatiens to create beautiful mounds of brightness with a delightfully sweet scent.

Many plants have flowers that open during the day but do not release their fragrance until the evening hours. Two of the most fragrant in the evening include the old-fashioned four o' clocks (Mirabilis jalapa) and flowering tobacco (Nicotiana alata). Both have flowers that open in late afternoon or at dusk to emit a potent moth attractant throughout the night. Another favorite in my garden is Matilija poppy (Romneya coulteri), a big, bushy perennial with white petaled, crepe paper-textured flowers. Each flower has a huge bundle of orange stamens protruding from the center. Snow-in-summer (Cerastium tomentosum) is my recommendation for an excellent ground cover that really glows at dusk.

Include Vines
If you have a narrow space and want to include both beauty and fragrance, Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica) is one of the most fragrant of all vines, and it's easy to grow. Its fragrance increases in the morning and again in the evening when moths seem to be drawn to the nectar-filled white and yellow flowers.

Winter jasmine (Jasminum polyanthum) is a lacy, evergreen vine with delicate clusters of white, lightly scented flowers. Its thin runners and slow growth makes it perfect for weaving into lattice or chain-link fencing, where it can become a wall of fragrance.

Star jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides) is also called Confederate jasmine and has a true jasmine form and scent. The small, white flowers are fragrant, and plants bloom intermittently all summer after a strong showing in spring.

Plan Your Ultimate Evening Garden
In the softer light of evening, my garden becomes still and serene. I think that's the best time to pull up a comfortable chair and soak in the sensations that twilight brings.

As you consider the best location for your evening garden, think about where you plan to sit to enjoy your garden. Whether it's outdoors on a deck or patio, or from your favorite armchair indoors, the garden will take on a new dimension if it's flooded with indirect light from a house window or from the porch. Or you can, as I have, install night lighting to illuminate your yard on cloudy nights.

Whichever plants you choose for your evening garden, don't miss the chance to create an enchanting outdoor spot where you can enjoy the cool of a summer's evening spent among the flowers and under the stars.

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