It’s the solstice next week. It sure comes around quickly.. And that slightly melancholy fact, made me consider the significance of the night garden. For everyone that doesn’t work in horticulture, or by precariously balancing a laptop on their lap- whilst lounging around in the nearest green space, the garden is most often appreciated after -or if you are very lively, before work. Let’s presume after.
This is a little snippet of what can work really well in the inky half-light of a summers evening. Pale colours and strong scent attract night pollinators so for annuals nicotiana sylvestris wins hands down as it is sculptural, majestic and conjures opulence. If you have less space then the smaller bedding nicotianas smell just as good. White Cosmos Purity looks frilly and pretty but alas no scent. Foxgloves arent annuals but they seed themselves in unexpected places and look romantic and, if they are the white form , slightly spooky in the dark.
White willowherb is the pale form of our magenta native, it thrives with a bit of moisture and needs a bit of space to do its self justice, but a good stand approached from a distance has drama and impact.
I love wandering past roses in the evening. Those that I feel are worth a special mention include ‘Penelope’ which is problem free and repeat flowering. The flowers also withstand the challenges of the weather reasonably well and rarely ball. Fantin latour is handsome and a luminous blush pink. It does only flower once, but definitely worth it for the heavenly scent that id happily award a 9/10. A climbing rose worth mentioning for its form , paleness and fragrance is Souvenir de la Malmaison climber and here, on the front of the house I have a young (but striking) Cupid, it is rather fleeting , so therefore worth a detour.
Other climbers I could not fail to mention are trachelospernum and jasmine- which always remind me of warm holidays and have the very opposite effect to all the roses that evoke a very fond childhood memory of brewing an early evening pot of rose water potion for my rag doll. Enjoy your night garden.