For those of you who find far too little time to stop and smell the flowers, here's something that might help.
With busy days taking up much of summer's peak blossom hours, why not plant a night-blooming garden?
Here's an oasis that is perfectly suited for coming home after a long day, putting your feet up and enjoying the beauty and the fragrance of these after-dark beauties.
Night-blooming flowers are just what they sound like. They "bloom" or open in the evening and remain closed during the daylight.
Because these flowers bloom at night, that is when they give off their beautiful, fragrant scents. Evening dew helps intensify the scent, and although some may bloom during the day, it is the nighttime for which they reserve their fragrance.
The night-blooming flowers are as easy to raise as daytime species. They need no special soil or treatment, and they will thrive and grow just like the other plants in your garden.
You may want to intermix night bloomers with other varieties so you have a blooming garden all day and all night.
There are lots of varieties to choose from and they can be found at local nurseries or through catalogs. Here are a few plants to spice up your summer nights:
Ipomea. Sometimes called the moonflower, this resembles the morning glory. It is a white vine that will remain open throughout the night. It likes the same conditions as a morning glory but it may not be as vigorous. These can be grown from seed and put in the garden when you plant your annuals.
Oenothera or Evening Primrose. This is an easy to grow perennial that has a terrific fragrance and comes in several colors. The white flowered variety is also sometimes known as sundrops.
Angel Trumpet. This is not a perennial in our zone, but sometimes it will winter over and reseed itself. It is another great, white night bloomer.
If you want to try something that is more work, but may give you much more excitement, try night blooming varieties of daylilies, or night jasminev (Cestrum Nocturnum).
This jasmine is part of the Solanaceae family, and is not much to look at, but what a great fragrance.
There are even night bloomers for your watergarden. They are lilies that come in pinks, white and yellows, and have large flowers up to nine inches across. Leave plenty of room in your water garden for these plants as they spread six to nine feet wide.
For the big mama of night bloomers try a night blooming Cereus, also known as Queen of the Night.
This is a cactus, but it is also a vine. It is a tropical plant, but some folks have had success growing it in a container with a trellis.
It is very picky about its soil and sun conditions, like most cacti, so carefully follow the instructions.
If you can keep one long enough you may be lucky enough to see a bloom. The flowers are white, funnel shaped and can be a foot wide.
A night blooming garden is a perfect addition to the edge of your patio or deck where you spend those long, luxurious summer evenings. Some people like to plant night bloomers outside their bedroom windows. As the gentle summer breezes blow, these flowers give new meaning to the expression "sweet dreams."