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Night-scented plants


by Pippa Greenwood

A perfume-filled balmy evening in the garden is heaven on earth... who can help but feel a wash of pleasure when experiencing all that a rose-clad arbour has to offer?


Nicotiana sylvestris in flowerA perfume-filled balmy evening in the garden is heaven on earth. I've always felt that perfumed plants provided an added bonus - scent plus beauty - as who can help but feel a wash of pleasure when experiencing all that a rose-clad arbour has to offer?

But increasingly I'm coming to derive even more pleasure from evening perfumes - perhaps it's because all too often there seems to be little time to relax until it's nearly dark.

Rumour has it that night-perfumed plants are scented in order to attract moths. In turn, the moths pollinate the plants. I know a number of people who won't grow night-scented plants because they can't abide moths, and the thought of attracting them in is unthinkable. But I'd say give them a try, because in my experience, the moth activity does not appear to be any greater than it is elsewhere in the garden, and without sweet, seductive scents in your garden, you're really missing a trick.

I have an arbour that is densely clad with honeysuckle and Clematis montana 'Freda' - a pretty plant with purple-tinted leaves and pink flowers. The arbour is gorgeous to look at, but becomes a more favourite haunt as it provides me with a leafy retreat, laden with the best of summer perfume.

Add to this some night-scented stock and Nicotiana sylvestris and it's enough to make anyone choose to spend the night under canvas in the garden.



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Gardeners' World Web User 17/07/2009 at 12:03

I think it is a pity more gardens do not open in the evenings - not only for those who have to work all day but so that the evening scents can be appreciated. As one who enjoyed the visit of a beautiful tiger moth to my bathroom light while I was having a bath with the window open, I say to those who fear them, study them.

Gardeners' World Web User 17/07/2009 at 17:57

I have a plant called Queen of the night and it smells wondeful

Gardeners' World Web User 22/07/2009 at 23:36

I have night scented phlox in my allotment and the smell just wafts around the whole site. It has the most intoxicating sweet scent. Highly reccomended ...!!!

Gardeners' World Web User 27/07/2009 at 18:04

Good to hear that there are so many of you who love perfumed plants as I do.....but interestingly I'm not so keen on bottled perfumes or, worse still, aftershaves !

Gardeners' World Web User 28/07/2009 at 18:25

is it possible to grow honeysuckle from the seeds of the past flowering flower

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