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Flowering fragrances

August 19, 2010
By Stephanie Bethke-DeJaeghere

Today the world seemed cruel, but evening hours; was filled with perfume from forgotten flowers. I saw again familiar filigree of moonlight through my lacy Lilac tree; I heard the robins stirring in their nest; and saw the path that fairy feet had pressed; reflected stars were in my garden pool; on my warm face the breeze was kind and cool. The silence seemed to speak, my head was bowed, then ramblers that had grown in to a cloud lifted my eyes, that tear-washed, now could see the beauty that today was lost to me. Dear God, who is so near to flowers, and birds, be nearer still, as I shall search for words to thank Thee for the blessings night revealed, which through the day discouragement concealed.

- Eva Sparks Taylor

There is nothing like being able to go outside and enjoy the warmer weather in the summer months and just sit and enjoy our gardens.

The work is done for the day and now it is time to sit and relax, to smell the roses so to speak.

As evening starts to come on during the summer months, there are certain flowers that go to work while others are resting for the evening.

Scent is a powerful sense and there are many flowers at nighttime that do their best work.

Phlox is one of those that are at the top of the list that has this wonderful scent and presence in the garden. It comes in so many colors and its heavenly sweet fragrance carries over the garden with just the hint of a breeze. It is relatively easy to grow as well. Common heliotrope is another plant that provides a wonderful fragrance and is relatively easy to grow in the garden. It comes in several colors including white, purple, blue and violet. Its scent is something akin to a sweet honey smell.

This plant can be grown in pots and brought indoors during the winter months as well. Evening scented stock is an old fashioned flower that is generally grown as an annual. It, too, comes in several muted colors and has a spicy sweet fragrance. Flowering tobacco or Nicotiana is also a good choice for the garden and comes in all sizes and colors. It has a very sweet fragrance that carries quite well on the smallest breeze. This, too, is very easy to grow.

There are other annual flowers that also have a wonderful scent that you will notice during the day or evening. Petunias, sweet alyssum, and plants that are in the mint family, often have a scent that carries throughout the day.

We have grown one annual that I think has the best evening fragrance of all of these mentioned above. It is easy to grow; sweet smelling and butterflies love it: milkweed.

Yes, this plant that we normally think of as a weed but is so important to all kinds of beautiful butterflies, hummingbirds and moths has the sweetest fragrance. We let quite a bit of milkweed grow in my biggest flower garden to attract insects.

We are never disappointed.

For more information on gardening, you can reach me at



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