En­chant­ing twi­light gar­dens

A twi­light gar­den is the ul­ti­mate ro­man­tic set­ting for a swish New Year’s Eve party

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - LIFE - FO­LIAGE FRA­GRANCE

climbers such the white-flow­er­ing man­dev­illa, Pan­dorea jas­mi­noides “Lady Di” or star jas­mine ( Trach­e­losper­mum jas­mi­noides).

Fill con­tain­ers with white alyssum, lilies, white and le­mon petu­nias, dwarf white mar­guerite daisies, dwarf Gar­de­nia “White Gem” and white-flow­er­ing be­go­nias (shade), in­ter-planted with sil­ver­grey fo­liage plants, as well as those with light-coloured leaves – Cuphea “Le­mon & Ice” and Lamium “Sil­ver Bea­con”. Many white, cream, le­mon and pale pink roses are suit­able for a ro­man­tic evening gar­den. Ice­berg roses in bush, stan­dard and climb­ing form are among the best for land­scap­ing. They are gen­er­ous in bloom, and their clus­ters of white flow­ers show up well at night. Their del­i­cate scent is also more no­tice­able in the evening.

For the back of a bor­der, grow white lil­i­ums, cleome and tall Nico­tiana alata and Nico­tiana sylvestris with clus­ters of trum­pet­shaped blooms. White aga­pan­thus, dahlias, al­stroe­me­rias, mar­guerite daisy bushes and Shasta daisies are suit­able for the cen­tre of a bor­der, with fillers of gaura with its but­ter­fly-like blooms, frothy gyp­sophila and edged with white alyssum. Grow white-flow­er­ing bed­ding be­go­nias with green rather than bronze leaves in light shade.

Bul­bous plants with white flow­ers in­clude in­dige­nous arums, the pen­dant bells of the Berg lily ( gal­to­nia) and fragrant pink and white tuberose. Lilies are a favourite in the evening gar­den, for their el­e­gant flow­ers and per­fume.

Shrubs suit­able for the twi­light gar­den are white-flow­er­ing mop­head hy­drangeas, oak-leafed hy­drangeas ( Hy­drangea quer­ci­fo­lia) with white pan­i­cles of flow­ers, as well as white­flow­er­ing proteas and er­i­cas.

The white-flow­er­ing flower forms of plumbago, freylinia, Bauhinia na­tal­en­sis with white bell-like flow­ers, and the sil­ver leaves and clus­ters of dainty white flow­ers of in­dige­nous river stars ( Gom­phostigma vir­ga­tum) will also be an as­set in the twi­light bor­der. While white flow­ers may only last a few weeks or even days, pale­coloured fo­liage will give a feel­ing of sta­bil­ity and per­ma­nence to a gar­den. In an evening gar­den, the fo­liage of cal­a­dium, var­ie­gated hibis­cus and hosta, and sil­ver-grey Artemisia “Powis Cas­tle”, cat­mint ( nepeta), Fes­tuca glauca “Sil­ver Eye­catch”, He­lichry­sum peti­o­lare, lamb’s ear ( stachys), laven­der, Lamium mac­u­la­tum “Bea­con Sil­ver” and san­tolina show up well. When cre­at­ing a twi­light gar­den, the fra­grance of flow­ers is as im­por­tant as colour. The scent of choiysa, frangipani, gar­de­nia, jas­mine, honey­suckle, mock-orange ( philadel­phus), mur­raya, roses, tuberose and vibur­num will drift across the gar­den to pa­tios and open win­dows.

Some­times flow­ers are in­signif­i­cant but have a strong fra­grance, such as the tiny sprays of flow­ers on os­man­thus. Alyssum has a del­i­cate honey scent, and is among the most use­ful of an­nu­als for a quick “car­pet” ef­fect. Use it to edge paths, grow be­tween the treads of steps and paving, and spill from con­tain­ers.

White flow­ers of­ten at­tract night­time pollinators, not only be­cause they are vis­i­ble in the dark, but also be­cause many of the blooms are scented, as in the in­dige­nous dainty epi­phytic (tree) orchid Mystacid­ium capense with arch­ing sprays of scented white flow­ers.

Whether you en­joy sit­ting on the pa­tio or walk­ing in your gar­den in the evening, there are many de­lights to be found in a twi­light gar­den.

IN FO­CUS: A glo­ri­ous French-style wa­ter fea­ture and light-coloured raised bor­ders filled with white-flow­er­ing flori­bunda roses cre­ate a mag­i­cal twi­light gar­den be­side a cov­ered pa­tio.

CLIMBERS: Choose white-flow­er­ing man­dev­il­las for max­i­mum im­pact.

PARTY TIME: White flow­er­ing St Joseph lilies can be planted in July to flower in a mid­sum­mer twi­light gar­den.

PER­FECT: White-flow­er­ing roses such as Nataniel.

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