PER­FECT TIME FOR GAR­DEN IMMERSION

PLANT YOUR­SELF IN THE BACK­YARD AND SOAK UP THE COLOUR, SMELLS AND AT­MOS­PHERE OF A SUM­MER’S NIGHT

Central and North Burnett Times - - LIFE - GREEN THUMB WORDS: MAREE CUR­RAN

Long sum­mer evenings are just made for sit­ting in the gar­den. It can be just too hot to spend lots of time out­doors dur­ing the day, so it makes sense to add some night-time in­ter­est to the ar­eas where you linger as night falls.

Use a com­bi­na­tion of colour and fra­grance to en­hance the ex­pe­ri­ence. When it comes to colour, light tones will be more vis­i­ble than dark ones, so plants with these tones in flower or fo­liage or both will work well. Some flow­ers are markedly more fra­grant around dusk, so these will be ideal.

My favourite night-time gar­den plant is the brug­man­sia x can­dida (an­gel’s trum­pet).

These small trees grow rapidly to about 3m tall, and have masses of huge pen­du­lous trum­pets that are heav­ily scented, es­pe­cially in the evening. They are poi­sonous, so don’t eat them or smoke them, but they look and smell just won­der­ful on a sum­mer evening.

I es­pe­cially love the white-flow­er­ing ones, but the pinks, yel­lows and apri­cots are also stun­ning. Frangi­pa­nis, of course, are an­other sum­mer fra­grant de­light, and are bril­liant in pots or in the ground.

One plant that I would love to be able to rec­om­mend is the night scented jas­mine (ces­trum noc­tur­num) but un­for­tu­nately this has be­come very in­va­sive here in the sub-trop­ics and is no longer usu­ally avail­able for sale. I do hope that some en­ter­pris­ing plant breeder will be able to de­velop a ster­ile form so that we can en­joy its heady, spicy fra­grance once again.

For­tu­nately, there are plenty of al­ter­na­tives, in­clud­ing gar­de­nias, port wine mag­no­lia (miche­lia figo), and os­man­thus fra­grans. Like gar­de­nias, chi­nese star jas­mine (tra­ch­e­lospere­mum jas­mi­noides) is both white-flow­er­ing and fra­grant, so it’s per­fect for this ap­pli­ca­tion.

The night-bloom­ing cactus, es­pe­cially cereus spp and epi­phyl­lum, pro­duce spec­tac­u­lar and heav­ily fra­grant white flow­ers in the evening in sum­mer. The blooms last for one night only, so make sure you keep these ba­bies close by so you don’t miss the show.

You can grow them in hang­ing bas­kets or in pots, or let them climb a tree or cover a sturdy struc­ture. They are best in morn­ing sun or fil­tered light, rather than full sun.

Got a gar­den­ing ques­tion? Email [email protected]­nat­by­ron.com.au

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