Fragrant evenings

nikthegreek(9b/10a E of Athens, Greece)July 21, 2014

At this time of year, when a couple of hours have passed since sunset and the roses have all long gone to sleep, the summer blooms of nocturnally released aromatic oils are wafting through my garden. If the night is humid the effect is magnified. I like to sit on my patio and get bombarded by the hypnotic smell of Cestrum nocturnum and the Brugmansias and, when the light wind changes direction, get a drift of the Jasminums (sambac, officinale and azoricum) and my Tabernaemontana divaricata shrubs. Passing from the patio to the house I catch the strange soapy aroma of Clerodendrum chinense. Do you happen to have evening fragrant plants in your garden and enjoy their magical smells?

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My favorite stinky plant is Chinese wisteria, but alas, it is a rampant pest and few people grow it any more. If I had more than a 40x120 lot, I would have one. They have some covering arbors at the zoo and botanical garden, so when they bloom in early spring, I make a trip to go smell them.

Just about everyone in New Orleans grows confederate jasmine, and the whole city smells wonderful in late spring. Immediately afterwords, the gardenias come in.

If we have a warm winter, the night-blooming jasmine starts in June and blooms again in the fall. Sadly, mine died back last winter in the cold and I will have to wait until September for it to bloom. Some don't like the extremely sweet scent these have, and my neighbor complains bitterly, but he complains about plants in general and is justly on my s!*@-list.

The rose with the most scent is Champney's pink cluster and will perfume a quarter of an acre, but generally only in the morning. The great thing is that it blooms from March until December around here. Not enough people grow it, but I am trying to change that.

In the back yard, I have some nameless apricot Hedychium with a wonderful scent that carries. They are normally blooming by this time, but a late freeze did in the caterpillars that eat the overhead oak tree leaves, so I think there hasn't been enough sun.

Oh, and I almost forgot about the citrus, but since so many people on this forum live in citrus-producing areas, I will leave that one alone.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 3:11PM
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I have a variety of Nicotiana alata that arose by chance in my garden (Nicotiana alata var. grandiflora x N. alata 'Lime Green') that is by far the strongest-scented flowering tobacco I have ever grown. The plants with the most scent, about 1/4 of the seedlings, are substantial plants (5 - 6' tall with extremely thick stems) and pale greenish flowers. A round of blooms lasts several months and the scent carries all over the garden beginning in early evening and until well into the next morning, from March to late fall.

I also have Mandevilla suaveolens and Mirabilis longiflora. Pelargonium triste and some other tuberous pelargoniums are night-scented but not exactly wafting. Last year I grew Datura inoxia, which was great, too.

My greatest night scent plant of all, however, is a winter bloomer, the fishbone or ric-rac cactus, Selenicereus anthonyanus. One open blossom is all it takes.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 3:30PM
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nikthegreek(9b/10a E of Athens, Greece)

Forgot about the mirabilis. The common 'jalapa' in my case. They seem to grow like weed over here. Catspa I wish I could get my hand (so to speak) on a Selenicereus anthonyanus.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 3:44PM
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AquaEyes 7a New Jersey

I was pleasantly surprised at how fragrant (especially at night) my common store-bought purple Petunias are. I planted them (and a sprawling white Verbena, which is more day-scented) as "spillers" in my barrels containing red HTs. Two of these barrels are at the base of my front steps, and I'm greeted with that wafting sweet smell every night when I get home from work.



    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 3:54PM
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That's true, Christopher, I sometimes grow Petunia axillaris, the wild white petunia, which is fragrant at night. I've had fragrant deep purple petunias, too.

Mirabilis longiflora also "gets around" here, Nik, like M. jalapa. I try to dead-head it before the seeds disperse.

My mother got our original plant of Selenicereus anthonyanus from a random assortment of cacti and succulents in small pots for sale at one of the big box stores -- Walmart, Home Depot or such. That was some years ago. She liked the leaves and had no idea what a treasure it was.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 4:41PM
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Kippy(SoCal zone 10. Sunset Zone 24)

I enjoy the Cestrum Nocturnum that grows here. I rooted a cutting and anted at the bottom of the hill so the scent can waft up rather than the current cash crop scent. :)

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 5:22PM
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Day or night: oriental lilies. A few more weeks left of their bloom and that will be the end of the heavily perfumed garden air for the season here and my garden will go to sleep until late August.

What a romantic image you describe, Nik.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 8:53PM
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jardineratx(zone 8, Texas)

I discovered that my summer phlox (phlox paniculata) is wonderfully fragrant in the evenings.
Christopher, I, too, really enjoy the fragrance of petunias.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 10:54PM
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seil zone 6b MI

Your garden sounds like it's an aromatic heaven, Nik!

I'm with Christopher too, mundane petunias, that seed themselves everywhere in my yard, fill the air with a sweet scent. But I don't just enjoy the floral scents. I just like the smell of greenery and fresh soil around me.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 11:35PM
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The 'Casa Blanca' lilies have a wonderful scent that wafts up from the patio area one story below and into the open kitchen window. I can be doing the dishes and wondering where that intoxicating scent is coming from. The same thing happens when the Brunfelsia jamaicensis blooms. I don't notice them as much during the day. Not as lovely and romantic as you, Nik, sitting on the patio but nice just the same.


    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 1:15AM
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nikthegreek(9b/10a E of Athens, Greece)

Post deleted, misread another poster's post

This post was edited by nikthegreek on Tue, Jul 22, 14 at 2:32

    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 2:23AM
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nikthegreek(9b/10a E of Athens, Greece)

Brunfelsias are one of a number of plants I can only grow in a pot, due to my alkaline soil and my boundary climate for them. Gardenias are another such family of fragrant plants.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 2:36AM
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The jasmines (Confederate or Chinese Star, as we call it here, and jasminium polyanthum or Pink jasmine) are my favourite, as well as Japanese honeysuckle (an environmental weed which grows in the vacant space next to my house). Fairly mundane I know, but they are my favourites.

Some lily bulbs just arrived in the post today, along with a few herbaceous peonies, and yesterday I planted three lilacs in pots. I'm looking forward to smelling them all come spring.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 4:55AM
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Mendocino_Rose(z8 N CA.)

Lillies in July scent the entire area they are growing in. We find Petunias to be highly scented. They live on the deck with two lemon trees(wonderful smell) by the living room windows.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 8:21AM
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true_blue(Mtl Can Zone 4b)

July is the month of olfactory peace, after the rush of roses and the Jasmine. It is the month of herbs.

Whenever I pass a path, I can be surprised by the After 8 scent of Chocolate mint (Mentha x piperita piperita), refreshed by the citrusy rush of
Bergamot mint (Mentha aquatica 'Citrata'), Lemon thyme or the relaxing scent of lavender or the rose geraniums.

If I'm adventurous enough I might crush the Greek myrtle to enjoy it's pungent smell or just inadvertently brush against the golden oregano spilling on the stone pathway on my way to it.

All that might be punctuating by the wafting of Osmanthus fragrans, until August brings it's own surprises...

    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 4:22PM
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ArbutusOmnedo 10/24

Michelia alba can waft more than a block to my nose when I'm in the vicinity of one. I usually get a better quality fragrance at night. Brugmansia is wonderful in the evenings as well.

Their scents aren't unique to evenings, but I mostly notice Dianthus superbus and Dianthus arenarius at night. Their scents are quite different from the clovey fragrance of many carnations. They're almost soapy with a delicious light hard to describe quality. I have some in containers by the door.

Jasmine of all sorts is great. The sambac scent probably appeals most to my nose. Citrus is blooming and smells heavenly right now.

A few plants that always waft some fragrance for me would be Tagetes lemonii (Mexican marigold) and 'Allen Chickering' Salvia. No matter what time of day, I can smell them when I'm near them.


    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 1:56AM
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I love sitting on the porch swing right at dusk with a glass of sweet iced tea and smell the gardenias and fresh cut grass.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 8:54AM
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true_blue(Mtl Can Zone 4b)

Nik if you're interested, there is monthly thread on the fragrant plants forum

Here is a link that might be useful: Blooming in July

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 2:26PM
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