Although not as common to the garden as flowers that bloom in the morning
or during the day, flowers that bloom at night or in the evening hours
are quite numerous and attractive. Gardens designed specifically for
blooming at night are called moon gardens and can have special appeal
to those who are not at home to enjoy their gardens during the day.
Moon gardens typically consist of plants that are fragrant, have white
flowers or foliage, and, of course, bloom in the evening hours. The
fragrance of night blooming flowers is especially refreshing and enjoyable
and the white flowers and foliage that reflect the moonlight add a shimmering
quality to the moon garden. And, while numerous and lovely, flowers
are not the only type of plant that can bloom at night. Plants that
bloom at night include night-fragrant plants, white blooms and reflective
foliage plants, and even some types of vegetables and herbs.
Some typical night blooming flowers are the angels’ trumpet, certain
types of daylilies, the evening stock, the moonflower, the evening primrose,
and the yucca. Examples of night-fragrant plants that bloom in the evening
are the august lily, the fairy lily, fragrant columbine, flowering tobacco,
and the night gladiolus. Alba foxglove, Moonraker cape fuchsia, White
forsythia, and Alba columbine are just a few examples of white blooms
and reflective foliage that bloom at night and, finally, white fruited
eggplant, white pumpkins, silver thyme, basil, mints, and oregano are
examples of vegetables and herbs that bloom at night.
Of particular interest, and popular in rock gardens, is the Night blooming
Cereus. This is a desert flower that is a member of the cactus family
and basically looks like a dead bush for the entire year except for
one night. The Night blooming Cereus, found in the Sonoran and Chihuahuan
deserts of southern Arizona, in eastern and western Texas and southern
and northern Mexico, blooms only one night a year in June or July. The
flowers on the Cereus are very fragrant, are up to four inches wide
and eight inches long, and have many petals.
Whatever its type, the plants that bloom at night do so because they
are pollinated by nocturnal insects or animals such as moths or bats.
Most plants bloom during the day because they attract the insects and
animals that pollinate them with vibrant colors. Night blooming plants,
however, attract nocturnal insects and animals because they appeal to
the highly developed nighttime senses pf the nocturnal animals. Night
blooming plants have evolved over time so that they release all kinds
of fragrances at night to attract pollinators and so that they also
secret nectar at night, which encourages visits from animals that are
active only at night.
Gardens of all types are beautiful, whether they are flower gardens
or rock gardens, cactus gardens or vegetable gardens, gardens with plants
that bloom during the day or gardens with plants that bloom in the evening,
but moon gardens have a special appeal and uniqueness that gardens with
day blooming plants simply can’t match.
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