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Night Bloomers

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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