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In summer, with light and longer evenings and warmer weather, it’s great to be able to relax in the garden until late. By adding night-scented plants and soft lighting, along with pale-coloured flowers and foliage that appear to glow in the fading light, your garden will become an enticing ‘room’ to sit in at the end of the day.
White flowering plants – like big blooms of hydrangeas – have a lovely glow in the evening garden reflecting the last of the light which makes them appear brighter than other plants. Pale blues and lilacs also look their best in fading light, so sea holly with its tiny blue flowers that sit in rosettes of silvery-grey bracts is a great addition.
Bright foliage also creates an evening glow in the garden. Light-coloured, variegated and silver leaf plants reflect any available light. Lambs Ear (Stachys byzantine) is a popular ground cover plant that has the most wonderful soft, furry, silver-grey leaves. It’s fairly drought resistant so a good choice for a dry, sunny border.
Many beautiful flowers only produce scent at night and often have a stronger aroma than their daytime counterparts. Fragrance is released from night-scented flowers as the heat of the day lingers into the evening. Petunias may seem be a strange choice for a night garden, but they are night scented. Some smell during the day, but not to the same intensity of the night scent. Night Scented Stocks do just that and have a pastel colour flower palate.
It’s best to plant scented night garden flowers where you’ll brush against them or come close to them. Try planting them around doors and paths. If you are planting in pots make sure you arrange them round seating areas to provide a heady aroma or position them near doors and windows so that the fragrance drifts inside.
Even though planting the right night-flowering plants in the right place will give you stunning effects, if you want to really enjoy your garden after dark, some form of garden lighting is essential. Try not to floodlight your entire garden. Instead, pick out specific plants and trees to showcase. Up lighting, either set on spikes or recessed into the ground, showcases plants beautifully at night.
But it’s not just at night time you want your garden to look good so here are some tips for this month from the Royal Horticultural Society.
- Hoe borders regularly to keep down weeds
- Be water-wise, especially in drought-affected areas
- Pinch out side shoots on tomatoes
- Harvest lettuce, radish, other salads and early potatoes
- Position summer hanging baskets and containers outside
- Mow lawns at least once a week
- Plant out summer bedding
- Stake tall or floppy plants
- Prune many spring-flowering shrubs
- Shade greenhouses to keep them cool