Tuesday, August 9, 2011

An August evening

Just been outside in preparation for locking up for the night.  It's dusk, the air still after the earlier breezes, reasonably warm but just beginning to dip below shirt sleeve levels of comfort.  There is a wonderful sweet scent hanging in the calm of the evening.  My one and only Brugmansia has opened a single trumpet flower and is wafting its perfume throughout the garden.

It's an apricot coloured form that I bought from Hill House nursery earlier this year.  50cm tall when I bought it, a planting hole filled with manure and regular liquid feeding has got it to nearly 2 metres tall.  It produced a couple of flowers earlier in the summer but is now gearing up to produce rather more.  The flowers are beautiful - but the scent is divine, an evening and night aroma designed to attract night flying pollinators.

Brugmansia 'Apricot'
From earlier experience an individual flower will last for about four days - but I've got others developing so I'll have some continuity.  With luck they'll scent the garden till October. 

Despite overwintering one outside a few years back most winters are too cold for the top growth to survive so I'll need to dig it up and, hopefully, overwinter it as a fairly dry skeleton in my shed before reviving it next spring.  It's worth the effort - the bigger the plant the greater the flowering display.  Though I may have to site it in a slightly better location.  My local snail population have wrecked havoc with the foliage - which rather destroys the effect of the big, softly textured leaves. 

No matter, the scent remains, encouraging me to linger outside as the light gradually fades and the garden becomes less and less visible.  Meanwhile, overhead, a single bat is patrolling.  It might, or might not enjoy the scent - but will enjoy the moths attracted to the blossom.


  1. I can see why so many are enamoured by Brugmansias, they can flower non stop all summer right through early winter given the right care. And the scent is lovely. We haven't grown one here for quite some time, mainly due to not having the right overwintering conditions for them, but wouldn't mind having a go again in the near future. B. sanguinea is probably my favourite.

    Hill House nursery is fantastic, visited for the first time a few weeks ago and worth a detour when we go back to Cornwall next year.

  2. I sometimes think half my garden has come from Hill House! I've no connection with them other than as a customer so my opinion is unbiased. What I really like is their policy of selling a wide variety of unusual plants at very decent prices. There is nothing more enjoyable than wandering through the greenhouses and outdoor areas and finding something interesting to try in the garden.

  3. I first encountered Brugmansia when I was on vacation in British Columbia a couple of years ago, and I was instantly enchanted by them. What a dream it would be to have some system where I could grow plants that are not hardy in my garden in containers and overwinter them in some kind of garden structure. Maybe someday. -Jean

  4. Thanks Jean

    I'm missing my greenhouse - lost in one of our winter gales. I'm planning a bigger one but I need to clear some more space at the rear of the garden. With minimal warmth (frost free does the job) I can overwinter Brugmansias and other exotics that are just too tender for my (by UK standards) mild winter climate.