The Evening Garden

The Evening Garden

From The Evening Garden: Flowers and Fragrance from Dusk till Dawn
by Peter Loewer
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The Evening Garden


Why make an evening garden, a garden that doesn't awake until the twilight hours and, in many cases, is at its best long after the sun has set?

The answer to that can be prefaced with another question: What’s left of your day after you’ve met your commitments to family, home, job, and community? These hours of leisure that were promised to all after the end of World War II seemed to exist for a while during the 1950s, but with each succeeding decade, they’ve decreased, leading to today’s cry: “What’s happened to my free time?”

I can’t turn back history’s clock, but when it comes to gardening, I can suggest a way to make the most of the time you do have, and that is turning your garden—or part of your garden—into an activity center that begins to swing into action when most of the day’s responsibilities have been met, after the sun has sunk below the horizon.

The evening garden is a great spot for entertaining. From a terrace in the city, to a deck or patio in the country, it’s not only the perfect site for both relaxing and thinking about the day that’s passed, it’s just a very comfortable place to be, especially if your garden contains that time to waft their subtle fragrances on the air.

My wife and I have had parties that revolved around the opening of the moonflower vine on a summer evening. I’ve actually taken visitors on a moonlight walk in the garden, and many are the nights we’ve stood next to a blooming evening primrose and watched the endless stream of moths that flock to these blossoms after the sun goes down. Other times we have sat alone in the garden and enjoyed the soft lights of the moon and stars (or the lights we have installed around the garden’s edges) and listened to the wonderful sounds of the evening. Without the distractions of the day, the night gives us a better chance to think and perhaps philosophize a bit about our place, if not in the grand scheme of things, at least in the world of the garden.

Drawings: above, left: The moonflower, Ipomoea alba, attracts a hawkmoth on a summer's evening. Above, right: Fireflies flicker in the summer moonlight of an open field.

The Evening Garden
Flowers and Fragrance from Dusk till Dawn

It is a great irony that garden books are filled with sunny, colorful photos taken at midday, while the gardeners who tend them are usually away at work. The Evening Garden is an exciting revelation of the delights to be found in a garden that is planned and planted for evening enjoyment, from night-bloomers to fragrant orchids and wildflowers.
This is an indispensable book for any gardener who plans to venture out to the garden after sundown --- or who just likes to read about it.

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