“Always Late”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana
My four o’clocks are always late. They are late even when you consider we are now on daylight savings time. Even if they are on Eastern time zone time, they are late. The old-fashioned four o’clock flowers (Mirablis jalapa) don’t start opening up until after 7 o’clock at night around here and aren’t fully opened until almost eight o’clock. Even on cloudy days when it is reported the flowers will open up early, ours don’t open until it is almost dark which makes them very hard to photograph. You can still see them, especially the lighter colors, and, of course, you can smell them. They really can perfume the night air.
I got my first four o’clocks from my son-in-law’s mother who had them growing all around her pool. These were the fushia-colored ones. Now, when I occasionally dig up a tuber, I am shocked at how large these gift ones have become. Not too long ago, I was planting in the garden before the 4 o’clocks emerged and thought I had come across a log that had been buried in the ground. It was no log, but a huge tuber. I have the fushia ones in the “pink’ garden, though I have gradually replaced many with other perennials.
About two years ago, I found a local nursery that was selling 4 o’clocks, which is unusual, and they had white and yellow ones in addition to the fushia. I didn’t need the fushia, but I did pick up two of each of the white and the yellow ones. The yellow went into the “circle” garden which is predominately yellow flowers, and the white ones went into the “white” garden that I have dedicated to my dad.
The white ones have produced seedlings, but I am sure they will not be white, but a mix of the others. These plants produce a lot of seeds, but it is very easy to pull out the ones you don’t want. Also, I find that if they are in a well mulched area, the seeds do not germinate as much.
These old-fashioned flowers deserve to be in more gardens. They are attractive, night-bloomers which makes sitting outside on a warm summer night an enjoyable event, and these old garden flowers bring a little bit of grandma’s garden to our modern world. So, even though they do not bloom “on time”, I still love having these night bloomers in the garden.