Perennial Twilight Gardens

Enjoy blooms as the sun goes down

Here in the Pacific Northwest, we are lucky to have late sunsets in late spring throughout the summer. Extended twilights are perfect for a fragrant, gleaming garden full of an assortment of perennials and foliage reflecting the dusky glow. Selecting the appropriate plants for maximum light reflection with limited natural light is essential. Choosing variegated foliage like white and green Hostas and white or grey blooming perennials maximize the reflection of light, glowing in the low light.

Silver-leafed plants are great reflectors of low light, while pale shades of blues and purples have a propensity to rise out of the dark. White appears best against a dark background, often best provided by foliage. In order to enjoy open blooms at twilight, select species of flowers that rely on nocturnal pollinators, frequently open only at night or allow their flowers open at all hours.


Marshmallow, New Vintage White, Peter Cottontail

Aralia Sun King

Chartreuse Foliage


Bridal Veil


Alexander’s Great, Jack Frost

Calla Lily

White Giant


Spring Bell White


White Gold (chartreuse foliage, white flowers)


Early Bird Frost


Patriot (green foliage w/ white edges

Lavandula angustifolia

Elegance Snow


Several varieties w/ gold center




Super Ka-Pow White


Angelic Charm


First Bride, Moody Blues White


Nighttime fragrant blooms

Not only should you think visually about your twilight garden, but additional sensory appeal can also be added by selecting flowers emanating sultry fragrance. Pleasant scents intensify the interest and enjoyment to the typical twilight garden. Fortunately, night-blooming plants will produce sweet-scented flowers attracting insects such as moths feeding on nectar and pollinating.

Many plants that look good at night also have amazing nighttime scents. Evening primrose, lily, honeysuckle and many other plants’ scents intensify as evening falls. Plants like night-scented stock (Matthiola bicornis), only emit their scent at night. Encircle seating areas with pots of scented plants guaranteeing a bit of fragrance. Dianthus, lilies and lavender grow well in containers, while rose shrubs would be ideal for surrounding the perimeter of a patio or deck.

Enhancing the ambiance

You do not have to rely on sunsets or moonlight to enjoy your twilight garden. Extend the nighttime show with candles, lanterns, or a firepit, completing the intriguing display of your twilight garden.  Enjoy your garden visually during dusk, not just during the daylight. Selecting blooms and plants that shimmer with their white, silver, and gray hues will create a delightful twilight show!


1 comment

  • Sue Marshall

    What is the name of the beautiful flower at the top of your email? It’s lovely.

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