Night vision

An evening in early August, calm, hardly a whisper of breeze. There’s still light in the western sky, a half moon gathers illumination and a pinprick evening star appears.

Dry spikes of grass in the bordering field are flaxen, lit from the west. The oaks along its boundary stand solid, dark outlines billowing, individual leaves picked out and gilded.

I stand in the garden enclosed by trees and hedges, the dark is gathering faster. I look up at the outlines of heart-shaped lime leaves bold against the palest blue sky.

Phlox Blue Paradise evening colour
Phlox Blue Paradise as the light fades

Phlox Blue Evening, lilac by day, the blue tones in the petals start to sing out as the light fails. Then they disappear into the night.

A large bat patrols overhead, backwardsing and forwardsing for a brief while. A faint rattle is all I hear from its wings, rendered deaf to their calls by age. Along the stream, rustles, an occasional plop and the sound of snails rasping away in the undergrowth.

The whites are the final colours to drain from the eveningscape. Cosmos ‘Purity’ dances through the border. The scent from the re-awakened Nicotiana alata is strong. Long thin tubular flowers of Mirabilis longiflora have opened their red-throated trumpets adding to the fragrance in the air.

The mirabilis were grown from seed, (Chiltern Seeds), a few years ago. I wasn’t expecting them to survive the winter, however they create big overwintering tubers. The thrusting re-emerging velvety leaves in summer always take me by surprise. It’s a gangly awkward grower lounging about against other plants.

Nearly dark now, the whites have paled to misty grey. Time to shut the chickens up and go inside.