As I was walking downtown, the sweet smell of flowers wafted in my direction. After a couple of minutes searching, I found this amazing little alley that had been seeded with four o’clocks. I had forgotten how great they smelled!
Don’t you just love surprise gardens? Someone went through the trouble of beautifying this area with four o’clocks. It was a lovely surprise and hidden well away. Urban gardening at its best.
Here’s a view from the other end of the alley. It just goes to show you that some plants will grow in even the strangest locations. This small garden really made the alley so much prettier.
Four O’Clocks (Mirabilis jalapa) are an annual (although in warmer climates they may be perennial) and are usually sown by seed. Collecting seeds from them is very easy. Plant the seeds in early spring, after the last frost. Cover seeds with 1/4 inch of soil and keep them moist until they germinate.
The plants can grow to be up to 3 feet high and will produce a multitude of blooms. As the name implies, the blooms open in the late afternoon and have a strong, sweet smell.
They prefer full sun, but will tolerate some shade. They are drought tolerant once established and can withstand the heat of summer.
The flowers are tubular and come in yellow, red, white, pink, orange and even mottled/striped colors.