My very generous neighbor recently gave me a couple of these small bushes, Four O’clocks (Mirabilis jalapa). She’s lived in this neighborhood for 27 years and as a fellow plant geek, her garden is now out of control. In exchange for me doing some light yard work she sends me home with plants. Talk about a win-win!
During the heat of the day, the flowers close but as the common name suggests, in the late afternoon they burst open. And not only are they stunningly bright but the scent is amazing. Almost as fragrant as a gardenia. They are now my third favorite floral scent, after citrus and gardenia (sorry jasmine, you’ve dropped down to fourth).
The first part of the binomial is Latin for wonderful, which is really quite fitting. I wasn’t previously familiar with this plant but I’m so happy to have it in my yard!