Night-Scented Stock

It’s little. It’s weedy-looking. The simple 4-petaled flowers are a washed out purple-pink and they close when the sun shines on them.

The beauty part is a night fragrance as strong as any in the garden and a great deal more refined than most. Instead of the heavy tropical spice of brugmansia or the decadent perfume of lilies, night scented stock offers a combination of vanilla and new mown hay.

Its botanical name is Matthiola longipetala, aka M. bicornis, genus name pronounced Mat-ee-O-la because it’s named for Pierandrea Mattioli, a 16th century Italian botanist who knew a good thing when he smelled one.

Seeds are widely available. Plant some next spring ( you could try it even now and get lucky if it’s a long fall).

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