– Night-Scented Stock
Flowers lilac, June to August.
A plant whose flowers are insignificant to the
eye, but precious for their scent. In the day
time the Matthiola is almost an eyesore; the leaves
are grey-green and inconspicuous, and all the
sunlight hours the flowers appear dead and shrivelled.
But at sundown, almost before the first breath
of the evening cool, it opens its buds all at
once and fills the garden with a most delicate
yet penetrating sweetness.
The scent must not be smelled at close quarters;
it only has its proper quality of ethereal richness
when caught at some little distance on the wandering
airs of twilight.
The seed should be sown broadcast about the 25th
March; in light sandy soils it may be “raked
in”; on less kindly staples it may be covered
with a light sowing of old potting-sol and leaf-mould
with the rougher ingredients sifted out. Small
patches are a mere waste; sow in good breadths,
two yards square at least.
The seedlings appear quickly, and must be well
thinned out. A good watering in a dry spell will
sometimes renew the flowering that has begun to
The Matthiola is subject to a disease of its
own; a yellowing and wilting of the leaves which
rapidly destroys the plant. If the infected plants
are promptly pulled up, the greater part of a
bed may sometimes be saved.