Santa Cruz Mountains
A strange plant appeared in my garden, uninvited but not unwelcomed. The flowers only open on warm and windless late summer afternoons.
Variegated with yellow and magenta in endless varieties, enormous numbers of whimsical harlequin blossoms burst forth for just a month or two.
Dubbed “Fragrant Four O’clocks,” even their scientific name Mirabilis jalapa intrigues the imagination. Mirabilis translates to amazing, wonderful, remarkable.
Each plant brings forth a steady stream of new blossoms, at the same time producing large black seeds that drop to the ground to ensure next year’s crop.
This tropical South American native pops out plenty of pure magenta blooms, but no pure yellow. Yellow blossoms are always variegated with magenta.
The fragrance of the Fragrant Four O’Clocks is light and subtle. It intensifies in late afternoon. Another of Mirabilis’ fanciful charms.
Self-sowing, bright, unpredictable, and delightful, Mirabilis is also known as Miracle of Peru. It’s a cheery addition to your summer garden.