Whether you enjoy a cocktail, a cup of tea, or a meditation time viewing a green space, C. L. Fornai's newest book, "The Cocktail Hour Garden: Creating Evening Landscapes for Relaxation and Entertaining" will support your goals.
To make your "green hour" special for you and your guests, Fornai suggests attracting night life such as night blooming plants, sensory-pleasing textures, pollinator attracting flowers and scented plants to please the humans.
It's still early spring and there is plenty of time to do all those things before summer nights practically drag us outside for a late in the day rest to appreciate the work that's been accomplished.
Chapter Two: Fragrance - you can already smell the lavender, rosemary, night blooming tobacco and other beauties. Fornai says ACTEAE simplex 'Brunette' is the best for night time perfume. (formerly known as Cimicifuga 'Brunette'. Gorgeous in a woodland setting, it's usually happiest in climates cooler than ours but would succeed in a micro climate. And, vines: Honeysuckle, jasmine, moon flower. And, Lilies ... well the list goes on and on doesn't it? What a joy scented flowers are.
Remember scented shrubs such as Gardenia, Daphne, Clove Currant, etc.
Chapter Three: Illumination - light reflects off of the moonflowers' surface as they open before your eyes at dusk. And, there are dozens of ways to add artificial lighting through electric, solar and battery-operated features. Plus, fir pits.
Grasses that move gently in the breeze add an element of light to surroundings and glow under artificial lighting.
Chapter Four: Sunset: After-Twilight Plants and Lighting- think silver and grey and shades of blue
Chapter Five: Planting for Butterflies - On every gardener's mind right now! Asters, Sedums, Coreopsis, Calendula, Joe Pye Weed, and others keep the butterflies coming back for more.
Chapter Six: Attracting the Birds - We love to watch the birds interplay in the grass, among the plants and busily setting up the birdhouses for their families. Grow some sheltering shrubs where you can enjoy watching the action.
Chapter Seven: Conversation with Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Sky - Use rocks, water,berms, wind chimes, and visual focal points to pull your green space together
Chapter Eight: The Green Hour Vegetable Garden: cocktail hour grazing - Pant Malabar spinach, cucumbers, vining beans and flowers where they can climb up a piece of fencing, tuck kale between flowers, grow cherry tomatoes for picking while they are warm,
Chapter Nine: Herbs, Flowers and Other Beverage Ingredients - Put herbs in shipping crates, grow tasty and scented herbs for snacking and beverage ingredients, make teas from the leaves of several flowers and vegetables, add berries from the garden as garnish.
This is such a lovely and delicious book. What a wonderful housewarming gift it would be. 170 page hardback in an easy to carry size. Lots of photos and recipes.$20, 2016, St. Lynne's Press.