Evening primrose

Oentheras are a wonderful example of the tenacity of beauty.

They arrived in my garden via a handful of seeds collected from flowers growing on gravel near the local airport and one plant made a rosette of long leaves. The next summer a tall spike emerged and the first irresistible lemon yellow blossom unfurled as dusk gathered, followed by another and another until it was studded with saucers of light reflecting petals in the darkness.

I know it is considered a weed in North America, but in Europe it has become a garden plant and is naturalized in many countries. The oil collected from the seed is famous for regulating hormonal imbalances in women and it has pain relieving properties in neurological conditions and in the the treatment of eczema .

I grow it simply for its beauty.

It self seeds and the plants move around the garden and appear where the seeds lodge and I always try to make space for them in the flowers beds or in the middle of the lawn.
Watching the flowers unfurl at night in real time is one of the highlights of mid-summer and is best enjoyed at eye level in a hammock with a glass of chilled wine to toast their uncoiling exuberance. As their Latin name is apparently derived from the Greek for wine, it seems the right thing to do!

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