It's so hot that the heat from our ageing laptop is making me glow in a most ladylike manner. So a short post singing the praises of the flowers of nicotiana mutablis which you can see above. This has most cool and elegant flowers and is a half hardy annual which makes an ideal plant for container growing. I have grown it for several years now but sadly have only seen plants come through one winter, so have started from seed again each year. The plants that are flowering now were sown some time late last summer or early autumn and overwintered in the greenhouse. I kept them dry and this year for the first time my greenhouse had heat when the temperature fell below 3 degrees fahrenheit. I potted the plants on in March and had a one in flower for our garden club plant sale at the end of May. It sold the other plants I had taken. For an early start seed can also be sown in February if you have a heated propagator.Otherwise they can be sown in March and April.
What I find fascinating about this plant is the way the flowers change colour - opening as white before fading into light pink then a deep dusky pink. The 'mutablis' part of the name is the clue being the Latin word for changing. Hopefully the above photo conveys all three stages. The flowers are oh so subtly scented and the plants will flower until those first frosts. I hope that if you have not come across them before that you decide to give them a go. You will be enchanted.