Susan Spiller’s garden is causing quite a buzz.

People have been coming out to her home at nightfall to watch the large blooms on the moonflower bushes in her yard pop open and fill the air with a sweet aroma.

“I love it,” said Spiller. “I’ll take my chair out there” to watch the blooms one by one unfurl into large white flowers.

A moonflower bush is a perennial plant that features 4- to 6-inch trumpet-shape flowers, which quickly blossom in the evening and stay open until the morning. Spiller said typically the flowers last about 14 hours.

“They just last one day and die,” she said.

Then, the bush needs to be deadheaded, and in the evening the magic happens all over again.

Last year, Spiller found out about the moonflower plant from her cousin who lives in Texas.

“We’re on a group text, and she showed us a picture of her moonflower bush,” she said.

Her cousin asked if she wanted any seeds. Spiller replied yes.

“My yard needed all the help it could get,” she said. “I had a few house plants, but I had never planted anything in the yard. So I just got started last year and just kept going and going and going.”

Spiller received several moonflower seed pods filled with tiny seeds. She planted them and waited.

“They grew a small bush with three or four blooms,” she said.

Before the first freeze last year, Spiller cut back the bush, not knowing what the plant would do in the upcoming year.

“Miraculously it came back this year, and it’s huge,” she said.

Spiller now has two moonflower bushes about 15 feet apart. One, however, is much larger than the other.

Not only have the bushes grown exponentially this year, they also produce as many as 35 to 45 blooms a night. The most was about 50 blooms one night this past week.

Spiller and her husband, Rob, were talking to friends about their moonflower bushes at their Grand Boulevard home one recent night at Steven’s Barbecue.

“We were showing them pictures of these moonflowers, and they drove by,” she said. “We said, ‘Come on over here,’ because (the flowers) were starting to pop right then.”

Several more of the Spillers’ friends have stopped by to watch the flowers bloom at dusk.

“Everybody comes and watches them,” she said. “They all get excited to see them, because it’s like they are coming alive. ... Some people will sit in the car and watch it and drive off, and some people get out and take pictures.”

Watching the moonflower bushes is a fun event. The Spillers and their guests stand around the bushes and eagerly wait as the blooms slowly unfold and then quickly pop open.

“It’s like they start trembling slightly, like there’s a slight breeze, and you know it’s fixing to pop” she said.

One night, Spiller went outside to watch the flowers bloom and take pictures.

“You’ve got your camera, and you’re all ready and you’ve got it on this one,” she said. “I was out there waiting, and 25 or 30 of them bloomed but not that one.” It was the last bloom to pop open, she said.

The flowers do not open at the same time. But when one does, it happens fast.

“It’s not slowly. It takes it a second for the flower to pop open partially,” she said. “Then it opens a little bit more, and it finally finishes opening.”

Contact Ruthie Robison at 581-7235 or

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