Moon Gardens are the Dreamy Landscaping Options You May Have Never Heard of
We are busy people and many of us come home late to enjoy our gardens. But it doesn’t have to be like this: A. Moon garden, with white, night-blooming, sweet-scented plants is the answer, and landscape architects swear you’ll love it even more than your day garden.
“A well-designed moon garden feels good and is infinitely fascinating,” explains Jack Carman, landscape director of Spiezle Architecture, Trenton, NJ, and specialist in therapy gardens. “It appeals to the senses in a way that day gardens cannot. For one thing, it’s quieter and cooler in the evening – just the rustling of the leaves in the wind – so it calms down immediately. Then the moonlight is reflected in the flowers and the delicious scents that are characteristic of night-blooming plants. “
In a moon garden, Carman argues, “it takes very little to improve the mood. A wind chime and a couple of candles. It’s magical, whether you’re just relaxing, having a deux en plein air or with friends. “
The moon garden could be a separate area, or you could just incorporate evening elements into the existing landscape, notes Louise Reiling of the Auburn Pointe Greenhouse & Garden Center, Chagrin Falls, OH. “Just remember, it should be an open area, lapped by moonlight and away from trees and structures.”
Another reason to feel good in a moon garden? “Nature designed night-flowering plants so that they smell particularly sweet in order to attract night-pollinators such as moths and bats,” says Reiling. “Definitely let’s help these bats. They do a wonderful job for us and devour tons of mosquitoes.”
What to plant in a moon garden
The vibrant colors of flowers that look so stunning in daylight – especially the red and purple – fade to a muddy mix of grays when the sun goes away. Go for white, yellow, pink and lavender, advises Venelin Dimitrov, gardener at W. Atlee Burpee Company.
White flowering plants that are readily available at garden centers include impatiens, shasta daisies, peonies, and hydrangeas, but scent is an important factor here. So be sure to look at flower tobacco, Cleome, Four-O-Clock, Night Phlox, and Viburnum.
And no night garden is complete without the moon flower, says Dimitrov. It is a sturdy vine with white 15 cm flowers that open in the evening and release a lovely lemony scent that attracts large sphinx moths made from blocks. If you have a fence or trellis that you want to cover up quickly, Cobaea scandans or Cup and Saucer Vine are good choices, and for exotic scents, Night-Blooming Jasmine is perfect, but be careful: a little scent goes a long way, so it will do also a plant.
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Leaves can also unfold their effect in the night garden. For silvery and colorful foliage that shines in the moonlight, try Artimisia, Lamb Ears, Dusty Miller Hosta, Russian Sage, Yarrow, Thyme, and Santolina.
Grande Diamond Frost (Euphorbia) Live plant
Cineraria Dusty Miller Plant Seeds 200 + Seeds
Night blooming jasmine Cestrum nocturnum
100 lamb’s ear seeds, deer resistant flower
How to illuminate your moon garden
But what about other ways to light up the yard when the moon is waning? Absolutely no floodlights, warns Reiling. “Choose soft lighting like small white strings of lights, candles and lights. Bright landscape elements such as paving stones, fences, arbors, benches and garden decorations also work. And add reflective surfaces like glass objects or water in a bird bath or fountain. They’ll rev up the ambient light and make the landscape sparkle. “
Reiling believes in moon gardens so much that she hosts a midsummer garden event every year, where guests wander through evening garden vignettes and even release a moon moth. She’s not alone: More and more garden centers across the country are hosting moon garden events and workshops. It seems many of us want our gardens to glow at night.
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