Moon Gardens are dreamy landscaping options you may never have heard of


We are busy people and many of us come home too late to enjoy our gardens. But it doesn’t have to be like this: a moon garden, with night-flowering, fragrant white plants is the answer, and landscape architects swear you’ll love it even more than your daytime garden.

“A well-designed moon garden is endlessly enjoyable and fascinating,” says Jack Carman, landscape director for Spiezle Architecture, Trenton, NJ, and specialist in therapeutic gardens. “It engages the senses in a way that day gardens cannot. On the one hand, it’s calmer and cooler in the evening – just the rustling of leaves in the breeze – so it’s instantly calming. Then you have the moonlight reflected in the flowers, as well as the delicious scents characteristic of night-flowering plants. “

In a lunar garden, Carman explains, “It takes very little to set the mood. A wind chime and a few candles. It’s magical, whether you just want to relax on your own, have dinner. one two in the open air, or hang out with friends.

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The Moon Garden can be a separate area, or you can just include evening elements into the existing landscape, notes Louise Reiling of Auburn Pointe Greenhouse & Garden Center, Chagrin Falls, OH. “Remember that it should be an open space bathed in moonlight and away from trees and structures.”

Another reason to feel good in a lunar garden? “Nature designed night-flowering plants to be particularly fragrant to attract nocturnal pollinators like moths and bats,” says Reiling. “So, by all means, let’s help these bats. They do a great job for us, eating tons of mosquitoes. “

What to plant in a lunar garden

The vivid colors of the flowers that are so amazing in daylight – especially red and purple – fade into a muddy mix of grays when the sun goes out, so for the night garden you need flowers of light color that seem to glow in the moonlight. Go for white, yellow, pink and lavender, advises Venelin Dimitrov, horticulturalist at W. Atlee Burpee Company.

White flowering plants readily available at garden centers include impatiens, Shasta daisies, peonies, and hydrangeas, but scent is a big factor here, so definitely consider flowering tobacco, Cleome, Four-O-Clock, Night. Phlox and Viburnum.

shine a moon garden

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cherry blossom at night lit by lights moody dreamy background artistic floral photography

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And no night garden is complete without the moon flower, says Dimitrov. It’s a vigorous vine with six-inch white flowers that open at nightfall, releasing a lovely lemony scent to attract large sphinxes from blocks away. If you have a fence or trellis that you want to cover quickly, Cobaea scandans or Cup and Saucer Vine is a great choice, and for an exotic scent, Night-Blooming Jasmine is perfect, but beware: a little scent goes a long way. , so even one plant will suffice.

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The foliage can also work its magic in the night garden. For silvery, variegated foliage that glows in the moonlight, try Artimisia, Lamb’s Ears, Dusty Miller Hosta, Russian Sage, Yarrow, Thyme, and Santolina.

How to light up your lunar garden

But what about other ways to light up the yard when the moon is waning? Absolutely no projectors, warns Reiling. “Go with soft lighting, like tiny white fairy lights, candles, and light fixtures. Light-colored landscaping elements, such as pavers, fences, arbors, benches, and garden ornaments also work. And include reflective surfaces, such as glass objects or water in a birdbath or fountain. They will increase the ambient light and make the landscape sparkle. “

Night view of flowerbed illuminated by energy saving solar lanterns along the path of the pavement on the courtyard leading to the house

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Reiling believes in Moon Gardens so much that she hosts a Midsummer Night Garden event every year, with guests strolling through evening garden vignettes and even doing a moth release. She is not alone: ​​garden centers across the country are increasingly organizing lunar garden events and workshops. Many of us, it seems, want our gardens to shine at night.

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Terri S. Tomasini