By Lynn Cadet
Have you ever heard of a moon garden? If not, neither did I before writing this piece. But oh, am I glad I now know about them! I’m not typically a plant person, but the idea of a moon garden sounds both intriguing and delightful.
Although we usually admire leafy gardens in the company of sunny skies, the night versions allow you to enjoy beautiful plants in the moonlight. After seeing a photo of one for myself, I could already imagine strolling through green walkways of silver glow and fireflies. Sounds magical, right? Maybe even straight out of a storybook? But this flower garden is 100% real.
If you’re a night owl or even an amateur plant enthusiast, you need to dive into this unique world of night bloomers. But hold up, their beauty is not the only thing to catch your attention, but also their aroma. You’ll have your friends impressed with these beauties and the smell when hosting late-night patio parties or hangouts.
What Is A Moon Garden?
The basic definition tells us of white flowering plants growing and taking shape. Sometimes, these gardens vary in colour with additions of blue or red flowers, and their leaves, blooms, and shapes can have any structure. The earliest recording of a moon garden was in 1833. Benjamin Poore designed it as he was obsessed with the gleam of white. During that period, people viewed it as a refined luxury.
But what really gives it its name is how the flowers glow at night and produce lovely scents to attract nocturnal pollinators. Once the sun goes down and the moon becomes visible, the garden takes on a life of its own and transforms into a show-stopping beauty. As the sun disappears, some flowers begin to open up with white petals reflecting the silver light of their friend in the sky.
Amid its silver light, you can relish the pops of colour from nocturnal butterflies and hummingbirds coming to pollinate late in the evening while taking in its breathtaking fragrance since they effuse a stronger scent than day bloomers.
Picking The Perfect Plants
Before you populate your window boxes, porches, and yards with lovely white light, select the right plants. Choose anything from lilies to the moonflower itself for the perfect variety when curating the ideal moon garden.
The moonflower (Ipomoea alba), also called white morning glory, starts off this list. It is a perennial vine. Once night falls, its large, white petals spring open and stay like that until after sunrise. It enjoys moist soil and at least partial sunlight. It is available in delicate pink shades and is also edible.
This flower is sometimes called a moonflower as well. But, you can easily differentiate it from white morning glory. The Datura plant has large, trumpet-like blossoms, which inspired its other name—the devil’s trumpet. It comes in a variety of colours, including pink, purple, yellow, and white. Unlike the other moonflower, people should not eat it, and it should be kept away from pets and children because it is highly poisonous.
If you love flowery fragrances, this plant will be a great addition to your moon garden. Nicknamed midnight candy, the night phlox (Zaluzianskya Capensis) effuses a strong, sweet scent similar to honey, almond, and vanilla. They tend to bloom during the fall and summer seasons. If you want flying visitors, this plant attracts bees, birds, and butterflies. As for care, the night phlox loves full or partial sun, little water and grows best in containers or flowerbeds.
Calamint (Calamintha nepeta) is a perennial that grows white, fragrant flowers. This lovely plant typically blooms from June to September and attracts pollinators. Since it is a low-growing plant, you can use them to decorate walkways and borders of patios and porches. It needs the sun and prefers evenly moist soil but can handle some drought.
The Japanese Anemones come in various hues of pink and white to either give your moon garden a splash of colour or maintain its signature white glow. The white-flowered types are called Honorine Jobert and Whirlwind, and are perfect for spring planting and will extend your moon garden to the beginning of fall. For the best care, it is advised to cut them back in late fall. Once they have settled, they don’t require much maintenance, which is great for those who don’t have much time to garden.
I hope you liked these plant suggestions and have been inspired. But hey, your design doesn’t have to stop there. Why not install low lighting and music to make evening walks in your moon garden extra special. Either way, I’m sure the experience will be calming. Happy gardening!