Find peace and repose in a garden that looks its best under the light of the moon.
Are you someone who rises before the sun to join the long string of headlights along the highway?
Is your work day long, so that you find yourself winding your way home long after sunset?
Is the weekend the only time that you see your yard in the daylight? If so, a ‘Moon Garden’ or ‘Evening Garden’ may be just what you need if you’re looking to enjoy peace, quiet and serenity in your landscape.
There are five key elements to this type of garden:
- plants that stand out in low light (e.g., plants with leaves or blooms that feature silver, white, yellow, and cream variations)
- architectural or sculptural plants, or plants with interesting bark forms
- plants that emit their scents at night in order to attract pollinators
- lighting features that heighten the romance and highlight your plants
- fountains or water features that invoke serenity and serve as a source of hydration for pollinators
Ferns & Grasses
Grasses are imperative for any Moon Garden. While these perennials provide texture and color to the day time landscape, they are the voice of a nighttime garden as they sway and rustle in the breezes. As Autumn approaches, many grasses and ferns change color, providing new focal points in the garden.
‘Cosmopolitan’ Maiden Grass
‘Karley Rose’ Fountain Grass
‘Frosty Curls’ Sedge
Golden Variegated Hakonechloa
Little Bunny Fountain Grass
Perennials & Annuals
There are a large number of blooming plants that are perfect for this type of gardening. The beautiful symphony of a well-planned Moon Garden begins with flowers and foliage that glow as the sun sets. Orange and yellow flowers and foliage catch the last rays of the setting sun, giving them a dramatically different look than at midday. Purple and fuchsia flowers and foliage shine rather than retreat at this time of the day.
As darkness falls, cream, light-yellow, white and silver flowers and foliage glitter. During the day, the silver foliage reflects the bright sun and protects the plant from intense sun and dryness. At night, this same foliage glows under the moonlight.
Mix in a variety of plants with exotic and attractive scents to round out your orchestra.
‘Silver Fog’ Euphorbia
Rose Mallow ‘Luna Blush’ (Hibiscus moscheutos)
Phlox ‘David’ (Phlox paniculata)
Speedwell ‘Icicle’ (Veronica spicata)
White Cleome (Cleome hassleriana)
Silver Mound (Artesmia schmidtiana)
Lily ‘Sunny Salawesi’ (Lilium)
Flowering Tobacco (Nicotiana sylvestris)
Canna Lily ‘Tropical White’ (Canna x generalis)
Dichondra silver falls
Pentas lucky star
Begonia bada bing
Night Blooming Plants
As dusk turns into twilight, and twilight turns into darkness, the most dramatic aspect of a moon garden is revealed as the nighttime-flowering plants begin to open. Plants to consider are:
Purple and Blue tropicals
Night blooming Daylilies
White Night-Blooming Cactus
Ipomoea Alba ‘Moonflower vine’
Brugmansia ‘Angel’s trumpet’
Mirabilis jalapa ‘Four O’Clock’
Berlandiera lyrata ‘Chocolate Flower’
The Moon Garden is a place of repose, but also a place to embrace the eroticism and mystery of the night. Include flowers that emit a fragrance – you can choose the strong fragrances of fruit trees or the soft scent of flowers.
Oenothera caespitosa ‘Tufted Evening Primrose’
Zaluzianskya capensis ‘Midnight Candy’
Lily of the Valley
Common White Lilac
Trees and Shrubs
Trees and shrubs with contrasting colored bark, such as whitish to brownish or cinnamon exfoliating bark (e.g. – birch, pines and maples). The twisted shapes of weeping trees, topiary or tortured forms (Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick) create unique evening shadows.
Hydrangea ‘Limelight’ (Hydrangea paniculata)
Hydrangea ‘White Chiffon”
Hydrangea ‘Lava Lamp’ Moon Rocks
Hydrangea ‘Gatsby Moon’
Rose of Sharon ‘White Chiffon’ (Hibiscus syriacus)
Crapemyrtle ‘Acoma’ (Lagerstroemia indica)
Celthra Aln ‘Vanilla Spice’
Magnolia Gr ‘Southern Charm’
Magnolia ‘Little Gem’
Magnolia ‘Brackens Brown’
Low-wattage lights can be used to enhance garden features or to create dramatic shadows and textures.
- Consider installing pathways lined with oyster shell or other luminescent material that reflect the light of the moon.
- A solar powered lantern or decorative torch will accentuate the beauty of your nighttime garden.
- Gas lighting built into your pathways or hardscape can evoke timeless romance
- Add a light-colored bench near your lighting, so you can sit for a moment, absorbing the moonlight, the fragrance of the flowers around you, and the mood of your garden.
A moon garden introduces a cast of characters that were always there, but were never obvious. Now they dominate. A Moon Garden is a unique experience that you can enjoy quietly at the end of the day, alone or with the one you love.
Photo LOUISE REILING
The next time you visit Homestead Gardens, visit our various departments and find out which plants would work best for you in a nighttime garden. Shake it up a little. Become a night-owl and see your garden like you’ve never seen it before.