Attention all gardeners. While you plan out your plot with color, texture and attractions for pollinators, why not set aside a special spot to enjoy after the sun goes down?
What is a moon garden?
A moon garden is simply a space where you can take in the peaceful atmosphere of your garden under the light of the moon. It can be as large or as small as you want it to be. Whatever the size, make sure it’s defined by primarily white and silver flowers and plants that come to life under the lunar light.
Choose a location
Start by choosing a location for your moon garden. Make sure it is somewhere you’re likely to spend time. It can be adjacent to a porch or patio or a sitting area segregated away from the activity of the home.
Because the whole idea is to revolve around the moon, spend a few nights walking around the yard when the moon is high in the sky. Look for a spot that receives prime moonlight and watch for areas that become shadowed by the light. Similarly, make sure your plants will have adequate sunlight during daylight hours. Typically they will require a minimum of six hours of direct sunlight.
Add layers of lighting
If you have a pathway, light it with solar LED lights. For the sitting area, lean into dainty fairy lights or string lights. You can also put uplights on your favorite plants to make them a feature.
Go for scents
The sweet scent of flowers is part of the allure of your moon garden so be sure to incorporate a few that leave a honeyed aroma in the air.
Choose colors carefully
Your moon garden will primarily be made up of groups of white flowers. Plant them in clusters that make a statement. If they are too dispersed they will fail to make the desired impact. Moreover, separate groupings with a darker-colored plant or a variegated option, such as a hosta, to isolate the different types of white flowers. Also, mix in silvery plants that do an equally good job of reflecting the moonlight.
Bring in variety
Just like your daytime garden, your moon garden will benefit from a variety of plant sizes, shapes, heights and textures. Combine the soft silvery leaves of Lamb’s Ear or Silver Sage with the height of a Japanese Dogwood Tree. Then mix in some shrubs. When picking flowers, create a supply of both small and large blooms to enjoy.
Plant for the seasons
Depending on where you live, a moon garden can be a three or even four-season space. Plan ahead so you can enjoy blooms in each season. For example, Snow-in-Summer is a great choice for early summer since it blooms in May and June. On the other end, you can see Sweet Autumn Clematis bloom in August and September. Also, create plantings that stagger blooms throughout the year.
Cater to the pollinators
We all benefit from pollinators and if you spend any time in your daytime garden you likely see butterflies and bees busy at work. But there are many nighttime pollinators that will enjoy a little nectar too. Accommodate moths, native bees and bats with an assortment of flowers they will favor.
Yield to your hardiness zone
You can spend hours researching the best flowers to reflect the light of the moon, but if they aren’t rated for your USDA hardiness zone you’ll find yourself struggling to keep them alive, let alone thriving. Start by locating the hardiness zone where you live and select plants that match it.
Set the scene
In addition to choosing a location and plants, you can embellish to create an atmosphere that appeals to you. For example, make sure there’s seating with a bench or chairs. Accent your flowerbed with gazing balls and other reflective materials. Create peaceful water sounds with a trickling water feature or place your garden near the pond so you can hear the frogs singing at night.
Maintain your garden
While it’s a relaxing place where you can forget about the ‘to do’ list for a bit, your moon garden will need a bit of maintenance now and then. Plan to deadhead spent flowers, set up a regular watering system and give your plants some added nutrients as needed. Also make a note on the calendar to fill in bulbs a few months before they’re expected to bloom.
Some moon garden plant suggestions
After establishing your hardiness zone, select plants that both appeal to you and are appropriate for your space. Some common choices are Shasta Daisies, White Creeping Phlox, Sweet alyssum, White Bleeding Heart, Candytuft, Mock Orange, Angel’s Trumpet, the namesake Moonflower, and Lilacs. Add silver hues with Silver Lambs Ears, Dusty Miller, Silver Sage and Russian Sage.
Remember to include tall and short plants, allowing something like Clematis or Climbing White Hydrangea to snuggle up to the house or pergola. Calla Lilies, White Lilacs, and White Lupine can fill in the space in front. Remember to layer in bulbs like White Daffodils, Tulips, Snowdrops and Summer Snowflakes for unique blooms.
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