A moon garden is just as it sounds, a garden meant to be viewed by moonlight. Moon garden’s usually future flowers that bloom exclusively at night or at dusk, flowers and plants that reflect moonlight well in shades such as silver or white, and fragrant aromatic plants and flowers to entice your other senses in the dark of the night when you may be able to see less.
Historically moon gardens were not only enjoyed for romantic strolls and evening pleasure as they are today but were used in religious practices in honor of the moon. Through out time many cultures have worshiped the moon and so the plants and flowers that flourish more in its glow. In some cultures only women or “witches” tended moon gardens believing they produced more powerful herbs for potions. Traditional moon gardens are not only enjoyed by moonlight, but planted, sown and tended by moonlight as well. Everything about a moon garden was done by the phases of the moon.
Whether your motivation is simple enjoyment during the night or for more historic purposes a moon garden in a beautiful thing. This article on How to Plant a Moon Garden will provide simple, step by step advice and tips on how to make your very own moonlight garden.
Planning a Moon Garden
The first thing you need to figure out to plant a moon garden is where to put it. Like any garden the location of a moon garden will affect your overall result.
In the case of a moon garden you want to be sure you choose a location that receives good moonlight. Naturally planting a moon garden against your home where it will always be in shadow is an unwise choice. However most people do prefer to place moon gardens close to their homes where they can easily stroll out into the night and enjoy them.
Not to worry if you don’t have a location that receives good moonlight, this will not bar your way from having your own moon garden. Modern advances allow today’s gardeners the advantage of artificial lighting. Even grown indoors a plant that blooms at night still blooms. You can strategically place lights throughout a moon garden to provide your own “moon light” if needed.
Also be sure to consider existing architecture or any you may plan on adding. Many moon blooming flowers are vine or creeping plants. You can cut costs by choosing locations that have existing structures for these elements to “crawl”. Consider placing moon gardens near fences, large stones or existing trees. Try to use existing architecture that allows substantial moonlight of course though.
If you plan on creating some of your own architectural elements, be sure to choose a location that has amble space. Water and koi ponds are often used in conjuncture with moon gardens to add the soft soothing sounds of water to the garden at night and a bit of activity during the day when moon garden’s can be less spectacular.
The next step in planting a moon garden is to decide what you want in it. Outside of the architectural decisions made in step one of this guide, plants and flowers are naturally the star of the garden.
What plants make good choices for moon gardens?
- Plants or flowers that bloom at night or dusk.
- Plants or flowers that are pale, silver or white in color and so catch the eye in darker sittings.
- Fragrant plants, flowers or herbs.
Here is a sampling of some ideas for plants and flowers that fit the above mold. Some of these actually fit all three categories such as the Night Blooming Cereus which blooms solely at night producing massive and fragrant white blooms.
- Evening Primrose
- Angel’s Trumpet
- Night Phlox
- Evening Stock
- Four O’Clocks
- Nottingham Catchfly
- Night Blooming Cereus
- Moon Frolic
- Toltec Sundial
- Flowering Tobacco
- Night Gladiolus
- August Lily
- Fragrant Columbine
- Fairy Lily
- Climbing hydrangea
- Sweet autumn clematis
- Mock Orange Shrub
- Cherry/Apple/Orange Trees
- Purity’ Cosmos
- Armour White
- Summer Hyacinth
- ‘Bride’ Impatiens
- ‘Moonraker’ Cape fuchsia
- ‘Perry’s White’ Oriental Poppy
- ‘WhiteSwan’ Camellia
- White Forsythia
- ‘Alba’ Columbine
- ‘Whitelace’ Dianthus
- Silver Artemesia
- Lamb’s ears
- Silver sage
- ‘White Christmas’ Caladiums.
- Variegated cannas
- Silver Thyme
- ‘Alba’ Eggplant: has white egg-shaped fruits
- ‘Casper’ or ‘Boo’ white pumpkins
Now to bring all your moon garden elements together. First test your soil. Be sure it is suitable for the plants and flowers you have chosen for your garden. If you have voted to go with plants that are not common to your area you my have to create some soil locations for certain plants by adding sand or more rich soil, etc. This is why it is important to have your moon garden planned entirely before planting.
You need to know what type of environment each plant you chose needs. Also be sure to note the zone or hardiness for the plants. Many moon flowering plants are not suited for colder weather. One option is to set your moon garden up to have different seasonal looks. In the winter you could have simply evergreens living, back dropped by the spindly fingers of deciduous trees with a frozen pond for affect.
Remember moonlight can make the simplest of things amazing. In the summer you could use more warm blooded plants for a magnificent show of blooms. Planting your moon garden is as easy as following your plan. Every gardener’s plan will vary by their personal tastes, desires and skill level.
This guide is intended to inspire and provide gardening tips and advice to create a moon garden, the planting itself is all up to you.