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Moon Gardens: A How-To Guide for Night Owls with Green ThumbsApril 14th, 2017 by
Maybe you don’t have a garden because you like to sleep in, or because you don’t particularly enjoy having to maintain a garden in the heat, or you might be looking for an alternative to sitting in front of the television after dinner. Now there’s another option for people who enjoy flowers but are simply more productive during the evening hours.
If any of these statements apply to you, try planting a moon garden.
Even small yards will be compatible with a moon garden and its accessories. You just have to know how to manage your space.
What Is a Moon Garden?
A moon garden, or a night garden, is essentially what it sounds like—a garden that flourishes under the light of the moon. More specifically, it’s a combination of white, grey, and silver plants that reflect the moonlight in a unique way and are more fragrant in the evening than during the day. Having a moon garden creates plenty of time to enjoy the outdoors without the sun beaming down on your back.
Since the point of a moon garden is to enjoy the fragrances and light reflections, they’re often planted around a patio or a similar area where people can relax
Moon gardens also support wildlife populations, like moths and bats, which help to pollinate plants. In turn, bats will help keep your other pest populations at bay. While you’re gardening, make room for a bat house to encourage bats to take up a more permanent residence.
Moon Garden Plants
Like a normal garden, the kinds of plants that will do well in your area will depend on what climate zone you live in. Native plants are always a better choice than foreign species. They have a better chance of survival and attract the right kinds of bees, bats, and other animals.
With regard to colors, white will reflect the most light, so flowers like hydrangeas, camellias, and bleeding heart flowers are great choices.
Reds and purples are less easily distinguishable at night and don’t reflect light well. If you feel the need for a little bit of color, yellow is your best bet. While it doesn’t reflect particularly well, yellow provides a good contrast to the white flowers.
Plants with fragrant and bright foliage to incorporate into your garden include licorice, honeysuckle, mock orange, and many others. Other plants wouldn’t do poorly in a moon garden, but not all plants give off a noticeable scent during the night.
How to Start a Moon Garden
Start planting your moon garden after the last frost has faded. Maintaining a moon garden is much like taking care of a regular garden. Just make sure the plants are well suited for your area, properly hydrated, and pruned when dead blooms start to appear.
Try to pick a spot that receives a significant amount of light, whether it’s artificial or natural. If you don’t have a yard to plant your flowers in, consider setting the plants in containers around your balcony.
However, it’s also important to have a little bit of shade for your moon garden. While shade won’t hurt them, these night-blooming plants often wither with too much sunshine.
Think about what scents you want to incorporate into your garden. Too many different aromas may result in an unpleasant combination. Tuberoses and Oriental lilies are very fragrant, while flowering tobacco is slightly less so. Honeysuckle is also a pleasant but not overwhelming smell.
Note: Different flowers have different bloom times, which means you can stagger the fragrances throughout the evening, night, and early morning.
Pointy and Poisonous Plants
If you have pets or small children, avoid planting any poisonous plants in your moon garden. Moon Flowers, Angel’s trumpets, and burgmansias are on the no-no list.
In general, it may also be a good idea to avoid planting anything pointy in your garden. While blooming cacti may be beautiful, if you accidentally step on them or touch them, you’ll be wishing you hadn’t planted them to begin with.
If you prefer lots of light in your garden, uplight your flowers after they’re planted. In addition to reflecting light from the moon, the foliage will also reflect the artificial light. However, some people feel that it detracts from the natural beauty. Follow your instincts on this choice.
Other options to consider incorporating into your garden area include reflecting pools or running water of some kind. Call a local landscaping professional to help you design such a space as well as help with flower selection.
If you love flowers but you’re running short on daylight hours, you don’t have to live without a garden. Find the right foliage to plant in your moon garden, and enjoy the fragrances and reflections these unique gardens provide.
Just remember to consider the following factors:
- Whether or not your plants are native to the area
- Location and sunlight
- Complementary scents
- Potential hazards like poisonous or thorny plants
- Possible accents for your moon garden—lights, ponds, or running water
You’ll soon be on your way to having a great space to relax in and show off. Happy moon gardening!