Ten years ago I started a “Moon Garden” in my front yard after I noticed a lot of my neighbours going out for walks after supper.
I thought about a scented garden with flowers that could be seen in the evening and at night.
At first I thought of a "White Garden" and then I decided that I might as well make it a “Moon Garden”.
Unlike a traditional garden, a Moon Garden is specifically designed to be enjoyed during the evening and nighttime hours and that's what I wanted.
Then I designed my garden around a seasonal theme to bring a dynamic and ever-changing atmosphere to my outdoor space and my neighbours would have different plants and flowers to enjoy.
First I took stock of what already had:
Then I planned the Blooming Sequence:
I Select plants with staggered blooming times to ensure that the garden remained in bloom throughout the moonlit nights most of the year.
Spring White Flowers and Aromas:
Lilacs, dusty miller, dianthus, hyacinths, crocuses, daffodils, tulips, grape hyacinths, creeping flox, dianthus, petunias, impatiens, delphiniums, cosmos, bleeding hearts, foxglove, snapdragons, peonies, lupins, sweet williams, columbine, feverfew, daisies, poppies, sweet peas, perennial candy tuft.
Summer White Flowers and Scents:
Fragrant roses, echinacea, brugmansia, stock, sweet peas, nicotiana, oriental lilies, phlox, plantain lily (hosta) geraniums, honey suckle, hydrangeas, calla lilies, canas, yucca, dahlias, asters, irises and jasmine to infuse the air with delightful aromas.
Fall White Flowers and Scents:
Chrysanthemums, dahlias, geraniums, petunias, impatiens and Ornamental grasses.
Blue, White and Silver Foliage:
White Birch, Lamium, Japanese painted ferns, Ornamental grasses, Variegated euonymus, Dusty miller, Variegated and blue hostas, Lamb's years, variegated ground elder (invasive in some places) Brunnera (bugloss).
For a soothing sound that will make people stay a while and smell the roses:
I added a small water fountain. Not a huge fountain, but enough that people came around the garden to see what was running. Kids love it.
Moon Garden Maintenance:
I maintain my Moon Garden the same as the rest of my garden.
However, I do have my Moon Garden in my front yard, so I try a little harder to keep it neat and tidy.
Reducing landscaping maintenance:
- Apply a generous layer of mulch to keep weeds down and reduce watering needs.
- Keep up with yard maintenance by doing a little bit at a time like - dead-heading.
- Don't struggle with weedy lawns under trees - plant shade-loving plants instead.
- Minimize fall leaf-raking chores by planting small-leaf trees like Japanese maples, silver birch.
- Plant slow growing trees and shrubs to reduce pruning chores.
- Choose disease and insect resistant plants to reduce pest control problems.
Here's a list of plants commonly used in moon gardens:
Moonflower (Ipomoea alba):This vine produces large, fragrant trumpet white flowers that open at night, releasing a sweet scent.
Night-Blooming Jasmine (Cestrum nocturnum):With its intensely fragrant, small white flowers, this plant is a must-have for moon gardens. It's a house plant for me in the wintertime.
White Scented Roses:They sparkle in the moonlight.
Lamb's Ear (Stachys byzantina):This plant's silver-gray, fuzzy leaves create a unique texture in the garden.
Mock Orange (Philadelphus):This small shrub with blue-gray green leaves and fragrant white flower, makes a good addition to a "Moon Garden".
Sweet Alyssum (Lobularia maritima):These low-growing plants produce small clusters of scented white flowers.
Phlox:White-flowering perennial adds height and fragrance to your moon garden.
Nicotiana (Nicotiana alata):Also known as flowering tobacco, this plant produces tubular, fragrant flowers that attract moths at night and hummingbirds during the day.
Brunnera 'Jack Frost':Known for its heart-shaped silver leaves. Flowers are blue.
Dianthus - Pinks - Carnations:A variety of single to double fragrant flowers in grey-green leaves. Blooms in summer.
GardeniaCreamy white, 2" - 3" intensely sweet fragrant flowers. Zone 8-9.
Hosta (plantain lily):Plantain lily, holds 6" sweetly fragrant white trumpets 2 feet above 8" light green leaves. Blooms in August.
Hosta 'Halcyon':With its blue-green foliage, this hosta variety adds a calming hue to your moon garden.
White Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea 'White Swan'):A white-flowered version of the traditional coneflower, it can attract night-flying insects and butterflies during the day.
Japanese Painted Fern (Athyrium niponicum var. pictum):The silver-gray foliage of this fern can add an extra dimension to the night garden..
Baby's Breath (Gypsophila paniculata):Delicate sprays of small white flowers are good fillers for hanging baskets.
Regal lily:Bears fragrant white flowers on majestic 4'- 6' stalks in summer. Casa Blanca oriental lily is also white and very fragrant.
White Hydrangeas:Varieties like 'Annabelle' with their large, long lasting white blooms can add elegance and charm.
Questions and Answers:
Ques: Which flowers are the most fragrant at night for a "Moon Garden"?
Ans: I like Moonflower Vine, Brugmansia, Nicotiana, Honeysuckle, plantain lily (hosta), Gardenia and Jasmine.
Ques: What is a moon garden?
Ans: A moon garden is a type of garden that is especially designed to be enjoy in the evening when the silver and white colours shimmer in the moonlight.
Ques: What are some common plants found in a moon garden?
Ans: Common plants found in moon gardens include white flowers like moonflower vines, jasmine, white roses, lilies, Nicotiana, Honeysuckle, Lilacs, Brugmansia, Variegated hosts, Blue Silver and variegated-foliage plants such as lamb's ear, Lamium, variegated and blue grasses, hostas, Japanese painted ferns and dusty miller, as they sparkle in the moonlight.
Ques: What other elements can be included in a moon garden besides plants?
Ans: In my "Moon garden" I incorporated a water fountain and subtle lighting.
Ques: How do I maintain a moon garden?
Ans: Moon gardens generally require the same care as regular gardens. The only thing that I did differently is I used more scented flowers around the night seating area.
Ques: Can moon gardens attract nocturnal wildlife?
Ans: Yes, moon gardens can attract various creatures like fireflies, bats, moths and certain types of pollinating insects.
Ques: Is a moon garden high maintenance?
Ans: No. A moon garden is a white garden with emphasis on fragrant white flowers.