Attention all gardeners. As you plan 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 big or as small as you want it to be. Whatever the size, make sure it is defined by mainly white and silver flowers and plants that come to life under the moonlight.
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Choose a location
Start by choosing a location for your moon garden. Make sure it’s somewhere you’re likely to spend time. It can be adjacent to a porch or patio or a sitting area that is secluded from the activity of the house.
Because the whole idea is to revolve around the moon, spend a few nights walking around the garden when the moon is high in the sky. Look for a spot that receives prime moonlight and look for areas that are shadowed by the light. Likewise, make sure your plants will have adequate sunlight during daylight hours. Typically, they will need a minimum of six hours of direct sunlight.
Add low lighting
If you have a path, light it with solar LED lights. For the seating area, lean into fancy fairy lights or string lights. You can also put lights on your favorite plants to make them a feature.
Go for flavors
The sweet scent of flowers is part of the allure of your moon garden, so be sure to incorporate some that leave a honey-like scent in the air.
Choose colors carefully
Your moon garden will consist mainly of clusters of white flowers. Plant them in clusters that make a statement. If they are too scattered, they will not make the desired impact. Also, 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 work equally well to reflect the moonlight.
Bring in variety
Just like your day garden, your moon garden will benefit from a variety of plant sizes, shapes, heights and textures. Combine the soft silver leaves of Lamb’s ear or Silver Sage with the height of a Japanese dogwood tree. Then mix in some shrubs. When picking flowers, stock up on both small and large flowers to enjoy.
Plant for the seasons
Depending on where you live, a moon garden can be a space for three or even four seasons. Plan ahead so you can enjoy flowers in every season. For example, snow-in-summer is a good choice for early summer, as it flowers in May and June. On the other hand, you can see Sweet Autumn Clematis blooming in August and September. Also create plantings that bloom throughout the year.
Provide for the pollinators
We all benefit from pollinators and if you spend any time in your day garden, you probably see butterflies and bees at work. But there are plenty of nocturnal pollinators who would also enjoy some nectar. Accommodate moths, native bees and bats with a variety of flowers that will benefit them.
Give to your hardiness zone
You can spend hours researching the best flowers to reflect the light of the moon, but if they’re not rated for your USDA hardiness zone, you’ll struggle to keep them alive, let alone thrive. Start by locating the hardiness zone where you live and choose plants that suit it.
Sketch the scene
In addition to choosing a location and plants, you can decorate to create an atmosphere that attracts you. For example, make sure there is seating with a bench or chairs. Highlight your flower bed with viewing 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
Although it’s a relaxing place where you can forget about the ‘to do’ list for a bit, your moon garden will need a little maintenance every now and then. Plan to kill spent flowers, set up a regular watering system and give your plants some additional nutrients as needed. Also, make a note on the calendar to fill in bulbs a few months before they are expected to flower.
Some moon garden plant suggestions
After you’ve established your hardiness zone, choose plants that 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, so something like Clematis or Climbing White Hydrangea can creep into the house or pergola. Calla Lilies, White Lilacs and White Lupine can fill the space in front. Remember to layer bulbs such as white daffodils, tulips, snowdrops and summer snowflakes for unique blooms.
Via Gardening Know How, The Spruce, Family Handyman, Veranda, Almanac.com
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