Did you know that with a clever arrangement of certain flowers and plants, you can have a beautiful display that will provide a visual feast and delight your senses–even during the middle of the night? Creating a moon garden does exactly that!
What is it? It’s a section of your yard, patio or deck that features an arrangement of assorted plant life featuring white blooms and/or silver frosted or variegated leaves. When the sun goes down and the moon shines bright, they will reflect the light giving you an evening display that’s just as pretty during the day! But don’t worry, this clever oasis isn’t dependent on moonlit nights–it will still display impressively in low light conditions or with artificial light (for example: patio lights, hanging lanterns, streetlights and light from the house).
Here are a few tips and ideas to help you get started…
- Choose a location that you can parcel off a corner just for your arrangement (works well on a deck too). It can be as large or small as you wish, but the more plants you position together, the more impressive the display will be.
- Make sure to select a spot that is somewhat open and able to receive light (from the moon and artificial light). Careful about picking a place too far out of the way or along a cluttered trail, you’re trying to create a relaxing, serene area–one that won’t break your neck trying to get to in the dark of night ;).
- Consider arranging around a seating area so you can sit in the midst of the display to relax and enjoy the full effect (an outdoor bench or chair will do). A little table to hold your cup of tea will be appreciated as well.
- You can plant directly in the ground or make a container display–or try a mix of both! Attention apartment dwellers: Moon gardens aren’t just for home owners! You can easily create a display on your balcony using the container method.
- Select flowers that are all white or have a bright white portion in the bloom. The light will bounce off the white and make a spectacular nighttime show. Make sure to include some with dark green leaves and in the dark of night, the blossoms will appear to be magically hovering in air (you’ll find a list of suggestions/ideas below).
- Flowers aren’t the only ones that will be impressive, look for plants that feature a variegated leaf (like some hosta varieties), their glowing white stripes will add some interest to the display.
- White isn’t your only option, mix in a few with silver-leaves (including herbs) or pale pastel colored blossoms–they’ll also put on a show for you at low light.
- Make sure to choose a variety that grow in different heights and arrange them closely together, selecting both groundcovers and various stem lengths–this will create layers of a small wall full of glowing blooms and leaves.
- Choose blooms in all sizes, don’t dismiss the tiny varieties–they can look like a shimmering spray at night.
- Consider adding those that grow vertically on a trellis or cascade luxuriously in a hanging basket, quite a stunning display!
- When using pots, containers and trellises, use those that are dark in color so that they will blend in with the night–your plants will give the illusion of floating in air!
- If you have the space, try adding a small water feature tucked inside your arrangement, it doesn’t have to be elaborate but the water looks so beautiful at night surrounded by glowing plant life. The peaceful sound of trickling water adds something special to your magical spot, a perfect way to enjoy the evening and end the day. You can make one yourself, you’ll find a few DIY ideas on this page .
- If you don’t have much success with artificial lighting from the house, try experimenting positions and angles with outdoor hanging lights to ensure a spectacular display night after night. No matter what clouds are overhead or where the moon is hiding, you can enjoy your little space each night. You can also enhance the decor and serenity with DIY lanterns & lights …there’s no limit to what you can do!
If you can’t afford the extra room to make a little nook for yourself, consider covering a gate with a selection of flowering vines and hanging bags…or make a small, creative container display somewhere in the yard that you can enjoy while sitting outside on your deck. An old wheelbarrow in the corner of the yard bursting with white blossoms or a few hanging boxes along the fence spilling with loads of blooms can still offer a pretty display. See this page  for some DIY container ideas.
You’ll find many flowers and plants that work well in a moon garden are very fragrant, not only giving your eyes a delightful feast, but your nose too :).
Take advantage of flowering vines, shrubs & trees that you already have around your home (like blooming jasmine and gardenias), you can position your arrangement near them (remembering to choose a not-too sheltered location so that the light will still reach it). Some that work well:
- Angel’s Trumpet
- White Impatiens
- Variegated Plants that feature a white stripe (like hostas)
- White Dill
- Dusty Miller
- Salvia (Silver Sage)
- White Nicotiana
- Sweet William Flowers
For an extensive list that offers suggestions, see this page on GardenWeb . Plenty of inspiration to get you started!
Creating a nighttime nook doesn’t replace a regular flower garden that spoils us with its gorgeous display of color, it’s in addition to it so you can enjoy the beauty and benefits of the growing season all day and night!