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A Garden Bathed in New Light

by Carole McCray

There is the garden to be enjoyed beyond the daylight hours.  Known as a moon garden, it can transform a small space into an enchanting, magical spot.  Plants in a moonlight or all white garden often have a sweet fragrance.  This adds to the pleasure of being in the garden and catching the scents from a soft evening breeze. For a great selection of moon garden plants, consult the experts at your Growise Center.


Before you plant, consider location.  It should be a relaxing spot with privacy where you can enjoy the garden at twilight.  Most likely it already exists, and you are unaware of it—an area behind a garage or tool shed, a spot at the side of the yard, or next to the patio or deck, where you might be in the evening.

The moonlight garden can have a variety of shapes.   Shapes to consider are round like a full moon or crescent-shaped like the new moon, or a combination of the two—a round bed and flanked on each side of it, add a crescent-shaped bed.


·        Annuals can lend white touches to the moonlight garden.  Cosmos, larkspur, foxglove, morning glory, pansy, petunia, snapdragon, geranium, sweet alyssum, California poppy and impatiens are all good choices.

·        Bulbs can be planted around perennials.  Hardy bulbs like crocus, tulip, narcissus and hyacinth in shades of white will have your garden off to an early bloom in the spring. Plant iris, gladiolus, dahlia and tuberous begonia for white color later in the season.  Check your climate zone.  Some bulbs should be dug up in the fall and stored if you live in a cold climate.   They can be replanted the following spring.

·        Include white-flowering perennials like candytuft, clematis, delphinium, garden phlox, lupine and sweet woodruff.

·        Fragrant plants can add to the pleasure of the garden.  Learn the different scents of the plants so they blend well.  Plant them at different ends of the garden and for varying times of bloom so fragrances do not compete.   Fragrant plants are dame’s rocket, lily of the valley, meadowsweet, flowering tobacco, moonflower and night phlox.   The latter three are annuals.  Consider roses for fragrance and white in the garden.

·        Foliage can add interest to the moon garden with varying leaf textures and shapes. Some silver-foliaged plants to shimmer at night are artemesia, curry plant, lamb’s ears, white lamium, sage, santolina, nutmeg scented geranium and silver thyme.  They will “light up” a garden path or a walkway.

·        Shrubs and trees can be part of the moon garden.  Mock orange, bridalwreath spirea, weeping silver pear, white dogwood or white rhododendron are lovely backdrops in the garden.


Your moon garden is its loveliest when basking in moonlight.  However, there are other methods to light up plants and trees and highlight their white flowers.  To determine how much light is needed, use a flashlight.  Go outdoors, and with the help of another person shine flashlights on different spots and at different angles.  Lights can be placed on the ground, in treetops, hung from a roof or from tree branches. 

White or light-colored garden ornaments are more visible than dark-colored ones in a moon garden.   Gray statuary, a silver sundial, a white trellis, a silver wind chime, white or gray garden urns and white or gray stones or gravel can be added for drama.  Add a garden bench, weathered to a soft gray, where you can end the day and catch the sweet scents of the moon garden plants.  These decorative features will catch and reflect the moon’s light or light from any installed lighting.

Water has a calming effect.  A small pond or water garden tub with floating water lilies, a soothing fountain, or a charming birdbath could be the final touch to your moon garden.  Find many finishing touches at your Growise Center.

In a moon garden, plants appearing ordinary by day come alive as the darkness of night descends.  Transformed, they glow, shimmer and shine in the moonlight.

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