Print this page

Moon Garden

Question:

I am wondering if you' have ever planted a moon garden? If so, what plants do you suggest that will best reflect the light of a full moon? Lewisburg, TN (zone 6B)

Answer:

I do have a moon or as I call it, evening garden. My evening garden came about in a rather haphazard way. After I moved into my house and began spending time in my garden I realized the need for plants that come into their own after the sun sets. I found myself spending a great deal of time relaxing or entertaining in the garden in the evening and at night and so began adding plants to enrich the experience.

To begin I just followed the same principle that applies to a shady area – use pale colors and whites to brighten. I've also found that silver–gray and variegated foliaged plants to be nice in the evening garden. These light colors sparkle in the moonlight.

Then I added flowers that only open after dark, or only release their fragrance at night. Certain plants do this to attract night pollinators such as moths and bats.

Here's a list of plants that will bring your evening garden to life.

Foliage for an Evening Garden:
Licorice Plant (Helichrysum petiolare) – Silver–gray foliage; perennial; zones 7 – 10 depending on species and variety
Lamb's Ear 'Helen von Stein' (Stachys byzantina) – Silver–gray, wooly, large leaves; perennial; zones 4 – 8
Dusty Miller (Senecio cineraria) – Silver–gray, low growing, upright foliage; annual; zones 8 – 10
Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) – Light gray foliage; fresh scent; perennial; zones 5 – 8
Variegated Ribbon Grass (Phalaris arundinacea variegata) – White and green variegated foliage; try the variety 'Strawberries and Cream' for the hint of pink in the foliage; perennial; zones 4 – 9
Artemisia 'Silver Queen' (Artemisia ludoviciana) – Silver–gray foliage; fresh scent; perennial; zones 4 – 9
Sweet Potato Vine 'Margarita' (Ipomea batatas) – Chartreuse foliage; annual vine/groundcover; zones 9 – 11
Hosta 'Sun Power' – Translucent yellow–green leaves; perennial; zones 3 – 10
Mexican Feather Grass (Stipa tenuissima) – Thin, bright green foliage and pale, feathery plums reflect light and add movement; tender perennial; zone 9.

Blooms for an Evening Garden:
Flowering Tobacco (Nicotiana alata) – Small, white, tubular blooms that open at dusk emitting a strong, jasmine like fragrance; short lived perennials grown as an annual; zones 10 – 11
Moonflower (Ipomoea alba) – Large, white blooms on a vining plant with heart shaped leaves; lightly perfumed; blooms only at night; annual; zones 9 – 11
Angel's Trumpet (Brugmansia) – Large trumpets hang down from this fast growing tropical plant; highly fragrant; white, peach or yellow blooms; tropical grown as an annual, zones 9 –11
Four O'Clocks (Mirabilis jalapa) – Fragrant medium sized flowers; true to its name blooms open late afternoon; annual; zones 8 – 11
Night Blooming Jessamine (Cestrum nocturnum) – Tropical shrub; indistinct white flowers that open at night; very strong fragrance that can be overpowering if planted too close to open windows, porches or patios; tropical grown as an annual, zones 8 – 9
Oriental Lily 'Casa Blanca' – Big, beautiful, pure white blooms; sweet fragrance; perennial bulb; zones 4 – 8
Foam Flower (Tiarella) – North American native plant; spires of puffy white, fragrant flowers; 'Iron Butterfly' is a particularly nice variety because of its dramatic black striped foliage; perennial; zones 5 – 10
Sweet Autumn Clematis (Clematis paniculata) – Delicate, highly fragrant white blooms in late summer or early autumn; perennial vine; zones 4 – 9