One of the dreamiest landscaping trends to take off in 2021 were Moon Gardens. Also known as ‘Night Gardens’, they comprise of a monochromatic assortment of white- and/or pale-coloured flowering plants and plants with white or variegated foliage, which reflect the light of the moon. The concept is to create a calm and ethereal space that not only stands out against the dark night sky but also offers a unique sensory experience. By creating one, Moon Gardens also offer their owners a whole new way to experience and enjoy the landscape long after the sun has set, including being able to entertain guests in the romantic setting that it creates.
Designing a Moon Garden begins with establishing the location. In order for it to work most effectively, keep away from artificial light polluted areas, such as near or under street lamps and backyard floodlights. In addition, choose a secluded space that is not overhung with broad trees or patios, so that the natural glow of the moon can permeate. Moon Gardens often grace the outer edges of a decked or paved area, drawing visitors out into the open air to enjoy a peaceful setting underneath the lunar rays.
Beyond just adopting a silver and white colour palette, some of the best Moon Gardens include plants that bloom at nighttime, attracting nocturnal pollinators such as bats and moths. Others still include fragrant plants which add to the garden’s fairy tale-like appeal. Be sure to also choose a variety of plants that flower at different times of the year so you can enjoy the lunar experience throughout all the seasons.
Opting for one colour – a sea of white flowers – creates a much bigger impact and has a better chance of being seen at night. Use Choisya ternata Moonshine, Gardenia Jupiter PBR and Rhaphiolepsis indica alba to create low, sweet-smelling hedges that wrap around garden paths, inviting your guests to wander in the moonlight.
For those tight on space, white flowering pot plants work just as well in creating a moonlit scene within a courtyard setting. Choose tightly packed, mounding plants such as Argyranthemum Super Duper PBR, Calibrachoa Bouquet White PBR, Petunia Dreams White and Vinca White. Similarly, white flowering climbers can help to maximise a tight space, such as Pandorea jasminoides Lady Di or Stephanotis floribunda.
And don’t forget to look up! Keep the white flowering theme reaching skywards, by incorporating small to medium sized trees into your garden with sizeable blooms such as Bauhinia variegata alba, Lagerstroemia indica Natchez and Magnolia Little Gem.
In addition to flowers, foliage can also reflect moonbeams. They make excellent additions to the garden as they are typically less maintenance than their flowering cousins. Select plants with white or piebald leaves such as Hypoestes Splash White and Dianella hybrid variegated. Alternatively, choose plants with softer silvery foliage that will still stand out under moonlight, such as Cotyledon Silver Waves, Maireana Silver Ghost PBR and Stachys Moonlight.
Depending on what you are trying to achieve, the ambience of your Moon Garden can also benefit from incorporating light-coloured hardscapes such as pavers or pebbles, decorative garden ornaments made of reflective materials or glass, and a gentle trickling water feature.
As a general rule of thumb, err on the side of caution when incorporating artificial light into your Moon Garden, taking a minimalist approach with tiny string lighting or a handful of low solar lights on stakes. Consider adding only what is necessary in order to navigate the space, rather than overpower the effect of soft moon beams.