Night Gardens: Shine at Moon Time

While all gardens have their charms, there’s something particularly magical about moon gardens — gardens designed to be enjoyed at night. Even their names suggest enchantment.

Moon gardens are meant to be a sensory experience. During your time in one, you can take in the beauty of white and pale flowers and plants that reflect the glow of the moon and contrast sharply against the night sky. You can smell sweet, fragrant blooms and enjoy the nocturnal pollinators, from moths to certain species of bees, that they attract.

People with moon gardens describe them as relaxing, meditative, and rejuvenating.

If the idea of an outdoor refuge that comes to life after the sun sets appeals to you, we have some suggestions that can help you create a moon garden of your own.

Night Garden | Vego Garden

Initial decisions

One of the first steps you should take as you design your moon garden is selecting its location. Ideally, you should aim for a spot that receives ample moonlight during the night. In the Northern Hemisphere, south-facing areas tend to receive more direct moonlight, while in the Southern Hemisphere, north-facing locations are ideal.

If possible, place your moon garden near living spaces, such as patios or seating areas, so you can enjoy the garden’s magical atmosphere during the evening. 

You also should give some thought to soil quality and drainage. Most plants in a moon garden prefer well-draining soil, so make sure the location you’re considering meets these requirements. To test if you have well-draining soil, dig a hole, fill it with water, and observe. If the water drains away within an hour or two, leaving the soil moist but not soggy, you likely have well-draining soil.

Remember that the plants in your moon garden may grow over time. You’ll want to give them space to spread and expand, which in turn, will ensure that your garden maintains a balanced and visually appealing composition.

Picking your plants

Night Garden Moon Flower | Vego Garden

Once you know where you’ll be establishing your garden, it will be easier to make your flower and plant decisions. 

Keep in mind that even though you’re creating a garden to enjoy at night, the plants there will still need sunlight. Consider how much direct sun and shade your garden will get and select plants that will like your garden’s conditions.

And, as with any garden, we strongly recommend selecting plants that will do well in your region. You can consult with your county extension agent — or, if you’re already leaning toward certain white, pale, or fragrant plants, do a bit of research on what zones they thrive in before you buy them.

Generally, a moon garden will comprise white or pale plants and flowers, plants with reflective leaves, some fragrant flowers, and plants that attract night-time pollinators. Based on those factors, here are a few of the many options available to you:

  • Moonflower: A classic choice for night gardens, these large, white, fragrant flowers open in the evening.
  • Night-Blooming Jasmine: Featuring small white flowers, night-blooming jasmine releases its scent in the evening.
  • Lamb's Ears: Known for their fuzzy, silver-gray leaves, lamb's ears can add a unique texture to your garden, and their foliage reflects moonlight.
  • Frogfruit: A ground cover with small, white flowers, frogfruit is known for its resilience and ability to attract pollinators.
  • Yucca: Yucca plants, with their spiky, architectural form and white flower spikes, would contribute to your moon garden's structure. These plants bloom in the evening.

For moonless nights 

Night Garden | Vego Garden

Of course, the moon won’t always cooperate with your plans to enjoy your garden. To prepare for that likelihood, we suggest adding supplemental lighting. 

Aim for something subtle: Solar lights, string lights, candles, and lanterns all provide nice touches and won’t overwhelm the moon on the nights it does make an appearance.

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