Plant a Moon Garden
By Jodi Torpey
Summer is so fleeting, it makes sense to get as much enjoyment as you can from your garden. One way to do that is to expand visiting hours by planting a moon garden you can enjoy after the sun goes down. Nighttime pollinators just might join you.
All you have to do is fill your planting space with flowers that seem to glow in the dark. These are the plants that either remain open past sunset or those that bloom only at night.
When plant shopping, look for flowers that are white or nearly white. For example white petunias take on a lovely glow after dark. Place containers filled with white Supertunias around the patio and keep them watered and fertilized for a season of spectacular blooms. These large white flowers don’t need deadheading and their trailing habit lets them cascade over the sides of containers or hanging baskets.
Plant alyssum near the seating area for twice the impact in the evening garden. Not only do the small white flowers show up, they’re more fragrant in the cool night air.
Dusty miller is another good annual for the moon garden. Be sure to plant masses of these close to where you’ll be able to enjoy them the most.
White daisies, especially the annual African daisies, have long-lasting blooms that sit high above the dark green foliage so the flowers look like they’re floating in air. Make sure to plant these in sets of 3 or 5 for continuous blooming.
Other flowers that bloom past sunset also create special effects in the moon garden. The key is to make sure the plants receive adequate sun during the day so they can shine at night.
Flowering Tobacco was a National Gardening Bureau flower of the year because it’s perfect for the evening garden. Tall plants can grow to 5 feet and are noted for their fragrant tubular flowers that open at dusk. Flowering tobacco grows best in full sun and planted in well-drained soil.
Another must-have for the moon garden is moonflower, a morning glory relative with white flowers that open only at night. Its large blooms grow on long vines that have heart-shaped leaves. Moonflower is a fragrant addition to the late night garden so plant this annual close to where people like to congregate.
Be sure to add some ornamental grasses to the moon garden. There are a number of Japanese variegated ornamental grasses that have long delicate green and white foliage that show off in the dark, especially when lit by low-level landscape lighting. For the most dramatic effect, plant in groups so when breezes blow the grasses practically glimmer.