For those who want to “live” their garden 24 hours a day, there are Moonlight Gardens, which are beautiful by night as well. Are you curious to find out which species are suitable for them? Here’s a brief, even though not complete, guide on choosing them.
When you decide on the varieties to use in your moonlight garden you should, compatibly with the climatic zone and orientation, seeing that many of them love the sun, essentially choose four types, between herbaceous plants, bushes, climbers and ground-cover plants:
1. night-blooming plants
2. plants with silver, grey or variegated leaves, which reflect the moonlight
3. varieties with white or iridescent flowers, visible at night for the same reason
4. varieties that are particularly scented
Amongst the plants that bloom at night it is impossible not to mention the four o’clock flower (Mirabilis jalapa), a reasonably hardy, bushy, herbaceous plant with colourful, highly scented, trumpet-shape flowers that open at dusk. Silene noctiflora, a small herbaceous plant, will also perfume your nights with its blossom, while Nicotiana noctiflora, Brugmansia arborea, Cestrum nocturnum, Ipomoea alba and Mandevilla bianca (these latter are climbers) will brighten them with their wonderful flowers.
Silver plants that reflect the moonlight
As far as silver foliage or white-variegated leaves are concerned, you can opt for bushes of variegated Cornelian cherry or hedges of variegated spindle tree, for the ornamental heads of African fountain grass or for Plectranthus forsteri “marginatus” (Swedish ivy) together with some varieties of Carex, to mix with Hosta albomarginata and Crispula, with bright-green edged leaves and lilac flowers, as well as the wonderful Brunnera macrophylla “Jack Frost”, which in spring will also give you beautiful little blue flowers, that look just like forget-me-nots.
White flowers that are visible at night
The white flowers of Oenothera caespitosa, Actaea and Astilbe will be able to fill your moonlit nights, alongside the candour of Viburnum carlesii and V. opulus and the delicate blossoms of peonies and roses, angelonia and bearded iris.
Varieties that are particularly scented and other tips
Talking of fragrances, another simple tip to get you started is to edge paths and walkways with plenty of aromatic plants, even if they aren’t particularly visible in the dark, such as thyme, mint, lavender cotton and citronella, so that, as you brush past them in the evening, they can give off their aromas and perfume the air.
Little water features and paths of white gravel could also add interesting sound effects to the experience in this original summer moonlight garden that, as the darkness your our senses, highlights the interest in sounds and aromas and lets you contemplate the subtle reflections of flowers and leaves while sitting on a small comfortable bench, which should never be lacking in this kind of garden.
Photos: halfrain, Patrick Standish, badthings