Plant a Moon Garden

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Bright, sunny summer gardens are what we all dream about through the dark days of winter. But some plants are at their best after the sun goes down. A garden created to be viewed by the light of the moon can be full of mystery and romance, a wonderful place to bring guests or to enjoy alone at the end of a long day. Here are some ideas on what you might plant to make your own dreamy moon garden.

Plants That “Glow” in the Dark

Plants with silvery leaves reflect moonlight or landscape lighting in a way that’s both elegant and ethereal. Double the effect by growing them in light-colored containers or sprinkling the plantings in between light wood features (such as screens and benches), small sculptures and paving stones in marble or faux marble, solar-powered accent lights and fairy lights.
Here are plants with shimmering foliage that would look great in such a dusky setting:
Senecio cineraria, Dusty Miller Festuca glauca, Blue fescue ornamental grass Artemisia schmidtiana, Silver mound Stachys lanata, Lamb's ears plant
Dusty Miller Blue Fescue Artemisia Lambs’ Ears

Flowers That Open at Night

Some flowers only show their true colors at night. You’ll have to wait until the sun goes down to see these moon garden beauties. An added benefit: this sort of plant attracts and feeds nocturnal pollinators like moths, beetles, and even bats.
Evening prirose flowers Ipomoea alba, Moonflower Night blooming cereus cactus
Evening Primrose Night Blooming Jasmine Moonflower Night Blooming Cereus

Plants for a Midsummer’s Night

Perhaps the most famous moon garden belonged to Titania, queen of the fairies and leading lady in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer’s Night Dream. Here’s Titania’s husband Oberon, the fairy prince, describing it in one of the most oft-quoted passages from that play:
“I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,
Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows,
Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,
With sweet musk-roses and with eglantine:
There sleeps Titania sometime of the night,
Lulled in these flowers with dances and delight.”
(Act 2 Scene 1)
Here are the plants you can use to create a dreamy midsummer’s night garden for holding your own fairy “dances and delight.”
Primula elatior, Oxlips plant Thymus, Wild thyme, creeping thyme Streptocarpus, Nodding violet
Oxlips (a type of primrose) Wild Thyme (creeping thyme) Nodding Violet
Lonicera periclymenum, woodbine, honeysuckle
Woodbine (a type of honeysuckle) Musk-rose (Rosa moschata) Eglatine (Sweet briar)
Note: Eglantine, also known as “sweet briar,” is considered an invasive weed. You can use climbing roses to reproduce the look of sweet briar without the unmanageable qualities of sweet briar.

It’s not just the right plants that make a moon garden magical—you need the right lighting as well. Check out our guide on how to pick the perfect lighting for your landscape design.


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