A moon garden transforms an everyday backyard into a magical retreat after sunset. With our busy modern lifestyle, we have little personal time for our hobbies. Nowadays many garden tasks are performed in the cooler hours after work and after dinner when the sun is going down. After dark a landscape full of greenery is overcome by shadows, turning a regular backyard into a creepy jungle. Light and colorful flowers and bright foliage are ideal for moon gardens. White, yellow, lime green, and light purple stand out after dark seemingly floating in the air.
Although moon gardens are perfect for suburban gardeners, they are not a recent invention. It’s doubtful that early Americans would have considered the white roses trailing over the front porch a moon garden, but it is likely that they admired the glowing effect of the white flowers as they sat on the front porch watching the sun set and the moon rise.
Pollination is normally associated with daytime flyers like humming birds, butterflies, and bees, but after the sun sets another group of pollinators takes flight–moths. Almost all moths are nocturnal and carry out their pollination at night. Many very common and valuable plants including, tobacco, bananas, and papayas are pollinated by nocturnal moths.
One of the most common, yet impressive, nighttime moths is the hummingbird moth, also called the sphinx moth. These large moths are very easy to identify by their thick furry bodies as they hover in front of flowers sipping nectar through their long straw-like tongues. Nighttime pollinators prefer light-colored flowers that are the last to fade into the dark. Tubular flowers are well suited to pollination by moths. Here are a few nighttime favorites. Many of these plants are especially fragrant at night.
ngel Trumpets Brugmansia
Evening primrose Oenothera biennis
Night blooming Jasmine Cestrum Nocturnum
Moon Flowers Ipomoea alba
Sweet Potato Vine
Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow Brunfelsia
A successful moon garden can be achieved easily by adding a few of these attractive plants to the garden. Even in pots, these plants will add nighttime interest to the garden. For full enjoyment, a moon garden must have comfortable seating for the gardener and guests to relax. To take a moon garden to the next level, landscape with lighting, torches, or jar candles, depending on the budget. A small water feature can reflect the plants and wrap the evening in the soothing sound of running water. When you plan ahead with night blooming plants, your garden will be at its most beautiful when you have time to enjoy it.