The Magic of Moonlight Gardens

Recently I’ve been obsessively reading the “Graveyard Queen” series by Amanda Stevens, getting utterly lost in the eerie, evocative settings and the lives of the characters. Protagonist Amelia Gray is a cemetery restorer who can see ghosts, which makes for some bone-chilling and bittersweet moments. I’m hooked. One of my favourite details is that Amelia has planted a moonlight garden in her yard, and often sits outside drinking in the silvery light and dusky fragrances – until a ghost shows up, anyway.

While I’d prefer to enjoy a ghost-free moonlight garden, I hadn’t heard of this before and found the idea really intriguing. A moonlight garden is a place full of night-blooming and light, silvery plants, so that it comes to life in the dark, reflecting the glow of the moonlight. Doesn’t that sound wonderful?

I’m determined to someday plant a moonlight garden, and luckily there seems to be lots of suggestions online for which plants are ideal for soaking up moonbeams and thriving at night. Though white or silvery grey leaves and flowers are quite suitable for adding a bit of glow under the glaze of the moon, they aren’t the only plants to bring a bit of magic to the nighttime garden. Soft colours like lavender, buttery yellow, and shades of pale pink are also ideal.

Photo credit: jochenspieker via Visualhunt / CC BY-SA

Textures are just as important as colours for capturing the moonlight. Plants with different shaped leaves will provide a contrast, as well as plants in various heights. Foxgloves and snapdragons both grow tall enough to add some contrast against low-growing plants like snow-in-summer blossoms. I also love the idea of planting cream climbing against a white trellis.

Lots of plants also release their fragrance in the evening, making them ideal for adding some more sensory appeal to the moonlight garden. Angel’s trumpet, night jasmine, and night phlox are a few examples, and each of them are quite pretty as well.

Extra landscaping touches such as white paving stones or a pool of water can add to the garden’s ability to capture moonlight as well. Mina Edison had a moonlight garden with a rectangular pool in the centre, and one can even visit it at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates.

I think I’d prefer the white stones over a pool of water in order to discourage mosquitoes, but both sound lovely. Some gardens have statues in them, too, but after reading so many ghost stories, I can too easily imagine catching a glimpse of a glowing white silhouette and having a momentary heart attack, before remembering the presence of a statue. Besides, those are expensive!

So now you know the new dream on my list: planting a moonlight garden so I can sit outside and sip chamomile tea and soak up plenty of beauty – and hopefully inspiration. I’d like to write outside then, too, but I suppose the cold light of a laptop would ruin the effect. Anyone have a moonlight garden already? Do tell in the comments!


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