Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Moonlight Garden

A garden that glows in the dark and sparkles under the light of the moon is called a moonlight garden. Last year, the white petunias in Lola's Garden looked like giant stars gazing at the moon. It was like the stars have fallen from the sky and floated just above the ground. And like the unseen orchestra in a Broadway show, the Alyssum and the Nicotiana added drama and suspense by filling the air not with music, but with their sweet and intoxicating scent. I wished I could have fetch up a tent and sleep under the moon.

It was around nine thirty in the evening, when I took the picture of a Hosta and a Cerastium, to illustrate the reflective properties of the color white under a moonless sky. White flowering plants are the principal players in a moonlight garden. Some plants with variegated foliage like the Hosta Patriot also plays a minor role. The Cerastium or Snow in Summer is a creeping perennial with silvery leaves and sprigs of white flowers. Spokane is Zone 5 and Snow in Summer blooms in spring. The mound of silvery leaves that covers the matted base is probably where it got its common name. It is a beautiful plant for rock gardens and retaining walls and although the plant is invasive, the massive growth is easy to control with a shear. With Cerastium and Alyssum creeping around the pavers, the edge of the patio looked much softer and cooler to my eyes.

Sweet William, a fragrant biennial, also spiced up and sweetened the atmosphere of Lola's moonlight garden. The white flowers in this group are the only one that sparkles at night. The rest disappears in the dark. Sweet William doesn't produce flowers the first year and the plant or seedlings are not readily available. Nicotiana is an annual but the plant is also hard to find. However, both plants are easy to start from seed. Alyssum is one of my favorite annual. Very easy to grow, low maintenance, cheap and it happily reseed itself year after year.

Moonflower, a relative of Morning Glory, sounds like the perfect vine for a moonlight garden. "White blooms that are 5-6 inches across", "blooms in the evening after the sun goes down", and "the fragrance is lovely and unforgettable". Ipomoea Alba is definitely a must have for Lola's moonlight garden.

The seed had a very hard shell that requires soaking, or cracking to germinate. I started it very early in the greenhouse. Two out of six germinated. Before it was planted outside, the seedlings where transplanted in a gallon pot where it grew into two very healthy plants. But once it was outside it took forever to start growing again. In fact it didn't resumed growing until the end of July. The hot days and warm nights of the summer months really made the vine grew very fast, and it started producing a lot of buds in late August. September came, and still no blooms. Then the first killing frost arrived. It was a total bust.

As for the design, I personally don't bother. I have no desire to make my garden look like a secret landing for UFOs. Or anything that look like a Leo is trying too hard. I'm contented just knowing that under the moonlight, the fragrant flowers and the white blooms in Lola's garden are enchanting enough to touch my heart and go dancing in the dark.


  1. I love the photo and nice explanation of your beautiful flowers.


  2. Love the posts! I have an award for you - stop by to pick it up :)

  3. The photos are beautiful and thank you for the information. I have never thought to look at my garden under the moonlight but I will now.
    Thanks again,

  4. beautiful pictures! and great info about types of fragrant flowers!