This spring, make the most of moonlight by filling your garden with fragrant blooms and pale plants that (almost) glow in the dark. Hannah Smith, a Horticulture Extension Agent in
This spring, make the most of moonlight by filling your garden with fragrant blooms and pale plants that (almost) glow in the dark. Hannah Smith, a Horticulture Extension Agent in Pitt County, has some handy tips for making your garden shine at night.
1. Pick the perfect plants.
When it’s dark out, pale plants and flowers reflect light best, so consider incorporating silver and white into your garden. For example, the white blooms of verbenas, tuberoses, and Madonna lilies reflect the moonlight and add interesting shapes and textures to a garden. You can also pick night-blooming plants, like the moonflower vine, or night phlox — also known as “midnight candy.”
2. Appeal to scent.
Since you can’t see as well at night, a moon garden is meant to engage your other senses. Smith suggests incorporating fragrant flowers like gardenia, lavender, and honeysuckle into your moon garden. “You sit, close your eyes, take a deep breath, and desire a relaxing smell,” Smith says. “They not only add an extra sensory engagement at night but also look beautiful during the day.”
3. Choose the right space.
Moon gardens can be created anywhere, even in an existing garden, but Smith advises planting in an enclosed space to contain the fragrance. “When you’re choosing fragrances, any heavy wind is going to blow that away, so you won’t get the full impact of the fragrance.” If you don’t have a small backyard, plant larger trees and shrubs around the edges of your garden to create a windbreak.
4. Plant for pollinators and wildlife.
When designing a moon garden, “you’re creating your own little ecosystem,” Smith says. “Owls, possums, and even bats benefit from a well-planted moon garden, which attracts insects.” These insects help rid your garden of harmful pests and defend against pollination deficits, so take advantage of all they have to offer.
5. Set up a moth trap.
When the sun sets, moths emerge. And while moths are important nighttime pollinators as adults, they can be problematic for plants in their larval stage. To encourage moths to keep out of your garden, consider a DIY trap. “There are different types of traps that you can create that aren’t harmful,” Smith says. One easy way to do this is hanging up a white sheet nearby and shining a light to attract them away from your plants.
6. Sit back and relax.
After a long day, kicking back in your garden is rejuvenating. Smith suggests creating a space that is comfy — complete with glowing lanterns and a cozy spot to sit — so that you can relax, unwind, and make the most of twilight’s beauty.
Have more questions? Contact the NC Cooperative Extension of Pitt County: (252) 902-1700 or pitt.ces.ncsu.edu.