Ah, did you feel that cool breeze? What a wonderful breath of fresh air. Folks in my neighborhood were up early and out late chatting, walking the dog, and visiting. The kids are ready with costumes for a night stroll in search of candy and hijinks. It is great to be outside, midnight the garden can be a place of wonder and delight well into the night with just a little thought and planning.
The garden can be a part of Halloween and a place of nightly refuge. Let’s look at the plants that make a show at night in this season of bats, spooks, and ghosts. Some of my leafy favorites shine at night and can be used to create a bewitching space to howl at the moon.
A whole new place after dark, the garden or landscape becomes filled with mysterious sounds, fragrances, and luminous colors. We live in paradise, and the lovely weather entices gardeners and visitors to linger in the garden well into the evening. This nighttime perspective broadens the senses as they take in softer textures and the perfume of night-blooming plants.
There are no actual rules for creating a night or moon garden. The secret to a successful midnight garden space has just three key elements. One, use white or pale flowers that catch and reflect ambient light. Mass plantings are beneficial as the multitude of flowers concentrates the light. Two, silvery or light-reflecting foliage plants add texture and nicely complement the white flowers. Finally, include flowers or foliage that are evening-fragrant; they add dimension and engage other senses.
A few design considerations for midnight-friendly gardens include the following:
- Plan the view. Will the garden or landscape be viewed on an evening stroll or from a window or porch?
- Include solid elements such as art, containers, or gazing balls. Glass is marvelous as a reflective surface.
- Add pathways that are subtly lit or reflective for safety. Consider the use of artificial light sources such as solar lights, lanterns, or seasonally-themed lamps, whether you have the light of the moon or not.
Here are a few plants that are excellent choices for moon gardens.
- Night-blooming jasmine is a shrub that, during the day, is unassuming with plain, green leaves, but at night the pale green flowers blossom with a haunting fragrance.
- White flowering annuals or perennials are easy to plant in mass; I like pentas, alyssum, and begonias for the fall and winter.
- Silver foliage bromeliads add texture and interest. Try Alcantarea odorata, Aechmea fasciata, or Dyckia ‘Nickel Silver.’ Plant a grouping for impact.
Why not add a few plants, containers, and beds to your space and join the mystery and fun of a tryst at midnight in the garden, a place of wonder?
This article first appeared in the Treasure Coast Newspapers.