By Landscape Designer, Brad Priest
The great solar eclipse of 2017 is causing quite a stir around St. Louis. No doubt it will be a sight to remember, not only for those of us that managed to grab a pair of eclipse glasses in time, but also for those poor souls who did not and for whom the spectacle will be forever burned into their retinas.
With all the recent talk surrounding the eclipse, this seems to be an opportune time for us at DG2 to capitalize on the public interest by talking a little bit about moon gardens. After all, what if the sun never comes back out?
What is a moon garden? Picture yourself relaxing in the garden underneath the stars on a cool summer evening. A gentle breeze blows through and a soft glow is cast on the landscape. The garden around you rustles as distinct shapes of light and dark, coming into focus, become your quiet companions. Brought to life by the moonlight, the flowers sparkle like diamonds while interesting forms and branches stand in blackness against the night sky. A feeling of serenity washes over you and suddenly the day seems long forgotten. This, in so many words, is the essence of a moon garden.
Though it may be easy to wax poetic about the moon in the still of the night, planning and designing a moon garden can be a bit more challenging. Plant selection is key, as most greenery fades to black at night and affects the garden experience differently than during the day. Here are a few key aspects of design that can help ensure your moon garden will shine:
- Choose plants with light colored flowers (i.e. whites or yellows) that are also in flower during the times of year you would most like to sit outside at night.
- Choose plants with variegated or silvery foliage, but don’t overdo it!
- Choose plants with interesting form or branching that will provide interest when backlit by the moon.
- Choose plants with light or wispy foliage that will rustle in the breeze.
- Think carefully about the ideal spot(s) for seating so that as much of the garden can be enjoyed as possible while seated.
- Consider potential sources of nearby light pollution and avoid or mitigate as much as possible.
- When designing a moon garden to be viewed from inside the house, focus on contrast, scale and texture in the plantings as much as possible – it’s harder to appreciate the details from indoors.
So while you stare at the darkened sky in awe on Monday afternoon, contemplating the meaning of life, think about DG2 and all that we can do for you!