Garden at Night, Plant a Moon Garden

Moon vine, Moon flower plants for a moon garden.png
Recently, on Facebook I mentioned that I don’t really get any work done until the evening and late at night is when I feel my most creative. A friend suggested that I plant a moon garden to combine my nocturnal and gardening activities.  

What is a Moon Garden? 

A moon garden is a series of plantings whose, color, texture, sound, and scent can be appreciated starting in the evening and into the night. While a moon garden would work best in areas with less light pollution than Chicago, there’s no reason why you can’t plant one here. 
Plants and Flowers for a Moon Garden
The flowers that work best in a moon garden are white or light-colored. White flowers pick up the light and shimmer at night. In dark garden nooks they seem to hover amidst the dark backgrounds. Moonflower (pictured above) is the most popular of blooms you can add to your moon garden. The vine is a member of the morning glory family and can be easily grown from seeds you can find at garden centers in Chicago. The flowers, the size of dinner plates, open in the evening and are show-stoppers. Other plants that are white and easy to start from seed are white cosmos, nicotiana (scented blooms), zinnias, four O’ clocks (scented blooms), petunias and marigolds. Plants that don’t produce white blooms but have variegated or silver foliage, lamb’s ear plant for instance, work well. You can find light-colored nasturtiums, but if those are usually sold in a mix, try nasturtium “Alaska” for the variegated foliage. Don’t overlook herbs whose scented foliage can be brushed against or touched to enjoy. Bulbs like white blooming liatris and lilies shouldn’t be overlooked. The Oriental lilies in my garden release the most amazing aroma on humid evenings that every year I wish I had planted more of them. 
Who is a Moon Garden For?
Office workers with long commutes, container gardeners, gardeners with small spaces like patios and decks and of course, vampires. A moon garden is the perfect type of garden for people who have busy work and social schedules and want a place to unwind after a long day. Plant your moon garden where you will enjoy it. That may be a window, deck or balcony you have meals on in the summer or even a window box. 
Hint: The majority the plants I listed are inexpensive annuals that can be easily.  Right now a few of the big box stores have seeds for sale 40% off. You could start a moon garden for less than $5.00.


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  • I usually sow moon flowers (and had them in the Cobblestone Farm garden) but didn't this year. Aside from their nocturnalness, I love their weird scent and really cool seed pods. Another evening bloomer I like is night phlox, Zaluzianskya capensis. Hmmm, maybe you'll be able to see the

  • In reply to gardenfaerie:

    Phlox, really? That's one plant I've never been tempted to grow because...well, I don't know why but it just seems like it would end up everywhere in the garden. My tomato seedling are looking like a dud. Also, I didn't sow any moonflower vines this year because I couldn't find my seeds and I refused to buy any more.

  • In reply to MrBrownThumb:

    Night phlox isn't real Phlox (tm). Much shorter, cuter, and annual. I adore the way it looks so different closed (purple) and open (white). Wish I'd collected the seeds in fall now!! I'll def bring you some tomatoes (whites and fuzzy ones); mine seem to be doing OK.

  • In reply to gardenfaerie:

    Wow, that bloom is spectacular! You don't have to bring me any tomatoes if it will be a problem carrying them. I was pretty rough with mine and set them out when they only had their cotyledons and they've been out in the cold and wet. Maybe with some warmth they'll perk up and do some growing.

  • In reply to gardenfaerie:

    We have a lot of white (or nearly white, like very pale pink,) blooms here, and they really do glow at night, especially when there's a full moon. If I can someday appropriate more lawn here, I'd love to do an all-white (ala Sissinghurst) garden.

    That night phlox is adorable Monica! I've never seen them before. MBT, phlox was one of the first perennials I grew way back when, and I've always had them in my garden. I do deadhead them pretty regularly since it encourages rebloom, and they've never taken over - don't even self-seed all that much. David's white is perfect for a moon garden, and is a pretty, mildew-resistant variety. One little trick I haven't had to practice here yet since they grow more slowly in so little sun, is to cut down all but about 8-10 stems early in the season - keeps them smaller in a small garden, and also improves air circulation to help keep powdery mildew at bay. Also pinching them in May or so keeps them shorter. Or you can pinch about 1/2 the stems to prolong the bloom season. The un-pinched stems will bloom earlier, and the pinched ones will bloom a little later. (Can you tell I love phlox?)

  • In reply to ssgardengirl:


    Since you and Monica are recommended it, I may give phlox a try. You all make it sound like a very agreeable plant. Thanks for the cultivation tips.

  • In reply to ssgardengirl:

    Hi Brooklyn,

    Maybe it is stressed? It could be possibly be that it is too windy for the plant, but it could also be suffering from transplant shock.

  • In reply to gardenfaerie:

    I bought an amazing moon vine at the farmer's market here in Brooklyn for less than $10. I'm really excited to try a moon garden. After being up there a week, it isn't looking so hot. It seems to me like it can't take the wind?

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