I’m paging through a seed catalog while admiring the blanket of snow outside my bay window. We crave this quiet during our daily hustle and bustle. Today’s snowfall reminds me that the color white creates solitude.
To establish such a sanctuary in the spring, I’m planning a Moon Garden. It will feature white flowers that glimmer in moonlight with a supporting cast of soft silvers, purples, and blues. My friend Michael lent me the book The Twilight Garden: Creating a Garden that Entrances by Day and Comes Alive at Night, by Lia Leendertz. As she writes, a garden is “a place of refuge.” Frantically planting vegetable seedlings and perennials last year, I rarely sat back to enjoy my creation. Michael encourages me to set up seating areas. Mine is tucked away in the shade. So the plants in my moon garden need to tolerate (or love) shade. Two white hydrangea bushes already set the scene. Last year, a friend was eager to get rid of the “invasive” ground-cover Lamium, which I planted among young hostas and ferns.
Humidity enhances scents dangling in the summer breeze. Jasmine will climb the fence behind the bench where my husband and I unwind after work. Cloaked by a hedge of lavender, we’ll enjoy privacy outdoors and host small parties.
Here’s what else is on my list:
- Moonflower (Ipomoea alba) is an annual that opens at night.
- Queen of the Night (Epiphyllum spp.) is a perennial that flowers nocturnally. Each flower lasts for one night only!
- 4’o clocks (Mirabilis jalapa) open between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.
- Siberian Bugloss (Brunnera) is a shade-lover that could fill out the hostas, standing out with their frosty leaves and false forget-me-not flowers.
- Silver ferns (Cyathea dealbata) are other shade-lovers that I’ll plant between the existing green ferns.
- False Spirea (Astilbe chinensis) looks like a good leafy filler.
- Columbine (Aquilegia ‘Blue Jay’ or a solid white) might be too bold for my taste. I prefer delicate flowers.
- Lamb’s Ears, Candytuft, Forget-Me-Not, and White Dianthus with silver foliage are other options for groundcover.
Fellow gardeners: Have you planted any of these? Which shade-tolerant white and silver plants would you recommend? What advice do you have about moon gardening?