After dark, fragrant moon gardens come alive

Here's how to create your own moon garden. 

First, choose flower colors in snow- or creamy-white, light pastels or leaves in silver, white margins or variegation. These shades will absolutely shimmer in the moonlight. With a little planning, you can create a peaceful atmosphere in which to enjoy your evening garden. Even on a moonless night, there will be enough ambient light from streetlights to make the white ‘Casa Blanca’ lily and softly-silver, Lamb’s Ear stand out. Imagine what a full moon will offer!

To insure a variety of white-flowering plants that will bloom from spring through fall, you can use the plant palette below as a guide. Unwind in your garden—after hours—in the warm, night air… with the delicate sound of ice cubes against a glass and the intoxicating fragrance of jasmine. We waited a long time for summer, so make the most of the day and the evening!

White-flowering plants
Orchid (Phalaenopsis): Easy-to-grow orchids such as moth orchids will add a tropical and elegant sparkle to the evening patio table. Place orchids in a container with ferns in a bright, spot but not in direct sun.
Daisy: Snow-white daisy perennials will bloom from mid-summer through fall in full or part sun.
Dahlias (Dahlia): Large, lavender-tipped, white flowers will bloom from July to October. 
Petunias: Trumpeted annuals will keep your containers in full flower throughout the summer.

Night-blooming plants:
Moonflowers (Ipomoea alba): Four- to-six-inch, white, trumpet flowers open on twining vines after sundown give off a lemony scent. Pair with the heavenly blue, Morning Glory vine that blooms in the daylight.
Angels’ Trumpet (Brugmansia): Huge, pendent, trumpet-like flowers open at night and add a tropical atmosphere to any garden. It is best not to plant this one if you have children nearby, as all parts of this annual are poisonous. Attracts the large, hummingbird or sphinx moth.
Four-o’clocks (Mirabilis jalapa): Choose the white blooming annuals from a rainbow of colors. The flowers open up in late afternoon and close by morning.
Night-blooming Jasmine (Cestrum nocturnum): This tropical from the West Indies is an upright, vining, plant that thrives in a container in full sun. Its greenish-white, star-shaped flowers emit an exotic fragrance at night.

White or silver foliage
Lamb’s Ear (Stachys byzantina): This ground-covering, perennial herb is treasured for its soft, silvery foliage. It prefers partial shade to full sun conditions.
Silver Thyme (Thymus argenteus): A fragrant, culinary herb with white-edged leaves and pink flowers. Grow as a low-growing, groundcover or use in cooking.
Hostas: Hostas offer a wide variety of white & green leaf patterning. In addition, the fragrant Plantain Lily (Hosta plantaginea grandiflora) boasts fragrant, white flowers in late summer. Hosta ‘Love Pat’ has blue-green leaves and scented, white flowers.
Siberian bugloss (Brunnera macrophylla ‘Jack Frost’): Perennial offers silvery, patterned leaves with green veining. Blue, ‘forget-me-not’-like flowers bloom in April to May. Thrives in a partial-shade garden. Rabbit resistant.

Fragrant flowers
Flowering Tobacco (Nicotiana alata): This classic-white, flowering tobacco plant will fill the night air with its heavy, sweet scent.
Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea ‘Fragrant Angel’): Large, bright-white flowers with cheerful, golden centers bloom from June through August in full sun or part shade. Use as fragrant, cut flowers, too. Deer resistant.
Oriental Lily (Lilium ‘Casa Blanca’): Huge, snow-white flowers gleam in the moonlight. They will add an exotic intrigue to your garden as they attract nocturnal pollinators such as the hummingbird or sphinx moth, too. The fragrant blooms last from June to July in full sun or part shade.

White-flowering shrubs
1. Summersweet (Clethra alnifolia): Spiky, fragrant flowers cover this North American, native shrub in late spring. It attracts, butterflies and hummingbirds.
2. Flower Carpet White Groundcover Rose (Rosa x ‘Noaschnee’): Sparkling, white, small, semi-double flowers bloom continuously throughout the summer. This easy-care, low and spreading plant is perfect for borders, pots or hanging baskets in full sun.
3. Hydrangea arborescens ‘Incrediball’): The large, white, ‘snowball’ blooms compliment crisp, green leaves during daylight and glow like orbs at night. This hardy shrub matures to 8- to 10-feet and blooms in June through September. Flower colors progress from lime green to white and back to green. The ‘Incrediball’ variety is interesting with its thicker, sturdier stems supporting larger flowers than the classic Hydrangea arborescens.